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  • Writer's pictureMonigho Griffin

How to manage menopause stress

“I wish I am who I was”.


This is a complaint of many who

are going through the menopause transition.


Not only do you have to contend with the 34 physical symptoms of perimenopause i.e.


difficulty sleeping 81%


problems with memory concentrating 75%


Hot flushes /night sweats 73%


(According to Menopause and the Workplace First Report of Session 2022–23 UK government report.


Amongst those are the psychological symptoms that can leave you feeling like 70% of the 2000 respondents in the above report with Increased stress.

So, what is stress?


Why does stress increase in menopause?


How can you manage this stress so you can be yourself again?



What is Stress?


Stress is: ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them’.

(Health and safety executive.)

Stress can be a positive thing that helps you to achieve your goals or take on a difficult challenge.


However negative stress can occur with some kind of change or instability that creates a threat.


The changes in your health can make you feel unstable and the impact of Menopause symptoms can cause a threat to:

Your identity


Health and wellbeing


Relationships


and career


So there is no surprise why there is an increase in stress during menopause.


So what are the symptoms of stress in menopause?


Symptoms of stress in menopause


I find it fascinating how similar some menopause symptoms are to general stress symptoms.


For example:


Headaches


Heart Palpitations


Difficulty Sleeping


Sexual difficulties


Hot flushes/sweating


Aches and pains


These symptoms all have a negative effect on your well-being

Biological factors that cause stress in menopause.


Our hormones are powerful messengers in our body. With the decline of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, it makes it easier for you to feel stress in menopause.


You have a process in your body called the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

This acts like a stressor control tower. It will detect or interpret situations or events as stress.


If a situation or event is perceived by you to be challenging, the hypothalamus in the brain will send a message to your pituitary glands also in your brain.

This in turn will now communicate with the adrenal glands (which are just above the kidneys) saying that there is danger.

To fight this danger the adrenal glands will produce cortisol and adrenalin. It is the release of cortisol that will make you feel stressed.

This process is more easily triggered during perimenopause and will occur even if you just perceive a situation to be stressful.

It is important to develop a different perspective when it comes to handling pressure that leaves you feeling stressed.


• Relationship problems


The feeling of irritability can cause frayed relationships with spouses. Lack of awareness that changed behaviour is due to hormonal changes, leads to misunderstandings and is interpreted as a lack of love that causes stress in menopause.


This may make partners feel that there is no future in the relationship, as you not only not get on, anymore but also loss of libido affects intimate relations between partners.


It is common for a marriage to break down during a woman’s menopausal years. In fact, divorce rates peak for couples aged 45 to 49 years old in the UK, with the average age for divorce being 43.9 for women and 46.4 for men (ONS).

https://www.stowefamilylaw.co.uk/blog/2022/10/17/menopause-a-divorce-danger-zone/




Family responsibilities cause menopause stress


Perimenopause occurs at the most inconvenient time. You are managing your own symptoms as a result of perimenopause, and you also have to look after elderly parents as well as teenage children who are going through their own challenges

The enormity and pressure of the additional responsibilities of cooking and cleaning as well as emotional ones contribute to stress.


Work can cause menopause stress.


Stress in the workplace is prevalent. It was also noted by Professor Brewis that “menopause symptoms can be exacerbated by work and stress caused by the work environment.


The estimated number of workers in Great Britain suffering a work-related illness is 1.8 million with stress, depression, and anxiety making up around half of cases, new figures show. An estimated 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22. This is over half of all working days lost due to work-related ill health. (Health and safety executive)


If there are changes to your work role that you do not understand or are not consulted about, and not heard when you raise concerns about it, these communication problems will contribute to stress.


Poor relations between colleagues as well as the volume of work contribute to stress during menopause.


Rather than regard these situations as if there is something wrong with you. I found it more helpful to view it as signals to respond to so you can make things better

What effective strategies can you implement to reduce your stress during Perimenopause?


1. Self-preservation


These are actions or thoughts that you should adopt to protect and maintain your physical and mental well-being.

During the menopause transition, it comes under attack, so you need to protect yourself by building up the defences.

2. Work


Find a trusted colleague/line manager HR to speak about your concerns at work and see if some sort of compromise can be made to improve the situation.


3. Family responsibilities


Express your challenges to family members and encourage them to have a role in supporting you. Maintaining the persona that encourages family members to come to you with their challenges, but you do not feel you can speak to them about yours will cause misunderstanding and even resentment.


4. Lifestyle changes lower menopause stress


Walking is a great way to keep fit and improve your wellbeing. Walking just 4,000 steps a day may reduce your risk of dying from any cause, the largest analysis to date suggests – although the more you walk, the greater the health benefits.

ttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/augalking /09/revealed-walking-just-4000-steps-a-day-can-reduce-risk-of-dying#


It also has other benefits in menopause as it helps to balance the hormones. By lowering the stress levels which in turn reduces the intensity of symptoms like hot flushes.


Ensuring you have at least 7 hours of sleep and avoid eating processed food, caffeine and alcohol will help to reduce the levels of your menopause stress.

i

Perspective is vital.


The way you view yourself during perimenopause is vital. If you have more of a negative mindset and are hard on yourself, you are not always able to do things at work for example with the same speed and efficiency as you did pre-perimenopause.


The tendency is to give yourself a hard time. And say things like ‘I am stupid’ ‘I am useless’ and ‘past my sell-by date This is only not true but will lower your confidence and increase stress levels

Rather acknowledge yourself for doing your best which changes each day


Support

If you are finding it difficult to manage your stress because of menopause. If you are going through the motions of living life but not enjoying it. Please ask for help there are organisations that can help you.

I would be happy to help you have a more positive mindset and improve your mental health, so you can maintain your confidence despite Perimenopause and Be yourself again If you are Interested.

Email me at mon@perimenopausewarriors.co.uk and say yes.






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