Does a Menopausal Christmas Fill You with Dread?
It’s ok to admit that whilst everyone else is laughing, joking, drinking and generally looking forward to Christmas, inside you may be feeling flat or anxious. You might be dreading the pretence of happiness, welcoming the family, or smiling through the work Christmas party. You push your way through the hordes of shoppers all milling around enjoying the festivities, but you are just on a mission to complete your shopping list and get home! Trying hard to lift your spirits can be difficult when your hormones are raging. When Christmas sends you into a hot flush it just isn’t as much fun.
Your friends call you a humbug, but your mood is difficult to lift. It’s not that you dislike Christmas completely it’s just you’re not feeling it or can’t lift your spirits no matter what you try.
There may be a reason for this, although there obviously is the possibility that you generally don’t like the festivities. But if that isn’t it and you normally look forward to and enjoy embracing the fun times, there may be something else that is preventing the elated feeling your peers are experiencing.
Your hormones might be all over the place, with oestrogen and progesterone levels going through the roof just like Santa. Other than not looking forward to Christmas, you might be feeling sluggish in life and like everything’s a drag. Maybe you’re not sleeping well, and your heads all over the place- you put your milk in the oven and teabags in the fridge! You cry at the drop of a hat, then you are raging, hot, cold, unsure of life, anxious. If this sounds like you, its time to stop, take a breath and evaluate your hormones. Are you in need of a boost? Are you reaching an age where you may benefit from some form of menopausal treatment?
You may not realise that you are suffering from menopausal symptoms. You may think your muscle aches, palpitations, hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness, fatigue and emotional upset are part and parcel of the Christmas mayhem. Especially as most symptoms are exacerbated by stress and tiredness.
Some practical tips to help yourself over Christmas
Top Up Your Serotonin
With hormones and Christmas impacting you, there are some things that can help your moodiness and stop you throwing the turkey across the room.
- Regular daily exercise – but not too close to bedtime
- Meditation or yoga
- Moderate the alcohol
- Keep caffeine consumption to mornings only
- Eat more fruits and vegetables for a better overall mood
- Give your feel-good hormones a boost, your body makes this from tryptophan and exercise. So, keep active and include some fish in your Christmas diet
Herb Mood Boosters
Certain herbs may also help, but more studies are needed to prove their safety and effectiveness.
- John’s Wort
- Garden Sage
- Black Cohosh
- Dong Quai
Write A List (or Four)
I love a list. I write one most days and work my way through it! I have also learned that if I leave my list laying around for others to see then the workload is then shared! Brain fog is a common menopausal symptom. I pause mid-sentence and my children say, “yes mum, what???” and for the life of me I have no idea what I was going to say! My brain is either completely fogged or is now thinking about four other things! Sometimes I know what I want to say but I can’t seem to get it out – very frustrating for all!
What Set You Off?
If I have a really strong cuppa (and I love my tea to taste like tea!) then I will experience a hot flush, heart palpitations and lightheadedness. My friends say that wine and cheese set them off. Try alternatives such as spirits instead of wine, or mint tea rather than builders tea. Even fruit rather than chocolate? (no! I hear you scream!)
Your Rescue Kit
Other than a bottle of gin! Keep some rescue remedy to hand as they are useful if anxiety and mood swings are affecting you. Omega 3 supplements can help with dry skin and joint pain.
I know it’s Christmas, but try not to gorge. Sadly the menopause may want you to comfort eat but it will only make you feel lousy physically and mentally in January!
Protein keeps you full for longer and luckily there should be plenty of this around – turkey, ham, eggs and nuts. All the vegetables such as carrots, sprouts, peas, red cabbage and beetroot are all healthy too. If you want a snack in between meals, reach for a crunchy apple and seasonal stilton – far better than the empty calories of a biscuit or cake.
Get in the mood!
- You may need to get up early to check on the turkey anyway so enjoy a shower and the peace before the fun begins!
- If you are cooking, keep the kitchen well ventilated and open those windows!
- Avoid heavy jumpers and anything too warm. It’s going to get hot indoors with the cooking anyway – don’t add to it!
- Keep drinking cold water (in-between champagne!). Being hydrated will boost your energy throughout the day.
- Keep a water spray in the fridge and give yourself a squirt if you’re feeling hot.
- A lovely fire is so pretty but it will make you hot! Cotton sheets and a silk pillowcase will keep you cool in bed. I never have the heating on in my bedroom either!
- I love the excuse to walk the dog! Nothing like a burst of fresh air it will help revive you if your body is aching and you’re exhausted.
- If you don’t get a chance to walk but feel frazzled – stand outside (alone) in the cold air for a few minutes and breath slowly in, hold your breath, then breathe out slowly. This will help ease tension and make you feel calm and relaxed.
- Have a nap if you need to! It’s not just for the older generation! It’s a quick revival before the games begin.