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Six Tips to Beat the January Blues from menopause mentor Debs de Vries

Written by Helen Prentice

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Posted on March 11 2019

Debs de Vries
Debs de Vries is a holistic menopause mentor, working with women going through their menopause or preparing for it. They’re often feeling fed up, messy, uncertain and exhausted. They learn to how to get their energy, focus and fun factor back – and figure out how to move forward on their own terms.


Christmas and New Year festivities may feel like a while ago already, but however you spent them one thing is for sure. You probably did things you normally don’t do in your day-to-day life. Maybe you ate a little too much? Nibbled on treats your body has reacted to? Perhaps you took less exercise or drank a little more festive fizz than you intended? Plus, there’s often stress in having a house full (or an empty home). Too much imbalance can impact your wellbeing and, although all of these things are a normal part of the annual celebrations, changes in habit are often disruptive to a sensitive menopausal body.

I’m going to share with you how I recover from the Christmas ups and downs and give you some simple ways to blow those cobwebs away.

My first tip however, is purely emotional. Don’t berate yourself for whatever you did or didn’t do, or how you are feeling now. Joining in with the fun, snacking on treats, lazing around in your pyjamas (or Become undies) is OK. In fact, it’s better than OK – living a life with no contrasts and no fun is not good medicine for the soul! So relax: you’re delightfully human and treated well, your body will respond with positive changes. So make a commitment to rebalance now and you’ll feel the benefits in a week or so.

Beating the January Blues

Shake up that liver!

That’s what my grandma used to say to me and she walked or cycled five miles everyday of her long life. But don’t overthink this, just find 20 minutes, twice a day, to take a brisk walk. I find that by having a goal (for example, walking the dog, or a walk to the newsagent or post box), I’m more motivated. Perhaps you received a fitness tracker in your stocking? That’s great, but don’t aim too high after a period of rest. Start small and feel the buzz from achieving what you set out to do, rather than picking a target (such as 10,000 steps) and failing. Consistency is your best friend!

Extra liver support

Because your liver is the major organ that cleanses and detoxifies, it will benefit from some help now, but I wouldn’t recommend going full on with a detox in menopause unless there is a medical reason to do so. Instead, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Start your day with a glass of warm water and a quarter of a fresh lemon squeezed in. Add grated ginger to stimulate your digestion. I recommend that you avoid heavy, creamy, dairy foods and dense meats for at least two weeks. That includes store-bought baked goods, pies and sausage rolls, cakes and biscuits. And leftover Christmas cake? Freeze it and forget about it until Easter! Choose to make your meals from freshly steamed greens, steamed fish and lean chicken (or turkey, if you can face it). For vegetarian options, eggs and pulses are very versatile. Lentils, chickpeas and beans are a great way to increase fibre, iron and protein. Grains such as quinoa and barley are filling and cleansing.

Try a gut cleanse

Again, simple is best. If you want to have a green smoothie in the morning, then base it more on vegetables than fruit. I include a 2cm piece of fresh ginger in all my green drinks as it stimulates digestion. I use a base of an apple and a kiwi fruit then throw in spinach, lettuce, cucumber, celery – and whatever soft green leaves are in the fridge. Make sure to increase your fibre intake (green vegetables are awesome for that) plus the benefits of cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbages) are well known to alleviate menopausal symptoms by helping to remove excess oestrogen.

Green Smoothie

A dry brushing boost

This has been used for years as a wellbeing practice. It helps stimulate the flow of lymph first thing in the morning and can exfoliate dry skin as a bonus. Lymph is the clear fluid that helps to cleanse the blood and by keeping it flowing strongly, it supports the blood and therefore all the organs of the body.

Dry brushing instructions: Before you shower, strip off completely and stand on an old towel or mat to catch any dry skin. Make sure you’re safe and balanced. Using a long-handled soft-bristle brush, brush from the soles of the feet, up each leg and up to your belly in long sweeping strokes. Brush the front and back of the legs and the buttocks. Raise each arm in turn and brush down from your fingertips to your armpits. Brush gently from the neck down to and around your breasts. The rule is to always brush towards your heart. Once your whole body has been brushed, jump into the shower and wash as normal.

Do not brush on bruised, broken or damaged skin or attempt it if you are prone to bruising or using blood-thinning medications. If dry brushing feels sore, leave that area of skin for a few days.

Facing your finances

Wellbeing in the finance department can also take a sharp knock over Christmas. If money worries are adding to your menopause symptoms, then do make sure to carve out some time to work out your priorities. Look at your outgoings to see where savings can be made. Taking control of your finances or talking to someone else about them can help you feel on top of them and hugely contribute to your wellbeing.

And don’t forget to have fun! 

Find something you want to do that makes you smile and book onto the course. It could be learning to dance (a great weight-bearing exercise and cardio workout) or it could be taking yourself off to the cinema to see a film that makes you laugh. Just one simple ‘date with me’ in your diary can help to make January shorter! Phone up a friend and organise something you’d both like to do. A walk with a cup of tea at the end of it, a trip to the swimming pool, or sharing a home cooked meal together are all simple things that can bring a lot of joy.

Find out more about Debs and how, as a Yoga teacher and wellbeing mentor, she has supported women through the challenges of the menopause at www.debsdevries.com

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