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Tips to Manage Mental Well-Being during Menopause

Updated: May 4, 2023

Reviewed by Lilian Ong - Director of Wellness Journey and Registered Counsellor, Singapore.


Claire has just celebrated her 50th birthday, surrounded by friends and family who threw her a big party. With everything in her life in order, and in the pink of health, she should have no problems to speak of. Yet, she has recently been suffering from hot flashes, weight gain and headaches, which have caused frequent insomnia. She complains to her friends, and them being younger have no idea what is causing it and have advised her to see a doctor as soon as possible. Accompanied by her irregular period cycles, she is getting increasingly worried…


Yet, all of these worries are unfounded, as Claire is going through a natural cycle of ageing known as perimenopause, which is a time when your hormones are changing in preparation for menopause. During this period, your periods may become irregular, either coming late, or you may even completely skip one or more of them. Menstrual flow may also become heavier or lighter. This is a signal to you from your body that menopause is near, marking the end of a woman’s period of fertility. Medically, it is defined as the lack of menstruation for 12 consecutive months. It usually begins between the ages of 45 to 55, but may begin earlier or later depending on the person too, as it varies between individuals of different ages.


Symptoms of Menopause


The physical symptoms of menopause are easy to spot. The most obvious one would be marked by a series of irregular periods that come and go. Skipping a month or two is not surprising. Additionally, you may find yourself experiencing one or more of the following discomforts:

  1. Vaginal dryness

  2. Hot flashes

  3. Chills and/or night sweats

  4. Loss of sleep/Discomfort sleeping

  5. Mood swings

  6. Slower metabolism, leading to weight gain

  7. Thinning hair

  8. Dry skin

  9. Loss of breast fullness

 

Menopause and Mental Health


Taken from LINK


Menopause’s physical symptoms are definitely harsh on the body. Additionally, as it also causes hormonal changes within you, it inevitably affects your mental well-being too. Feelings of stress, anxiety and depression are more likely to appear, as well as added anxiety and emotional responses towards the discomforts that come with menopausal symptoms. In this case, Claire found herself more prone to anger and irritability, with her getting angry at her family for trivial stuff around the house. She also found herself misplacing common items and forgetting to turn off the lights after leaving the room. Worst of all, she isn’t her usual confident self anymore, instead finding herself plagued by self-doubt and low moods of sadness and depression. All of these are worsened by the physical discomforts she experiences on a daily basis.

 

Managing mental symptoms of menopause


Addressing physical symptoms of menopause can be greatly effective at reducing the mental toll it exacts on your body, making it a good two-pronged approach in combating its negative physical and mental manifestations of discomfort.


However, these mental symptoms may get in the way of everyday living, especially if you are a working professional. Claire found her irritable and forgetful nature to be getting in the way of her work, where she snapped at colleagues and forgot certain important deadlines. While the best case is to look for a medical professional to diagnose and prescribe medications to alleviate such symptoms of menopause, there are also other steps one can personally undertake to counteract its deleterious effects.


  • Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is a psychological approach that promotes present-moment awareness and acceptance of what we cannot change - very useful for coping with situations like menopause, which we do not have full control over. Although the skill of mindfulness can be deepened through meditation, there are many other simple ways you can practise being mindful in your everyday life. For example, remind yourself to focus your attention on one thing at a time, the current activity you are doing. This helps you remember things better and relieves your mind of the stress of multitasking. Instead of getting frustrated with all the changes and resisting them, (which just increases your feelings of stress, depression and anxiety), learn to accept these changes as part of your life journey, and focus your efforts on what you can do to take better care of yourself during this time of your life.


  • Making a to-do list

Using post-it notes around one’s workspace is great if you find yourself becoming more forgetful within the office. Alternatively, one can use apps on the computer and smartphones to remind you of important dates and events.


  • Frequent exercise

Yoga and light exercise is a great way to improve one’s mood. It keeps your mind and body active, helps you maintain a healthy weight, all the while protecting you from other effects of ageing as well. Yoga is a great relaxation technique that helps strengthen the body at the same time. With these, a better night’s sleep is assured, which will lead to greater satisfaction overall.


  • Practise emotional openness/vulnerability

Especially between close friends and family, such emotional openness will stave off negative thoughts while fostering better relationships between your loved ones. This ensures that you have an emotional safety net of people who will be there to listen to your problems and offer you emotional support when you need it. Mental well-being is important in such a volatile state of your life, and having such a support network is crucial in allowing you to get through it.


  • Enjoying hobbies/recreational activities

Hobbies are a great way to wind down after a tough day of work. The importance of play should not be overlooked as it can be both stress-relieving and mood-improving, thus effectively alleviating negative moods that may be caused by symptoms of menopause.


Menopause can cause much stress in you due to the many hormonal changes and the accompanying discomforts that come with it. However, with careful planning and a more meticulous adjustment to it, such symptoms will merely be a small annoyance to you and your lifestyle!


In conclusion, menopause can be a challenging time for women, as it brings about both physical and mental symptoms that can disrupt daily life. Claire's experience with menopause highlights the importance of addressing these symptoms through a combination of medical intervention and personal strategies.


To manage the mental symptoms of menopause, it is crucial to address both the physical symptoms and implement practical solutions in everyday life. Strategies such as creating to-do lists, engaging in regular exercise, fostering emotional openness, and enjoying hobbies can all help alleviate the mental impact of menopause.


By taking a proactive approach to managing menopause symptoms, women can minimize the disruption it causes in their lives, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and continue to thrive personally and professionally. It is essential to recognize the need for support and understanding from loved ones, colleagues, and healthcare professionals to help navigate this natural phase of life with confidence and resilience.

 

Important Notes:

This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health.

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