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The Menopause, Mental Health and Being Forced to Stay at Home

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The Menopause, Mental Health and Being Forced to Stay at Home

With the extension of social distancing and stay at home instruction and amongst all the fear and unknowns, our “new norm” is generating much needed light relief in social media memes and TikTok videos. Which may be just what we need when watching the news and the everyday reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is potentially so overwhelming. 

But at the same time as coping with our new daily routines (or lack of), so many of us have other worries and health concerns going on at the same time – not least, going through the menopause. Quite aside from the physical symptoms of the menopause, it can also take its toll on our mental health.

The menopause can lead to a low mood, anxiety, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, stress, concentration and memory problems and changes in cognitive function. We all have different ways of coping, including the use of antidepressants and talking therapies. But we might take solace from spending time with friends and like-minded women, exercising and having an active social life, too.

So, what do we do if our usual coping mechanisms are no longer available to us during these times of social restrictions? We might not be able to see our friends or spend time with our peer groups to lift our spirits, but we can still do things at home that can help ease the mental health symptoms of the menopause. Here’s how:

  • Continue with regular exercise – the Own Your Goals workouts are all designed to be carried out at home – and never before have they been so popular. Whether you’re used to working out at home or you’re a complete beginner, it’s proven that exercise releases feel good hormones such as serotonin that help to boost our mood.
  • Make use of online video calling – whether using Zoom, FaceTime or old school Skype, keep in touch with loved ones via video link to help you feel connected. Set aside time each week in a regular slot to keep in touch with groups of friends or give an old friend an impromptu call as you make dinner (female multitasking at its best!).
  • Get fresh air – as it stands, we’re still allowed to leave our homes for essentials, work and for exercise. So, make the most of the spring weather and go for a walk, jog or cycle. Take some time to breathe in the fresh air and notice the changes in nature happening all around you, in the face of everything else standing still.
  • Practice mindfulness – there are mindfulness apps aplenty online that help by guiding you through a few moments of peace and inwardness and focusing on the present. Doing so helps to release your mind from feelings of anxiety and stress. Practicing yoga can help in the same way.
  • Be kind to yourself – know that even on your most lonely days, you’re not alone. Almost everyone right now is suffering with their own worries and feelings of overwhelm. Do things that make you feel happy, such as a new craft project or writing a letter to a loved one. Never feel guilty for feeling low or anxious, reach out to women going through the same stage of life and take solace from each other. One day soon, you’ll all be able to hug each other.

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