7 ways to practice self-care during your menopause starting today!
Menopause is a stage in your life where self care can really make a big difference to your symptoms. Prioritising your mental and physical health is an essential part of the journey, whilst your body and your mind adjusts. Many of us are aware we need to take stock and assess the things we are doing which might be impacting our symptoms. However, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way and nothing really changes.
So, we have come up with 7 different ways to help you get back on track and gain control of your overall health and wellbeing during the menopause. Below are small manageable steps to help you regain control of your symptoms and wellbeing!
1. Eat a diet packed full of beneficial nutrients
Eating a varied amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from the foods you eat is always important, and menopause is no exception. However, as we age our stomach acid reduces which means it’s harder for us to absorb all the nutrients we are eating - so increasing those nutrient dense foods is key to successfully beating the potential deficit!
Eat a varied diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and foods containing calcium, vitamin D and essential fats. The Mediterranean diet is a great model to use when thinking about overall balance of nutrients. Avoid processed foods with refined sugar and limit alcohol consumption. For those women who suffer with menopausal weight gain, you may need to consider weight management when making dietary choices. However, calorie counting and ‘quick fix’ diets or low fat foods will not be your friend! Always seek advice from a Health Coach.
2. Rethink your sleep schedule and sleep hygiene
Getting the right amount of sleep is critical in maintaining health and wellness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the majority of adults have 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. However, symptoms like night sweats can make it difficult to sleep during menopause.
Think about sleep hygiene. This simply means clearing out all the things you do before you go to bed which could be impacting your sleep - and adding steps which can contribute to better sleep. Consider some of the steps below;
Stop using electronic devices at least 1 hour before you go to bed (preferably 2).
Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable
Wear cool and breathable sleep clothes
Open a window if you live in a rural area
And/or, invest in a hepa filter to cleanse your environment and reduce any dust or other allergens
Try not to drink at least 2 hours before you go to bed
Have a warm bath with epsom salts, followed by a cold blast shower (if you’re brave enough!).
3. Keep hydrated
Do you drink enough water? Drinking between 2-2.5 litres of water a day should keep you feeling refreshed. Dehydration can lead to headaches, constipation, dry skin, feeling tired, hungry and more! Try drinking a big glass of water or herbal tea next time you feel like a snack and see if it helps to curb your cravings.
Do not be tempted to drink ice cold water if you are having a hot flush, as drinking tepid water is much more helpful because it more effectively helps your body regulate its temperature.
4. Have strategies to keep cool
Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause which interfere with daily life. If you suffer with these, a priority may be to find ways to keep cool. When you are physically uncomfortable, your mental state can suffer too.
Choose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton and dress in light layers so you can adjust when you feel too warm.
Invest in a portable fan to carry around with you for when you are not in control of the room temperature.
Although the evidence is inconclusive, some women practise mind-body therapies, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and stress management techniques. They might also provide other benefits, such as easing sleep disturbances and mental health.
Avoid hot and spicy foods and alcohol which can be a trigger. Learn to recognise your own food and drink triggers.
5. Stay connected
Staying connected to loved ones can feel hard sometimes. Relationships change. Perhaps you have got children who have ‘flown the nest’ and you are feeling disconnected. Or, perhaps you have ageing parents and you are noticing how your roles are starting to reverse.
It can also sometimes feel like an effort to keep up with friends and family. No matter how self assured we are, we all need close human connection as part of a self-care regimen. If you aren’t able to meet with loved ones in person, then arrange a regular phone call or video call. It’s good to talk!
6. Get outside
Getting outside is important for our mental and physical health. Studies suggest spending 30 minutes or so outside benefits people’s overall health. Fresh air can lift your mood, de-stress and help you sleep. You can enjoy the outdoors in many ways, such as formal exercising, or hobbies such as gardening are a great way to get your vitamin D fix! Why not consider an allotment and grow your own veggies too!
7. Keep moving
Being physically active has a long list of benefits which can help you feel your best during your menopause. Find the type of exercise that makes you happy and you look forward to. Perhaps that’s a yoga class, pilates or dance for similar minded people. Exercise helps relieve stress, gives you energy, builds strength, promotes good sleep, and is an important part of weight management.
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