The Zen Commandments

How to manage those menopausal mood swings and keep stress in check
The Zen Commandments

Mindfulness encourages us to see when we’re making ourselves feel worse by being caught in a loop of never-ending rumination.

Even the most calm and collected among us can find it hard to keep our cool when we are menopausal. Changing hormone levels at this time are associated with everything from mood swings to anxiety and perma-tiredness. “For some women the whole concept of menopause and getting older can affect how they feel about themselves,” says gynaecologist Dr Heather Currie, founder of Menopause Matters. Try these tactics to help keep calm…

Be mindful

All transitions come with challenges that are easier to cope with if you learn to accept and work with them,” says mindfulness teacher Gaynor Quilter, co-founder of Mindfulness CIC.

Mindfulness – a state of awareness of the present moment – can help. It encourages us to see when we’re making ourselves feel worse by being caught in a loop of never-ending rumination.

It shows us that many of our thoughts are unhelpful, often focusing on the past (‘I used to be so much happier’) or future (‘How many more years of this have I got?’) instead of the present.

So take a few minutes each day to pause and be still, whether that’s when you get into the car, or in the office. Notice your thoughts, then let them drift away and tune into your breath, taking your attention into the body. Smile at your body. Say ‘hello’ inside. Be kind to it. It’s your home.

Meditate

Meditation, practised regularly, can help you to be more mindful day-to-day, as well as giving you a tool when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

“Sit in an upright position and rest your gaze on the floor. Bring your attention to the body parts making contact with the chair or floor. Spend a few minutes feeling these sensations."

“Bring your attention to the belly and chest and feel the movement of the breath. Notice whether it’s long and deep or shallow and tight. No need to change it – just notice."

“Stay with the breath and when you notice the mind has wandered, simply bring it back to the breath with kindness,” says Quilter. Aim to do this for five to 10 minutes a day, and whenever things are getting on top of you."

Curb caffeine

“Sleep disturbance can be one of the most distressing menopausal symptoms,” says Currie. “Some of the disturbance is to do with being too hot at night. Excess caffeine sometimes worsens hot flushes so it may be a good idea to cut back.

“Also, when women’s oestrogen levels decline it can affect the bladder, so they have to get up in the night to pass urine. Caffeine can irritate the bladder, too.” Currie suggests avoiding tea and coffee in the evening for the best chance of some restorative sleep.

Ditch the guilt

Taking active damage-limitation steps can help bolster relationships through this tricky time. “It's important to let loved ones know your hormones are all over the place,” says therapist Marisa Peer, author of You Can Be Younger. “You may be snappy and tearful but, just like PMT, it will pass.

“By doing this, your family and friends won't take it personally. They will understand and you will feel more supported.”
Peer says that there is nothing wrong with relishing the positives of this new life stage either. “Since going through the menopause, I love not having periods and felt no resistance when they ended.” Silver linings.

Treat yourself

Investing time in your skincare regime could carve out a little me-time and help you feel connected with – and positive about – your changing body.

Vichy’s Neovadiol range is specifically designed for menopausal women to tackle the appearance of hormonally changing skin, leaving it feeling plumper and looking more radiant – it’s just the boost you might need right now. Because now is the time to put the emphasis on the “me” not the “pause” and get on with the rest of your life...

The menopause can be tough on you and your skin, but Neovadiol can help meet your unique skincare needs at this time. With 14 years’ research behind it, Neovadiol works to reduce the appearance of the signs of ageing that come with hormonal changes, helping your skin feel intensely hydrated and helping you put the ‘me’ back in menopause.

This article reflects the opinions of Dr Heather Currie and Clint Kelly and is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.
This article is intended as general information only. Seek advice from your GP before starting a new exercise regime. Ask a qualified trainer to demonstrate exercise moves.