“I thought I was going crazy,” says Rosemary about her transition through menopause at age 52. Normally a warm and good-natured woman, Rosemary suddenly found herself on a roller coaster of emotions. She felt sad, irritable and short-tempered. She ranted at drivers and was suddenly unhappy with her job. She felt as if she had a permanent case of PMS.
Although menopausal mood swings are common, they often take women by surprise. Rapidly declining estrogen levels can trigger depression, anxiety, night sweats and sleep disturbances. Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Intimacy with your partner can be less fulfilling, and maintaining a healthy weight can be downright frustrating. Is it any wonder that a woman might get persnickety?
The good news is that menopause is no longer a forbidden topic. Books, articles and experts on the subject abound, so you can get information and support more easily than your mother or grandmother could.
Rosemary learned to relax and control her moods with regular walks, a better diet and charity work. You can help keep your menopausal moods in check, too, by following these seven steps:
- Exercise. Exercise can ease stress and help you maintain your weight.
- Eat well. Small, balanced meals can keep your energy levels on an even keel.
- Practice yoga. Or try deep breathing or meditation. Even meditative walking can help.
- Avoid tranquilizers and alcohol. These can make depression worse.
- Find a creative outlet. The sense of achievement will brighten your spirits.
- Stay connected. Keep in touch with friends, family and community. Get emotional support where you can.
- Make lifestyle changes. Try keeping your bedroom cool to prevent night sweats.