It’s true that anyone can experience stress, but women are at a higher risk for having more of it. Stress can come from many sources such as work, school, home life, parenting, health, finances, and so much more. Women are most likely to multi-task and be the bedrock of their family. I count myself in on being a multi-tasker. It’s nothing new for me to be running two loads of laundry while roasting a chicken in the oven. I used to do three things at once and now I’ve cut back to doing two things so that’s progress for me. It's been my observation that women in general have more responsibilities than their partners when it comes to family life, so it's not wonder we need a good self care routine. Many years ago, before I was married with a family of my own, I had a client with a demanding career, a husband and baby who used to say that she could use a wife. Not for any other reason other than to delegate someone else to take care of all the mundane chores and free up more time. I couldn't relate then when I was single, but I understand now!
You may think you know what it feels like to be stressed out, but many women only notice they are out of alignment when it starts to truly affect other areas of their life. Stress comes in many forms, and you may be experiencing it nearly every day without even realizing. By understanding the signs, you have a better chance at catching it early on and taking health supportive actions.
Several signs you may be under stress:
You wake up with headaches due to clenching your teeth or insomnia
You have frequent tension headaches
You’re unable to concentrate and find yourself being forgetful
You suffer from increased depression or anxiety
You have moderate to severe mood swings
You have difficulty making decisions
You find yourself smoking, drinking, or eating more than usual
You feel a sense of helplessness and overwhelm.
Complications and Side Effects
There are quite a few ways stress can affect you, both mentally and physically. This doesn’t even begin to cover the fact that stress can lead to problems at home, including finances, work, and with your family or friends. Aside from those complications, it also affects you emotionally and mentally. You might have heightened anxiety, more frequent panic attacks, and severe depression. Stress also increases the risk for many physical ailments, including headaches and migraines, muscle tension, digestive issues, high blood pressure, stroke, infections, backache, eating disorders, skin problems, bowel disorders, and many others.
What to do About it
As you can see, stress can do a number on your entire life. As soon as possible, look for healthy and productive ways to give yourself relief in the form of self-care. What will work for you might vary based on the source of stress. One day it could be writing in a journal, and the next taking a yoga class or going for a run. Choose healthy activities that take your mind off of your concerns, even if it’s just having tea with friends or watching a raunchy comedy with your family. Hearty laughter is one of life’s best forms of medicine. Make it a point to do it more often 😊
Healthy Habits for Menopausal Women
Habits are a part of life and something everyone does whether consciously or unconsciously. Ideally, we want to increase our positive habits and put a stop to the ones that don’t support our best interests and health.
Constructive habits are things you do on a daily basis that are good for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Read on to learn what healthy habits menopausal women (and people of all ages!) are doing to stay on their A game.
Get More Exercise
If you don’t have a regular fitness routine, now is the perfect time to start. Exercise is wonderful for anyone, male or female, but it has some unique advantages for menopausal women. Exercise helps you lose and manage your weight, fight conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and is a preventative for ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis as you age. It’s also fantastic during any phase of your life, whether you’re a teenager, in your childbearing years, or a senior adult. Fitness is the fountain of youth and adds immeasurably to the quality of your life.
Focus on Your Nutrition
A healthy diet goes hand in hand with exercise. I often tell clients that you can work-out like an animal, but if your diet sucks, your results will be minimal. Ideally, you want to consume “whole” foods that are unprocessed, and properly prepared. Conscientious habits are your road to eating better. Fad diets don’t work because they are short lived. Who can thrive on cabbage soup for their entire life? Not me, that’s for sure. And I doubt any one reading this can either. We need variety to make sure we receive adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and macro-nutrients (protein, complex - carbohydrates, and good fats).
A health supportive diet is a lifestyle. Think of longevity and base your choices on foods that are good for you, provide high quality nutrition, and can be prepared easily. Many menopausal women do great on a Keto, Paleo or Whole-30 based diet because it’s higher in protein and good fats and lower in carbohydrates which helps keep insulin low. If you’re vegan or vegetarian which leans towards more grains and legumes that spike insulin, adjustments can be made to reverse those issues. Pick and choose based on what provides the most nutrition, and what is manageable for your current lifestyle.
Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Far too many people, women especially, neglect their mental health. How many times have you found yourself strung out, had a nervous stomach that sent you racing to the bathroom? Raise your hand if that's happened. The status of your mental health has a direct impact on your physical body and it’s called the “Gut-Brain axis.” Anxiety and/or depression often improves when our digestion works properly so take a look at how your gut is or isn’t working.
Here’s several ideas that can work wonders to help support your mental wellness:
A health supportive diet
Get outdoors and spend time in nature; take a hike, go for a run, bike etc...
Spend time with friends
Play with your pet (if you have one or consider adopting a furry friend)
Take a hot bath with some Epsom salt and some essential oil like lavender.
If time is a factor, then choose an action you can do for five minutes like journaling. If I’ve had an intense day, writing down how I feel increases my self-awareness and provides a good amount of relief to let go. A good bear hug with someone you love is also quick, uplifting and raises those feel-good hormones.
It’s easy to become a hermit and just work and sleep, so it’s important for your health and well-being to make a habit to connect with others who enrich your life. The possibilities to feel better are endless and at the end of the day it’s about doing what helps you feel most connected to your highest and best self.