While conventional medicine tends to minimize the experience of anxiety for women in mid-life, I have a broader view I am eager to share with you. Menopause and anxiety go hand in hand for many women.
Anxiety can feel like a snowball rolling downhill. It is both mental and physical. Physical symptoms can provoke worry thoughts which can then trigger more physical symptoms and then bigger worry thoughts.
Left unchecked this snow ball rolling downhill can create an avalanche of anxiety disrupting a woman over 40's ability to function.
Women in mid-life are particularly prone to experiencing anxiety because:
- Hormones are fluctuating, shifting often wreaking havoc on your sense of mental and emotional balance. Consider how the drastic hormone shifts after delivering a baby affect a woman's emotions. In mid-life as approach and go through menopause, a similar experience can happen.
- Signs of aging are often rapidly showing. This alone is enough to send many women into a tailspin as it can feel like a runaway train. Between the numbers on the scale increasing, the changes to our skin many women experience emotional imbalance as they face the fact they've landed in mid-life.
- Our roles are changing. The kids are leaving the nest. We may feel a need to make a career change - or enter the work-force for the first time. Many women in mid-life experience changes in relationship. Divorce. Deaths. All of these big life changes create anxiety.
- Our adrenal glands are tired. Many women have been going and going non-stop for years and years, running on adrenaline. By the time we hit our 40's the adrenal glands don't work like they use to. Adrenal fatigue is a serious issue for many women over 40 resulting in exhaustion and inability to function. There can be a terrible cycle of stress, anxiety and resulting fatigue of the adrenals.
So, what to do? Here are key tips for dealing with anxiety during menopause:
- Change the way you breathe. I teach women how to breathe in my job as a therapist and coach. It's may sound crazy but most people do not know how to utilize their own breath the help themselves feel better. So take note: You need to learn to relax your belly and chest so that you can take in a FULL breath using the full capacity of your lungs first.
- *Get the deep, full breathing down first. Breathe in deeply and fully, filling your lungs with air to the slow count of 5. Hold it in for 2... THEN, exhale to a slow count of 5 and hold out for 2. Repeat 5 times.
- *Try the drinking straw breath technique: Take a deep full breath in and then exhale through a drinking straw which forces you to make the exhale TWICE as long as the inhale bringing automatic soothing to the nervous system when repeated 3 times.
- *Alternate nostril breathing helps balance out the emotions and the overactive worry brain. Using your thumb and your ring finger, close off one nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through the other nostril. Close off that nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the first nostril. Then, inhale into the first nostril and close it off and exhale through the second nostril. Repeat 5 cycles.
- Drink your greens. Juicing and blending organic dark leafy greens daily will support healthy adrenals and are reported to assist in balancing your body. The phytonutrients in live greens literally bring life into your body and have a calming affect on the mind and emotions as a result.
- Consider kava kava. This is an herb long used on the islands of the Pacific for soothing anxiety. Research indicates the effects of this herb are similar to the benefits of anti anxiety medications. I recommend taking kava in tincture or capsule form from a reputable company I partner with that uses only organic ingredients for all their products. Otherwise, you don't know what you're getting buying off the shelf.
- Sleep tight. It is crucial to your health and to aiding in the combat against anxiety and menopause to get a good night's sleep. Easier said than done, I know. That's why I've written a free guidebook on how to create quality sleep specifically for women over 40. Grab your free copy here.
- Practice a little yoga every day. After teaching traditional yoga classes at gyms, studios, office conference rooms, outdoor parks for many years, I know the benefit of yoga. But I also know that women over 40 may not have the time or inclination to go to a full-blown 90 minute yoga class. So, I've created a virtual yoga studio for you. In my little online yoga studio you will find videos and audio guided mini classes specifically for women over 40. Some are as short as 4 minutes! Most are 20 or under. That's because I want you to have an easy way to experience the myriad benefits of yoga in the comfort of your home with simple, gentle postures and meditations on a regular basis. Research shows regular yoga and meditation practice help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
- Be Mindful. It's a practice and a path that will lead you to profound peace in your mind, body and your life. Coming into present moment fully and with acceptance and surrender allows you to meet life as it is and let go of the fear-based clutching and grasping habits that keep you tied in knots. Adopting a seated meditation practice can help build this mindfulness muscle. Read more about mindfulness practice here.
While menopause and anxiety go hand in hand, there is no reason to suffer. Creating a plan for the way you live your life day to day can bring profound relief. If you feel like you're in over your head and need more personal coaching support to help you create a new life design, contact me and let's connect personally.