There’s A Good Life After Menopause, And The Acronym ‘STRONG ME’ Can Help You Find It

Mood swings before, during, and after menopause can be a very real, painful experience, but keeping oneself positive with these tips can help.

Mood swings before, during, and after menopause can be a very real, painful experience, but keeping oneself positive with these tips can help.

Menopause can be a time of stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, or frustration for many women. This is a phase of emotional ups & downs, and family & friends are often unable to understand the situation. Additionally, physical and hormonal changes lead to symptoms like hot flushes, sweating, and vaginal dryness, the last of which can cause anxiety and pain during sex.

According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), nearly 23% of women experience severe mood swings before, during or after menopause, and a whopping 70% of women experience irritability that might or might not be related to what is happening around them.

What are the reasons for these mood swings?  

A rapid drop of oestrogen affects both physical and emotional health, depriving the woman of its protective effect. If there have been episodes of depression previously, that too causes more obvious mood swings.

An unhealthy lifestyle, that includes eating junk food, lack of sleep, lack of regular exercise, etc., can exacerbate the mood swings caused by the hormonal upheaval. Adding to that, it is around this age that most women have grown up kids who have moved out and become independent, spending less time with their mother, and can lead to feelings of loneliness.

If the woman has a stressful primary relationship with her spouse/partner, or does not have support from family or friends, where her feelings are belittled tor not understood, it adds to the mix. Also, if she is dependent financially, or has an unsatisfactory or stressful work situation, the mood swings can be further affected.

Usually, it is a few or more of all these factors that affect the severity fo the mood swings during pre-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause.

What are the symptoms of these mood swings?

Women experience these in varying severities, and not all may be experienced by all women, but the symptoms listed below are a general guideline for what can be expected.

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  • Irritability or angry outbursts: Around 70% of women describe irretability as main problem. They become less tolerant, and get easily annoyed on little things.
  • Anxiety, palpitation, restlessness.
  • Depression: Around 1 out of every 5 women suffer from depression.
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Difficulty in decision making.
  • Difficulty in remembering things.
  • Change in sleep or appetite patterns.
  • Unexpected physical pain.
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed earlier.
  • Loss of libido or sexual desire.
  • Crying episodes, or just generally feeling weepy.        

Remember the acronym STRONG ME

Here’s an easy way to I have devised to remember how to have a positive outlook during and after menopause, that can really help women to get back their lives for a second inning: an acronym ‘STRONG ME’

S- Sleep

Proper sleep increases energy, and helps memory. 7-9 hours of sleep is necessary for the brain to restore its power.

Try to follow a regular sleep schedule even on weekends. Avoid screen time before sleeping, instead, reading a good book helps a lot. Avoid energy drinks, caffeine, or alcohol near sleeping time.

T- Time for hobbies

Now it’s time for your hobbies or activities which you enjoyed a lot before marriage whether it was painting, knitting, singing, gardening or whatever. So take out your paint brush and colour your emotion on paper.

R- Relaxation techniques

When you are disturbed, or not thinking properly, or overwhelmed by your own emotions, try a few relaxation techniques. Go to a quiet place in your home or elsewhere, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Imagine yourself at your favorite vacation place, and try to relax.

O- Open up

Open up your heart in front of your best friend or your husband. Spend quality time with your kids and husband. You can join a dance class with them, or go for morning walks. Choose what works best for you, but know that communication is the key for a healthy relationship, which will in turn make you feel good.

N- New learning

It is never too late to learn new things. Join some classes that interest you; don’t be shy. Learning a new thing out of your comfort zone makes your brain sharper, and also gives you new energy to face any challenges.

G- Go for a support system

You are not alone; there could be many women around you who might be going through a similar situation. Make new friends, join social groups, and share your experiences. Cherish old friendships. A lot can happen over a cup of coffee with your bestie.

M- Meditation

Yoga, meditation or pranayam relaxes you, and sends signals to the brain to calm it down. This also increases the concentration power & memory power of the brain.

E- Exercise and Healthy Diet

Regular exercise increases the blood circulation in the brain. It decreases stress causing hormones, and lifts up mood & energy. It also keeps your body fit and healthy.

Diet should include low fat foods, fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole grains, so that you can get all the nutrients you need, and avoid the menopause related weight gain, keeping yourself fit and happy.

So while menopause may be unavoidable, you can certainly avoid many of its consequences, and help keep yourself happier and on an upswing!

Image source: shutterstock

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About the Author

Dr Anita Gautam

Dr. Anita Gautam is a Director Clinical Operation & Consultant Psychiatrist, Gautam Hospital & Research Center and the Gautam Institute of Behavioral Sciences and Alternative Medicine, Jaipur. Awarded with the “Dr. Indla Rama Subba Reddy- IAPP Award read more...

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