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In this article get tips on how to combat mild anxiety and depression over 50. Learn easy hacks to reduce anxiety immediately and how to identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety in older adults.
We all have those days when you wake up and you feel off, you can’t quite put your finger on it but you know that you’re not feeling great. You feel mildly anxious. Call it what you want. The Doldrums. A funk. Down in the dumps. Flat.
Life is pretty good. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for feeling down.
Many women going through perimenopause and menopause can, without warning, find themselves suffering anxiety symptoms. This could be something completely foreign or if you’ve suffered from anxiety and/or depression before this could be a reoccurrence and could possibly be exacerbated by menopause.
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Some of the feelings you may have noticed:
- sudden mood swings
- anxiety about many things
- feeling overwhelmed with everyday things
- worrying about your health
- not wanting to mix with other people
- feeling panicked and maybe experiencing full-blow panic attacks
- moments of confusion
- being unable to do something that was once so easy
- waking up feeling low
Adapting to menopause and life after menopause can be difficult on your mental health as well as you physical health as hormones adjust themselves and your body learns a new normal.
If you have been feeling down consistently for more than a couple of weeks or these feelings are interfering with your normal activities, I urge you to get help from a professional.
Why Do You Suddenly Have Anxiety?
In perimenopause and on into menopause estrogen and progesterone become unbalanced. This imbalance is the reason for the menopause symptoms that women at this time of their life may have to face.
Some of the symptoms related to mental wellbeing are anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, foggy brain, and sleep disturbances.
When estrogen declines so does its ability to moderate the “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. Also estrogen exerts influence on the parts of the brain that control mood, behavior, and cognition. So when estrogen declines so does its regulating abilities.
Women over fifty face many things in their life that can spur these types of negative feelings and mild depression.
Hormone changes. Children leaving home. Teenagers. Maybe your health isn’t what it used to be. Ageing. Diet can even play a huge part in our moods.
Natural ways to combat stress, anxiety and mild depression
I have been having these feelings a bit lately and I know it is because I am pushing myself pretty hard. I eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water and have a little downtime.
When have these feelings I know if I push it to the side keep moving through my normal routine, eventually it will subside? I practice thinking about what I am grateful for which works wonders and a good session of weights will generally get me into a good mood for the rest of the day.
Exercise at the very least 4 times a week for 30 minutes but try for 6 days and push it out to 40 minutes a couple of times.
Yoga is known for its stress-relieving capabilities but any movement is better than none.
Low impact activities are probably a safe bet if your knees are anything like mine. Walk around the block. Lift some weights, start small and build up to heavier ones, there is a great selection of guided videos to choose from on Google. The endorphins and energy you get from exercise do wonders for your mood and the possible weight loss is a bonus.
Tip: Building muscle with weights will elevate fat loss. Now surely that will lift your mood!
Spend Time With Girlfriends
Sometimes the best medicine is a good laugh with friends. Your girlfriends are your tribe. They are likely going through similar issues as you and share in your struggles. Lean on them. Let them lean on you. Share. Cry. Laugh. Listen.
I am always completely amazed that they are in exactly the same boat as me and sharing the same, sometimes-difficult ride.
There is something very therapeutic about getting your hands in the dirt and getting things to grow. Why not buy some pots and grow edible plants.
Put a few plants around the house, they do great things for the health of the environment and you.
Tip: Zucchini, cucumber, tomato, eggplant and herbs grow well in pots.
Do Something Nice For Someone Else
Random acts of kindness help us feel better too. Shift your focus from your worries to someone else. Even just focusing on caring for my daughters takes the focus off myself.
Read A Book
Taking a journey through a work of fiction is a great way to get outside of ourselves. It is a known method for reducing stress. I love to read novels that are bordering on trashy but are addictive page-turners.
Sometimes when you feel the universe is against you this can be difficult. Stop focusing on what’s wrong and start focusing on what’s right. Journal them. You will be surprised at how good this can make you feel.
Check Your Diet
A well-balanced diet has been shown to have a positive effect on your mood.
Foods that contain soluble fibre can slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and increase serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical are beneficial. Think broccoli, peas, nuts and seeds.
Sugar is a mood buster. Try to cut back as much as possible or even cut it out altogether. Go with stevia, erythritol or rice malt syrup instead.
Hydrogenated oils, caffeine, alcohol can also contribute to mood swings. There are a few in that list that I have no intentions of cutting out but I moderate how much I have which is a nice balance.
Fresh air and sunshine are great mood lifters. Getting a little sunshine onto your skin is also a good way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, the mood-boosting vitamin. We are all so sun smart we forget that a little sunlight can be a good thing. Stick to no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
Get a pedicure. Or a massage. Have a coffee out with a piece of raw cake. Whatever seems like a treat to you. Make a date with yourself once a week so you have something to look forward to.
Get Enough Sleep
Nothing looks good on not enough sleep. If I’m having trouble sleeping well, I make sure my diet, exercise and mindfulness is good which helps me to cope. Read before bed. I only have to open a book and my eyes start drooping.
Turn off screens
If you feel the need to check social media every 5 minutes. STOP IT! It is really unnecessary to watch yet another cat video.
You also don’t need to binge watch 5 seasons of some inane show on Netflix. There are better things to do with your time. Unless the new season of The Highlander comes out, and then, by all means, hunker down and watch it from start to finish. I will be. I think that comes under treating myself…
What do you do to ward off negative thoughts and feeling down?
For more on depression in women this article may be helpful: