It is important to be able to reduce stress and anxiety in menopause if we want to keep our hormones balanced.
Schedule some relaxation into your day to keep Cortisol at bay!
Stress and Anxiety, those two pinched-nose tarts who roll into your life in a cloud of fumes and burning tyres driving a monster, red armour-plated Hummer with the number plate that says: 2GOOD4U.
Their mission; to knock Calm to the kerb and introduce you to the hormone capable of wreaking havoc in your body, Cortisol.
These are my 5 methods for dealing with those sirens of chaos and mayhem.
There are many different breathing methods that will work. I use two and they both work very well. There is a calm sense of well-being that takes over after doing one of these techniques.
If I am feeling wired or unable to sleep I use:
The 4-7-8 Method
This is simply breathing in for the count of four, holding for the count of seven and out for the count of eight and repeating this four times. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Your tongue should be relaxed behind your teeth. Repeat this regularly throughout the day and relaxation will become much easier for you.
To give me more energy I use:
The three-part yoga breath
I have just started using this technique and I find it is great for energising you when you need a pick-me-up. Breathe slowly into your belly and lower back, expanding them in four directions, then into your mid-chest and finally fill your upper chest then slowly breathe out completely. Complete this eight or so times and you will feel a beautiful sense of wellbeing and calm.
Do some yoga. If you haven't tried it before find a beginner class online and go to a nice quiet spot where you can stretch and breathe the stress out of you. Afterwards, you will feel all loosey-goosey and able to cope.
See a movie or read.
When our mind is completely focused on something like a movie or book we actually switch off from our bodies. Our body rests and so do parts of our brain. I wouldn’t recommend this as your only form of relaxation or that you watch a screen for long periods but to be able to switch off for an hour or two here and there offers more benefits than not at all.
Meditation can be done just about anywhere. See my post-Meditate Anytime, Anywhere And Start Rebuilding Your Brain Now.
If you can meditate even only for a short time regularly you will start to notice a difference fairly quickly.
I find my fuse has lengthened. I can stay calmer for longer and if I do feel myself getting overwhelmed I am able to catch myself and back it up.
There are so many health benefits of meditation that far outway the slight inconvenience of committing 10 minutes a day to the process. If you decide to give it a go, stick with it for at least 2 weeks to see those benefits before making a decision about quitting.
When we exercise the body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins can reduce the perception of pain and can also give you a sense of wellbeing.
A bit like morphine only you don’t need to hang around on some dodgy street corner waiting for a guy named Ice Man to show up in his black Porshe wearing 20 gold chains around his neck and pants around his knees.
You don't have to do an hour of gut-wrenching sweaty exercise to win. A brisk walk for 20-30 minutes is all it takes and you can do a walking meditation at the same time. Winning!
Get a relaxing massage / pedicure / facial
A relaxing massage, pedicure or facial will do wonders for relaxing you. Pedicures are not particularly expensive. When was last time you just sat for half an hour and let someone pamper you? Did you have any trouble parking your chariot when you arrived?
If it is a pedicure that rocks your socks you can read while it's happening. You'll be so relaxed when you have finished you will have trouble steering that chariot home again.
A good declutter opens up space allowing energy to flow and leaves you with a sense of achievement and perhaps a less cluttered mind as well. It will allow you to feel better about having that relaxation time for yourself.
Disorganisation often leads to feelings of anxiety and loss of control.
Don’t go too big, start with a small space and work your way up if you need to.
You may think I am crazy connecting relaxation with cleaning in any way but I find cleaning is a fantastic way of bringing me back to the present.
If the cleaning is energetic such as polishing tables or the floor or cleaning the windows it serves two purposes.
Get rid of excess energy by taking it out on the floor, windows, or oven and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that will come from having done a job well.
Keeping a gratitude journal can lower stress levels and promote calm.
It helps to banish negative thoughts leaving you better able to see and focus on the positive.
Buy a pretty notebook or use an app like Bliss.
Write down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for each evening. Go for depth not breadth, that is you don't need 20 things you are grateful for.
Make an effort to do this for at least two weeks then reassess how you feel. Are you finding it easier to be more positive about things?
One trick with this is not to let it become a chore. Give yourself permission to miss a day here or there but make an effort to fill out your journal as regularly as possible.
Even just trying a few of these out and incorporating them into your day can help reduce stress and anxiety in menopause for you.
What do you do for relaxation?