Monday, Oct 15th

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Stress Busters

It is well known that stress and menopause do not play well together. If you're among the majority of women who suffer from hot flashes, stress will make them worse. So the goal is to lower the stress level at home, at work, in your social life. Even if you insist that you have no control over some stress-inducing factors, such as an impossible boss or family issues, there are still things you can do to smooth the edge.

HFN 019 Stress 1 36067749Work It!
Perhaps the easiest and all around healthful stress therapy is adding exercise to your schedule or increasing the time or exertion that you already devote to it. First let's consider cardiovascular exercise, whether you're an outside runner or walker, a gym rat, or you manage to tote up the hours with a DIY routine at home most days of the week. While moderate-level exercise can make a dent in stress, high-intensity exercise will do a better job. At least thirty minutes a day should be your exercise goal, even if it's broken up into smaller time segments.

It's recommended not to exercise strenuously later than three hours before bedtime, as this could worsen night sweats.

There is a relaxation response to exercise that makes us feel better after a workout. Your exertion releases neurotransmitters—endorphins—in your blood, making you feel more relaxed, yet at the same time energized to meet the day. Now that's a deal!

Other Options
Among other stress busters to consider:

  • yoga, which can be strenuous or gentle depending on the type of yoga you choose
  • meditation (there are many types, from mindfulness meditation to Zen and all in between)
  • a bubble bath (not hot)
  • intimacy with your significant other
  • anti-anxiety medication or an antidepressant (talk with your doctor to determine your need)
  • a leisurely walk with your dog or several minutes petting your dog or cat (this will have a relaxing effect on both of you)

HFN 019 Stress 1 14045318Don't Add to the Stress
Although many of us like to relax with a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a mixed drink, try to limit your intake of these beverages, as they can rile up your hot flashes. Take your favorite seat in the house, put your feet up, and enjoy a glass of iced herbal tea. And if you smoke, do everything you can to stop. Smoking is often the culprit for early-onset menopause (before 45 years of age), and we know how damaging it is to our hearts and lungs.

As noted at the beginning, there are situations that cause stress over which you may not have control. The point is to first recognize you're stressed, make the time to help yourself, work on not reacting in such a way that you cause yourself more stress, and slowly you'll find yourself in a more positive space. ♀

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