About Menopause- related Anxiety
If like many women you’ve reached your 40s and 50s and are suddenly feeling anxious for seemingly no reason, you’re not alone.
Anxiety is a common symptom of both perimenopause (the transition between having periods and them stopping permanently) and the menopause.
You can start feeling anxious about things that never used to bother you. Things like meeting friends or going to new places or even old, familiar places. Or you might find yourself waking up in the night feeling anxious for no specific reason.
What causes menopause-related anxiety?
Two main things contribute to menopause-related anxiety. The first is the fluctuating hormones surging around your body and the second is lifestyle factors. They can both be interlinked.
The decline in oestrogen and progesterone can make it hard for you to get any quality sleep. Suppose you’re being kept up all night with night sweats, or the need for another midnight wee. In that case, you’re probably exhausted and thus relying more heavily on things like ready meals, snacks on the run, takeaways or attempting to self-medicate with coffee to get you going and alcohol to help you unwind at night. These can all be overstimulating, play havoc with your blood sugar levels, mood and affect your anxiety levels.
Perimenopause and menopause also comes at a time when there is a lot of change happening in your life. You may be at a key point in your career or sending your children off to high school for the first time or feeling like you’ve got an empty nest as teenagers go to university and create a life for themselves.
Elderly parents may need more of your time and attention too. This can keep you awake half the night worrying about them and if they’re going to be ok.
What does menopause-related anxiety feel like?
You may experience a range of symptoms from
- Fast heart rate
- Faster breathing
- Feeling nauseous
- Having pains in your chest
- Dry mouth
- Sweaty palms
- Palpitations – being aware of the beating of your heart
- Panic attacks
Check out full list of anxiety symptoms here
What can you do to stop menopause-related anxiety?
- Cut back on caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
- Have plenty of water to help you stay hydrated
- Eat regular meals based on wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, and protein. Stop eating processed food.
- Manage your workload. Is there something you can cross off your to-do list that you don’t ever need to do? Work out what you need to do today/this week and prioritise that!
- Get plenty of good quality sleep if you can. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning
- Get moving! Exercise if you’re able to do so can give you a big boost, and can help keep you calm at the same time
- Learn how to relax! See related article Relaxation why is it so important?
- Meditate! Learn meditation and mindfulness or have a meditation track to listen to to calm you down.
- Get a relaxation ready-to-roll aromatherapy roll-on
- Avoid things that make you anxious like unnecessary social media activity.
- Put your phone onto do not disturb unless you’re expecting a call or have small children/sick relatives etc
- Take time for yourself every day even if it’s just for 10-15 mins
- Manage Stress levels Have regular reflexology treatments or aromatherapy massages to help keep you calm and balanced.
Speak to your G.P. or a menopause clinic
Your doctor may offer you C.B.T. (cognitive behaviour therapy) or H.R.T. (hormone replacement therapy) or antidepressant medications, some of which are good at reducing symptoms of anxiety.
They may also run blood tests to see if you’re deficient in any vitamins or minerals.
Reach out for support
If you are feeling anxious a lot of the time you may need support from family, friends, colleagues, or your workplace. There is support out there. Often people have no idea what menopause is or how it affects people. If you explain how you’re feeling they may be able to put things in place to help you.
Join my Facebook Menopause Support Group
If you would like support from women who are going through the same kinds of things as you please join our Menopause Support UK Facebook Group
I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!
If you’d like to book a treatment please go to https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book