If you’re worried about getting through the stress of the festive season while managing your menopause symptoms, Peppy’s Director of Menopause Kathy Abernethy has practical advice to help you through.
- Menopause symptoms can make Christmas and other big celebrations feel even more stressful than usual.
- If you’re worried, there are lots of steps you can take to prepare yourself for the holidays.
- While you might feel pulled in every direction, remember to make time for yourself, and don’t feel guilty for taking a break from the festivities.
Whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Divali or Eid, there seems to be a lot more expected of us during these celebrations.
This might include socialising more than usual, attending lots of parties, hosting and visiting family, or just dealing with all the extra demands put on us.
This can be stressful enough at any time, but throw in disruptive menopause symptoms and you might be dreading the holiday season.
Identify your trigger points
It might be a particular family member, a tradition you would rather avoid, or even the preconceived ideas of what Christmas ‘should’ be, but we all have those things that just ‘set us off’.
This year, think ahead of what these might be and work out how to minimise their effect on you. If you dislike a certain family tradition, you could try to take a smaller role or give it a miss completely.
You can ask a trusted friend or partner for support to help you avoid or reduce these triggers on the day.
Watch your temperatures
Meeting lots of people over the holidays often leads to closer contact, warmer rooms and higher stress levels. This can be bad news for those with their own disrupted thermoregulation, and can cause an increase in hot flushes.
Next time, try packing a spritz spray. These can be really useful for cooling down.
Take care with alcohol
Alcohol, especially red wine, may worsen flushes, exacerbate low mood and affect your sleep, which won’t help your stress levels.
It can be easy to end up drinking more than you meant to, so try alternating your drinks with non-alcoholic choices, or making sure you have mixers available to dilute alcoholic drinks.
Christmas and other celebrations are a great time to join with others and indulge yourself.
Be aware that while processed party foods feel like a treat, they are rich in salt and can make you retain water and feel bloated. But don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s only one day and you can get back to your usual routine after you celebrate.
Be mindful of yourself
Remember to make time for you. If you are continuously busy, your stress hormones will go into overdrive and only make menopause symptoms worse.
It can be as simple as taking time out to have a warm bath or going for a walk. Don’t forget to give yourself space to regroup and refresh.
Extra help for managing symptoms
- Keep the house well ventilated to minimise your flushes. If you don’t want to explain why to visitors, you can always use Covid as an excuse.
- Get outside for a walk if you can. If you can’t get away, step outside for a moment and take some deep breaths.
- Don’t feel guilty if you join some of the older members of the family for a well-deserved nap.
- Keep a jug of iced water in the fridge and remind yourself to use it.