What does Perimenopause anxiety feel like?
Perimenopause can be a vulnerable time in a woman’s life. That can be because of the stage of our lives we're at and because of the major hormonal changes we're experiencing.
Most women have reached menopause (a point in time marked by 12 months of no periods) by the age of 51.
It’s an age where we might be reflecting on the big (or little!) life choices we've made:
- Am I with the right partner?
- Why haven’t I met someone for me?
- Did I achieve my 20 year old self's dreams?
- What are my dreams?
- Am I happy?
- Is this the life I want?
- How do I feel about myself?
Perimenopause is also a time when women are moving out of their fertile years, so for some women there may be significant distress and anxiety dealing with the loss of not having children.
There's some really big stuff going on for us at this time....so understandably, there are a lot of emotions on the move (including nobody's favourite: Anxiety).
On top of all that is the perimenopausal anxiety and mood changes brought on my hormonal changes. Yes this is a real and actual thing!
NO. You are not going mad. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Perimenopause emotions are as erratic as our perimenopausal hormones; they change quickly and easily, from happy to sad to rage to happy to anxiety (sometimes all in a day - or less!). It certainly feels crazy-making!
This is normal.
Perimenopause anxiety and mood swings can also resemble PMS; sad, sluggish, anxious, moody and/or irritable.
Anxiety symptoms can get worse because of perimenopause symptoms such as night sweats affecting our sleep. No one can function on bad sleep so it's no wonder we feel anxious!
Sleep deprivation is the number one form of torture in the world with good reason and can break the hardest and toughest of people....
There's a helpful article here with our recommendations to improve sleep in perimenopause.
If perimenopause has come on early for you or has been brought on by surgery, you are more likely to experience bigger drops in hormone levels. This means you might experience more severe symptoms like clinical depression. If this is the case, be sure to prioritise looking after yourself especially well as you move through perimenopause: read up on peri, know what to look out for and give yourself the space to look after yourself and your mental health.
Nutritional deficiencies might also be a factor exacerbating your anxiety, read our post on potential deficiencies and nutrients to soothe perimenopausal symptoms around mood and anxiety.
In my experience the key is reducing stress levels which in turn reduces perimenopausal anxiety and overall symptoms.
My 3 top tips to reduce Perimenopause Anxiety
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is a power tool in improving the body and mind, as well, coping with day to day life of a perimenopausal/menopausal woman.
Yoga and meditation has been proven* to reduce hot flashes, night sweats and reduce anxiety and stress levels in perimenopause. Source
Magnesium is an essential mineral, needed for optimal metabolic function. It is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions within our bodies.
In perimenopause the type of magnesium you need to use is magnesium glycinate as it is more effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, stress and reducing inflammatory conditions. It is my key nutrient to take in perimenopause and so helpful in balancing mood. It's also the reason we included it as a superhero ingredient in our therapeutic blend: Peri Chai Latte created specifically for perimenopausal women.
Read more on the Magic of Magnesium here.
Connection with others
Connecting with others who are going through a similiar experience can have a profound effect on your ability to cope. We feel less isolated and alone, especially if we're in relationships with someone who can't relate to our experience.
Connection with other women can bring shared experiences, enocuragement, moral support and increased understanding of what's going on - and even some humour in the darkest of times.
It's for this reason, we started the PeriSisterhood: a supportive community of perimenopausal women cheering each other on and sharing their experiences. You're so welcome to join here (it's a closed group so nice and private).
Top Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
- Take time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
- Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
- Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
- Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
- Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
- Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
- Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
- Welcome humour. A good laugh goes a long way.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
We’ve got ya, sister! Join our Persisterhood private Facebook group here. A non judgemental group of women going through the same transition period in their life as you. WE LOVE YOU xx