Five Ways to Support Self-Care During Menopause
By: Bonny Osterhage
It wasn’t that long ago that menopause was considered to be a taboo topic. If a woman in her 40s or 50s was a bit more on-edge than usual or sweating profusely, it was whispered that she must be going through “the change,” almost as though it was something to be ashamed of rather than being a part of the natural aging process.
Menopause is nothing to be embarrassed about, but it can raise some mixed feelings in women. Having a strong support system of family and friends is important during this time, but what’s even more important is not losing sight of self-care. Below are five ways to you can improve your self-care routine to help better manage both the physical and emotional aspects of menopause.
Whether it’s sweating it out in your favorite cycling class, going with the flow in yoga, or taking a long walk outside, moving your body has a number of benefits. First, it can help you combat any weight gain that occasionally accompanies menopause. Second, the release of “happy hormones,” otherwise known as endorphins, can help you deal with those menopausal mood swings. Finally, daily exercise keeps you flexible and strong, which can leave you feeling pretty sexy. And speaking of sexy…
Back to the bedroom.
We know that menopause can put a major damper on your sex life both from a physical and mental standpoint. The changes your body is going through can decrease your libido, make sex uncomfortable, or make you feel less desirable. Be sure to keep an open dialogue with your doctor about any symptoms you’re experiencing and discuss your options. You can explore over the counter solutions for addressing the physical symptoms of decreased sexual satisfaction or vaginal dryness with hormone-free products such as Ristela® and Revaree®, or you can consider prescription treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy, which can also help address these physical symptoms. Also, don’t be shy to speak openly with your partner about your needs and what your body is going through so that you can work together to incorporate intimacy on a new level.
To a new outfit, a spa day, or a long, relaxing bubble bath. Anything that makes you feel good, relaxed or rejuvenated—just do it! You deserve a little extra TLC right now, so take the time to take care of yourself.
Sleep on it.
Poor sleep quality is one of the ugly truths of menopause for many women. The irony is that lack of sleep can exacerbate other symptoms like moodiness and low energy. What can you do? Creating a bedtime ritual can help. Turn off your devices at least one hour prior to bedtime. Make your bedroom dark and cool. Listen to a calming meditation app. Set the stage for sleep and if all else fails, ask your doctor about supplements or sleep aids that can help you get the rest you need.
Going through menopause can feel scary and isolating. There are so many feelings associated with it including depression and anxiety. If you feel like your feelings have become unmanageable, it’s important to seek help in the form of a trusted friend or a therapist. Talking through your feelings and realizing that you are not alone can make all the difference in the way you view this next stage of life.
Remember, don’t think of menopause as the end of a chapter, think of it as the beginning of a new one. Find the positives, including things like no more birth control or periods. Talk to your doctor about managing the symptoms, and never be afraid to ask for what you need in terms of support. Remember when it comes to taking care of yourself, you are your best advocate.