Can Menopause Affect Your Mental Health? Yes – But There’s Hope!
Some women experience moodiness, anxiety, and depression with the onset and different stages of menopause. This emotional upheaval can cause frustration and stress and can last for up to five years post-menopause.
There are valid reasons for these emotional issues, and, thankfully, there are self-care strategies to help you through them.
Why Do I Experience Anxiety, Depression, or Moodiness at Menopause?
Hormonal changes are one part of the picture when it comes to menopause side effects. Spikes and troughs in specific hormones seem like an emotional rollercoaster ride. Physical changes and fluctuating weight are also part of menopause.
Other factors that influence mood at this transitional time of life include:
- Medical health.
- A lack of knowledge about a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and self-care.
- The type of menopause you’re experiencing: early, late or surgically induced.
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drugs.
- How you view your body and the changes happening to you.
- The stage of life you are in, age of children and state your career.
- What you perceive as achievements or lack of achievements in your life.
- Past trauma, including childhood.
- Poverty, lack of social support, and low self-esteem.
Many women believe menopause is a personal issue and suffer through it alone. Research suggests women with negative views of menopause may experience more severe symptoms.
How Can You Best Support Yourself Through This Time of Life?
It’s true that menopause affects women differently, but there are some practices you can follow to get through this stage of life and feel better about yourself.
A full medical examination and guidance from your doctor is a good start.
A healthy diet can help with menopause symptoms like fatigue and moodiness. Choose a wide variety of different foods, including colorful fruits and vegetables.
Foods high in phytoestrogens may reduce the severity of hot flushes and night sweats. They act as a form of oestrogen, slowing oestrogen decline. Phytoestrogens are found in some cereals, herbs, vegetables, and legumes.
The benefits of exercise are well documented for physical, and more recently, mental health. A daily walk can lower feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. This is due to the release of feel-good hormones. Exercise helps balance hormonal fluctuations such as those experienced at menopausal transition.
Social Network and Family
Confiding in close friends about your menopause experience can lessen your anxiety and stress. Females in your age group may also be going through menopause and want to share their concerns and issues.
Discuss your situation with a supportive life-partner. This provides greater understanding of why you feel the way you do.
Taking Time Out
Taking a break from responsibilities creates space for personal relaxation and inner reflection.
Write about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Many women find journaling clears mind clutter and adds fresh insight. Gratitude journals are also valuable.
Download Rachelle’s free guide to journaling to get started.
“The simplest things in life bring so much pleasure.” What are some of the things in life that bring you the most joy? Is it your pet’s little quirks, your grandchildren laughing, a walk in the park or a family get-together? These moments of pleasure enhance feelings of wellbeing.
There is much still unknown about the symptoms of menopause. There are also varying factors, as we are all unique individuals. Science is starting to make promising inroads in the area of women’s health, to the benefit of everyone.
Looking after your own health first is not something that comes easy to women. Some find it difficult to talk about their issues. The more we discuss and shed light on these very important topics, the more we can learn and support each other.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.
What menopause and post-menopause symptoms are you experiencing? Do you know how to handle menopause influenced depression and anxiety? Do you have a supportive group of people to encourage you during this time in your life? Please share your thoughts and concerns with our community!