Menopause can bring about some big mood changes, and sometimes you might want to find ways to lift yourself up. Here, The Organic Pharmacy pick out some key things you can do at home to improve your mood.
When you go through menopause, your mood can change rapidly — it’s thought that this is because of the fluctuating hormones women experience throughout this time. These mood changes can disturb your sleep, making it harder to concentrate during the day, and they can also mean that you experience some low points.
If you are experiencing extreme mood swings, you should speak to your doctor. However, there are also lots of things you can do at home to boost your mood too. Below, I’ll take you through five of the best tips.
It’s amazing how much of a difference some physical exercise can make to our wellbeing. A study carried out at Penn State University found that middle-aged women who did 30 minutes of moderate exercise were happier and had better psychological wellbeing than those who didn’t.
There are lots of different ways to exercise — if you love being outside, try hiking, walks in the countryside, or going for a run along a favourite route. If you enjoy gyms, try making your sessions more regular and remaining in a routine of going. Team sports and more social exercises such as football, netball, and horse riding can also be great options. If you need a lighter form of exercise, look up parks and public walkways in your area, and try to leave the house for at least an hour a day.
Eating a healthy diet is not only great for your physical health — it can also keep your mood more level, and make you feel much better mentally. This is because most of the serotonin (a neurotransmitter that influences mood) is made in our gut, meaning the food we eat directly impacts how we feel.
Serotonin production is affected by the levels of ‘good’ bacteria that populates our gut. By eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, we can top up these bacteria and aid serotonin production. Focus on fish, wholegrains, fresh vegetables, and fruit, and see how much of a difference it makes.
You might also find that cooking nutritious, tasty food becomes a mood-lifting hobby in itself. It’s also a great way to involve your family and friends in preparing meals, which can help you feel even better.
Increase your vitamin and mineral intake
We all know that vitamins are crucial for our bodies to stay healthy, but you might not realise which vitamins are important for helping our bodies cope with the changes of menopause.
One of the most important vitamins to be aware of is vitamin B12. As we age, our body loses some of its ability to absorb B12, and therefore our risk of deficiency increases. This can be combatted by eating fortified cereals, sardines, fortified plant milks, and eggs.
Then, increasing your intake of calcium can help keep your bones strong and healthy throughout the menopause. Those who have been through menopause are at more risk of developing problems associated with weak bones, so upping your intake of dairy and leafy green vegetables can help enormously. Supplements can also help you up your intake of particular vitamins.
One of the hallmarks for menopause for many women is sleep deprivation, which can wreak havoc on their mood. A recent study found that 26% of women experienced severe difficulties sleeping that affected daytime functioning, in the lead-up to menopause and beyond.
To aid more peaceful slumber, you could try introducing a sleep hygiene routine, as the Sleep Foundation recommends. This is a practice of constructing an environment and a routine that will help you drift off easier, and reduce the amount of times that you wake up throughout the night.
Start by making your bedroom into your dream relaxing environment, with whatever lighting, fresh flowers, and scents make you feel like you can destress. Then, set a sleep schedule. Keeping a fixed waking time, and a fixed time that you settle down each night, helps regulate your body by forming habits, which this study (PubMed) shows can be beneficial. Avoiding napping during the day can also assist greatly in falling asleep at night, as your body should be tired by the time bedtime rolls around.
The menopause is the most important time to prioritise self-care, so find ways to lift your mood and do things that relax you. What will feel like self-care to you depends on your interests, but things like skincare can often be a way to destress.
Try making a spa night for yourself, with face masks, moisturising lotion, and some of your favourite serums, and pair these with a glass of wine or herbal tea and some music. You might also want to run a relaxing bath with some essential oil added, such as lavender.
Other important aspects of self-care include meditation, yoga, and making time for existing hobbies or beginning new ones. Carving out time in your day to make sure you’re prioritising yourself can go a long way towards improving your mood, and it’s always worth doing.
There is so much information out there about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and how our lifestyle impacts our experience of menopause, that it can sometimes be overwhelming. But, by starting with these five tips, you can improve not only your mood, but your physical health as well.