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How to tackle menopause fatigue

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Do you wake up one feeling completely drained and depleted of your energy? Has your life become too exhausting and joyless? If you’re often feeling tired and grumpy, with no motivation or ability to focus, don’t blame yourself. As you know, menopause and perimenopause are very natural processes and the hormonal fluctuations you’re experiencing are contributing to all sorts of symptoms, including anxiety and fatigue.

What are the causes of menopause fatigue?

Here are several factors that are likely contributing to your low energy levels – a mixture of other menopausal and non-menopausal symptoms. The good news is that many of these are lifestyle-related factors that can be changed. With others such as insomnia, it’s a bit thicker, but still not impossible to improve!

1. Hot flushes at night

That unpleasant sense of heat rising from the pit of your stomach, up to your chest and neck, up through the face… These might happen once or multiple times a day. Especially when the hot flushes occur at night, they can keep you up and prevent you from falling asleep.

What to do about it

Try to keep your home’s temperature down. If you don’t have an air conditioner (or at least a fan) at home, at least try to keep your windows open. Use breathable (moisture-wicking) bedsheets, light quilts and avoid heavy blankets. Avoid or minimise sweat triggering foods such as spicy dishes, too much sugar or salt alcohol and coffee. Try to exercise earlier during the day to avoid being overheated at night as well. You can also try using MegsMenopause Rosey Rain Facial Cooling Spray. It is formulated to instantly cool, hydrate and refresh your skin.

2. Insomnia

All these sleepless nights… Insomnia is perhaps the most painful symptom of menopause because it prevents the body from recovering at night and increases fatigue in the morning. This then has a negative domino effect on your whole day. The two hormones that impact your sleep are melatonin and oestrogen. You can try taking melatonin tablets and the oestrogen issue can be part of a wider HRT conversation with your GP.

What to do about it

To make sure you have a great night’s sleep, take your pre-sleep time seriously. Slow down an hour before you plan to go to bed, and avoid too much excitement such as dinner parties and bars. Put your flight on airplane mode or silent and avoid TV, computer or phone screens altogether. Read a relaxing book and listen to music which calms you down. As a bonus, you can try having a shower, meditating or doing breathing exercises. 

3. Conflicts and stressful situations

The hormonal changes of menopause, combined with its side effects, can have a significant impact on your mood. However, even for someone who isn’t going through menopause or perimenopause, facing challenging situations can harm both your mental and physical well-being. When you have a stressful job, a rocky relationship, teenage children, or ageing parents, it’s normal for your mood swings, sadness and anger to increase. 

What to do about it

Try to avoid conflicts and manage your stress as much as you can. If you start your day on a high, e.g., by doing a quick run or walk outside, a yoga class, meditation, journaling or simply sitting alone without anyone messing up with your inner peace, you’re much more likely to be resistant to external triggers. If you aren’t able to spend a long morning by yourself, then do your best to detach yourself from stressful situations. If there is a challenge at work, don’t assume full responsibility for something that might not be your fault. If a person is being rude to you, don’t answer back and they can cool down on their own without giving you any further headaches.  

4. Poor diet 

Many foods and drinks decrease your energy levels as they contain “empty calories” – they give you energy (which if not burned will end up being stored as fat) without supplying you with nutrients. Things like processed carbs, foods you’re intolerant to (dairy, wheat or even certain raw vegetables if you have IBS) and alcohol and coffee if consumed in unhealthy amounts are best avoided.

What to do about it

In “The New Hot”, we have a section dedicated to the FODMAP Diet (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). It’s something worth experimenting with if you are experiencing uncomfortable bowel symptoms as part of your menopause. By eliminating foods that can potentially cause discomfort such as bloating or gas, you’ll be doing your got flora a huge favour.

Foods that contain wheat (bread, pasta, couscous, cakes and biscuits), cow’s milk (ice cream, cheese and yoghurt), and vegetables that can irritate a sensitive gut (cauliflower, leeks, onions, garlic and mushrooms) or fruits (apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, prunes and watermelon), some nuts (pistachios and cashew), some sweeteners (honey, agave nectar, sorbitol and xylitol). See how you feel after you eliminate certain foods, you may not need to remove all of these, and similarly, you might get unexpected massive improvements after you cut down on one or few food groups.

5. Sedentary way of life

Sitting for prolonged hours every day is detrimental to the body and mind. A lifestyle in which little to no physical activity and exercise is done can lead to feelings of depression, melancholy, nervousness, dissatisfaction with life and fatigue.

What to do about it

Move more! It doesn’t matter what activity you choose. You can start by doing 30-minute walks (ideally several times a day), and taking breaks from sitting every 40-60 minutes. Choose to get off the bus a few stops earlier to park further away from your final destination. Experiment with different types of fitness classes such as dance classes. If you’re into more relaxed and gentle movements such as yoga or Pilates, go for these. Any form of movement can benefit your muscles, bone density, blood circulation, and most importantly, energy levels!

All in all, it’s important to remember that menopausal fatigue shouldn’t be the norm and there are many things you can do about it.

It can affect many aspects of your life, including your relationships, friendships and work, so it’s important to work towards improving it. Once you figure out what eases your fatigue and you start implementing these steps into your daily routine, you’ll feel much better.

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Meg's Quote

If you are depressed,
you are living in the past.
If you are anxious,
you are living in the future.
If you are at peace,
you are living in the present.
– Lao Tzu –

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