Coping With Menopause

May 23, 2010

Some women find their menopause years really, really difficult, whereas others don't feel much of an impact from this "change of life." Most women, however, will experience some type of menopause symptoms as they enter this new phase. When symptoms begin to diminish, your life can look like a very different, even unknown place, in comparison to what it was before. Wherever you are on this spectrum of response to menopause - whether you're feeling liberated from the worry of pregnancy and periods, or you're still mourning the loss of your fertility, you can benefit from the coping mechanisms described below.

Cut Out The Stress!

Stress is no good for anyone at any time, but during the hormonally-sensitive menopause stage, it can be a disaster. Your body may be experiencing a revolution, but that doesn't mean that the requirements of your job or household responsibilities will necessarily mold themselves around your hot flashes, short temper or lack of sleep. While you are perfectly entitled to try and find a compromise with your boss or family that caters to your needs, there are also some stress-busting measures that you can independently introduce into your routine.

Meditation

10 to 20 minutes a day of meditation or relaxation exercises such as yoga can make all the difference to your response to stressful situations at work or at home. The "Relaxation Response" is a well-known form of meditation made famous by Dr. Hebert Benson, in his book "The Relaxation Response," first published in 1971. It goes something like this:

Find a quiet place to sit and get into a comfortable position - close your eyes.

Starting with the muscles in your feet and continuing up your body to your face, tighten and then completely relax all your muscles.

Breathe through your nose and, as you do so, repeat a word silently to yourself - the word "one" is an appropriate word to start with.

Stay like this for 10 to 20 minutes. Don't get "stressed" if you don't feel yourself relaxing. Trying to relax but worrying about not doing it will not help. Instead focus on the repetition of the word "one," use this repetition to push out any distracting thoughts or images that come into your mind.

If you want to open your eyes every now and then to see the time, that's fine - but don't rely on an alarm clock. Waiting for it to go off will stop you relaxing.

Stay sitting like this for a few minutes after your time is up, keep your eyes closed at first and then open them.

Now you can go back to whatever you were doing before, or move on to a new task with a more relaxed mind.

Exercise

For some people, exercise is in itself a form of relaxation that helps to push out worrying or stressful thoughts. It's also needed post menopause to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn improves your body image and self-esteem. Talk to your doctor about an appropriate exercise regime for you, and stick to it as regularly as possible (although exercise in the evening can disrupt sleep - so try to do it earlier in the day).

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