One of the many fun symptoms of menopause (sense my sarcasm, there?) is frequent mood swings. Fluctuating hormones during this time can cause rapid dips in mood, making you feel anxious, on-edge, irritable, or depressed. Luckily, there are things you can do to boost your mood and experience more joy throughout your menopausal years. While you should speak with your doctor if your symptoms become severe, you can also use these natural tips to boost your mood throughout menopause.
1. Exercise Regularly
Consistent exercise floods your body with endorphins at any age, but it can be especially helpful in menopause. A study from Penn State University found that a group of middle-aged women who exercised for 30 minutes a at a moderate intensity had more energy and felt a better sense of well-being than a group who did not. Not only does regular exercise give you endorphins but it lowers the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
Today meditation is more mainstream than mystic. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation reduces stress, improves concentration, slows aging, increases self-awareness, boosts immunity and helps you relax. Many people credit meditation for reducing their anxiety and helping them manage anger and other complex emotions, too. Try to dedicate at least 15 minutes a day (and increase from there, if you can) to quieting your mind. There are plenty of different types of meditation to try if one variety doesn’t float your boat, too.
Related: Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
3. Cut Back On Sugar
Cravings for sweets may be tempting, but the crash that accompanies a sugar spike can wreak havoc on your mood swings. Try to cut back on sugar in little ways; you can still indulge occasionally, but you may find that the less added sugar you eat, the better you feel. Bonus? Studies show that lowering your sugar intake can lessen the severity and frequency of hot flashes!
4. Get Social
You’re going through a lot in menopause: your hormones fluctuate, you likely experience hot flashes and night sweats, and the emotions that accompany these changes can be draining. Maintain close connections in your life and confide in your girlfriends about what’s going on—they’re likely experiencing the same things as you. People who feel connected to others tend to be happier, according to Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones. Whether you’re spending time with family or confiding in a close friend about something, that intimacy and connection is what can keep us feeling emotionally supported and well-adjusted.
5. Practice Gratitude
I know you hear about gratitude all the time, but do you have an actual gratitude practice? Get in the habit of jotting down at least three things every day that you are grateful for. A fun way to practice gratitude is to share your happiest moment of the day around the dinner table. Gratitude puts your mind in a positive place by pausing to appreciate all that is going right in your life, no matter what your hormones are doing.
6. Schedule Self-Care
At this stage in the game, you might have kids that are growing up in addition to a career and a busy life. It’s so important to schedule time to take care of you and focus on finding things that make you happy. Prioritize your own self-care by carving out time to do things that light you up, fulfill you creatively, and nourish your soul. Always wanted to take a painting class? What’s stopping you! Is your favorite thing in the world curling up with a good book and a glass of wine uninterrupted? Carve out the time to do that. Let go of the care-taking role a little bit and relish in doing things solely for your own pleasure.
7. Go Herbal
While antidepressants and other medications can be used for persistent or severe symptoms, many women find relief in herbal alternatives. Taking a magnesium supplement, for example, has been shown to boost your mood and ease anxiety during menopause. Chamomile tea and black cohosh are also great herbal remedies for menopausal mood swings. Black cohosh is an ancient herb that Native Americans discovered helps relieve menopausal symptoms such as sleep disturbances and mood swings. You can take black cohosh in supplement form or as a dried root in teas.
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