Mid-Life and Mood Swings
Unfortunately, temper tantrums and mood swings aren’t just for toddlers and 14-year-old girls anymore. If you are a lady lucky enough to be encountering perimenopause or menopause, these emotional rollercoasters may have become part of your daily life.
But what can you do about them? For some women, it can be easy to let menopausal emotions wreak havoc on interpersonal relationships, while others try to fight any emotion tooth and nail. Read on for simple, natural tips for managing menopause and its wacky moods.
Take Up Yoga
Yoga is widely touted for its ability to center the mind and improve the body’s health. Lucky for menopausal women, it is also easy on the joints and even better at relieving irritability and some symptoms of depression.
Even 15 minutes each day can help you take time out for your peace of mind and release positive endorphins that will improve and sustain a balanced mood. Try grabbing a DVD to do at home, or sign up for a local class or two – fellow yogis are often incredibly welcoming and supportive of new learners, and you may even find your moods stabilizing from additional friendly interactions.
Practice Mindful Breathing
If you can’t make it to the yoga studio – or if you just feel like bringing a powerful relaxation technique to bear at other times of the day – practice breathing mindfully. Focusing on your breathing can help you stave off an outburst or a flood of tears by re-centering you, supplying plenty of oxygen to your brain and body, and having the physical and mental effects of a mini yoga or meditation session.
Try following a 5-minute meditation routine or just focus on breathing in through your nose for a count of 4, holding your breath for a count of 7, and breathing out through your mouth for a count of 8 a few times. This may spare your co-worker, boss, or loved ones the wrath of a menopausal mood monster. Bonus: Mindful breathing also helps reduce anxiety and may help fight hot flashes.
Think, Sleep, Reply
One of the problems with mood swings is that it can make rash decisions very tempting (and very ill-advised). Just because you think your boss is the biggest cad in the world at the moment may not mean she truly is or that she doesn’t deserve a little leeway. If you have received an upsetting email, phone call, or family communication, do yourself a favor and hold back a reply.
If you need to buy yourself time, just say (or write, as the case may be), “I need a little time to think about this, but I will get back to you soon.” Mull it over a bit, let the dust settle, and get some sleep before responding. By giving yourself a chance to cool down (or to climb out of Moody Valley), your response will be better-reasoned and based more on your true thoughts than on your gut reaction.
Hint: Combine your Think, Sleep, Reply routine with mindful breathing and a yoga session and you just may find your brilliance will surprise you.
Winning the Battle with Menopausal Mood Swings
Yes, it is possible to handle menopause with calm and composure (and no accusations of being a menopausal witch). By taking the time to work on your personal happiness, your focus and mood will improve.
If you believe that your mood swings are more extreme or more persistent than is healthy, however, you may be experiencing depression or a severe hormonal imbalance. Try the techniques above but also consult a health professional for a mental health evaluation, supplements, or therapy. After all, menopause affects every woman uniquely – take care of yourself well to help yourself and those around you emerge from “the big M” unscathed.