You wake up in a great mood, full of energy and eagerness to work. A moment later, for no apparent reason, you are furious and feel like crying. Trivial things, which until recently you would have completely ignored, suddenly become the end of the world. Except it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the beginning of menopause. But we have ways to make this emotional roller coaster not so much stop, but just… slow down to let you enjoy the ride. So here we go!
We have said it many times, but we will say it again – if around menopause you feel tired or irritable more often, do not believe that this behaviour is inappropriate or that you should “get a grip”. These and similar symptoms accompany menopause, which is a revolution in your body similar to puberty. They cannot be eliminated, so it is better to accept them and allow yourself to be imperfect. Furthermore, research indicates that those of us who have struggled with severe PMS before perimenopause are more likely to experience significant mood swings or depression during this stage
However, this does not mean that there is no cure for mood swings and that it is a licence to be unbearable. Remember that your reactions can be difficult for the family too. One second you are in a rage because of a dirty cup left on the table, and the next you are shutting yourself away, sad and crying. For them, as for you, it’s a real roller coaster ride, even though nobody bought tickets for such an attraction. So talk to your loved ones and explain why these – completely normal – symptoms occur. Then you can count on their understanding and support, which is really important at such times.
All right, but why does a woman who was very balanced, calm and rational suddenly start behaving like the embodiment of the Hulk, who can wreck an entire city? How is it possible that a friendly girl suddenly becomes someone you’d better not approach without a six-metre pole? It’s simple – just like during puberty, hormones are going crazy in your body during perimenopause. Specifically, oestrogen levels drop, and these are linked to the production of serotonin, known as happy hormones. That’s why it’s easier to get down in the dumps emotionally during perimenopause and harder to enjoy the little things.
The realisation of the changes taking place in our bodies can also have a negative impact on our mental state. Many women consider (WHICH IS NOT TRUE) menopause to be the beginning of the end of their femininity, or even of their lives. Never let it be suggested to you that not menstruating defines you as a woman – you still have decades of fantastic adventures and moments ahead of you, and your reproductive capabilities have nothing to do with it.
Even if you’re just experiencing an emotional roller coaster, we’d like to remind you – that menopause is in many ways very much like puberty. And just like when you were 14, remember that these mood swings don’t last forever, they usually go away on their own after a while. Studies indicate that mood swings are more common during perimenopause when hormonal fluctuations are most erratic than during the postmenopausal years when ovarian hormones stabilize at a low level. But what can you do during this time to feel better about yourself?
1. Yoga and meditation for emotional balance
Have you ever seen an angry yogi? Well, neither have we – many studies and opinions from practitioners themselves confirm that yoga has a positive effect on mood by lowering cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. This is also backed up by Maria’s story, which you can read here: How I Coped With My Anxiety And Mood Swings. Her story is also a handful of useful tips that helped her reduce unwanted mood swings. You can also check out our short guide on how to get started with meditation.
2. Take care of your sleep
Tired and sleep-deprived, we can be irritable even without perimenopause. So take care of the quality of your sleep and turn it into a real ritual. Start with a relaxing bath with essential oils to help you unwind. Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and try not to watch television as the light emitted by screens makes it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, read a book or put on some calming music. It’s also a good idea to get a sleeping eye mask. We recommend this model – it provides perfect darkness, and is a perfect warm compress that calms and smells beautifully of lavender!
3. Diet and suitable supplements
A good diet is essential – without it, no other method will be effective. So avoid alcohol (a hangover makes everyone irritable) or coffee, which will make it harder to fall asleep, and introduce fruit and vegetables to your diet, especially those rich in vitamin D, which has a positive effect on the nervous system. It is also worth getting good fats, such as olive oil, which help the body to absorb vitamin D from food. Many doctors also recommend the use of supplements to ensure a steady supply of important vitamins such as D, B and C.
4. Phytoestrogens or hormone replacement therapy
Since the problem is caused by raging hormones, or rather falling oestrogen levels, it is possible to use hormone replacement therapy. You can talk to your gynaecologist, who will tell you whether this solution is right for you – in some cases, hormone replacement therapy is not recommended.
If you prefer more natural methods, you can help your body with phytoestrogens. What are they? Phytoestrogens are a group of over 300 biologically active compounds found in plants, which have similar effects to oestrogens but are much weaker. Many women report an overall improvement in their well-being when they include foods rich in different phytoestrogen types in their diet, such as soybeans, flaxseed oil, peanuts and sunflower seeds, as well as herbs like black cohosh and sage. Remember, however, to consult your physician about significant dietary changes or frequent use of herbal infusions – in principle, they are a safe form of natural treatment, but there are always potential side effects to be aware of.
And finally, the most important method of dealing with mood swings – is acceptance. Strong emotions, even negative ones, during perimenopause or menopause are not your fault. It is a natural symptom of the changes in your body, so learn to forgive yourself for your stumbles or mistakes. You are entitled to experience and manifest your feelings.