Protecting and managing your mental well-being should always be a priority. Throughout menopause, however, it becomes even more essential. Menopause can be a challenging time for any woman. You might feel out of touch with your body, emotionally drained, and like a shell of who you really are. All of that can take its toll on your mental health, and leave you feeling even more depressed or anxious.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few lifestyle changes, an update to your routine, and the development of healthy habits and coping mechanisms, you can get through menopause with grace.
If you’re feeling low and you’re not sure what you can do to protect your mental health now, let’s cover a few tips to help you get started. By putting these habits into practice right away, you can start taking control of your mental wellness, no matter what symptoms you’re dealing with.
Spend Time With People You Love
When you’re in the throes of menopause, it might feel like the last thing you want to do is spend time with other people. However, it’s actually one of the best things you can do. Menopause can often make you feel like a “hermit,” wanting to stay inside and not socialize or even talk to anyone. It can even go so far as to make you question friendships or not want to see certain people anymore.
This has to do with a drop in estrogen. If the hormone falls enough, you can experience symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating or “brain fog”
Obviously, when you’re experiencing these things, heading out with friends isn’t going to be a top priority. Unfortunately, that often fuels the cycle of depression. While there’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, socialization is incredibly important for your mental health. Being around friends and family can reduce stress and anxiety and lower your feelings of depression. It can even boost your mood and give you more energy, making it easier to fight back against those negative symptoms.
Social isolation, on the other hand, will typically make those symptoms worse.
Even if you’re not ready to spend time with close friends or family members, do what you can to get out of the house and be around people. Take a class, join a gym, or volunteer for a group or organization that means something to you. Doing so can help you establish a community of care while boosting your morale and self-esteem.
Enjoy Your Hobbies
Many women going through menopause give up their favorite hobbies for the same reasons why they don’t want to spend time with people. You might be too tired, too depressed, or too moody to want to do much of anything.
However, hobbies are important for everyone when it comes to mental health, and either starting a new hobby or enjoying an old one can be a great way to protect emotional well-being. You can choose hobbies that will help with your socialization efforts, including:
- Book or movie clubs
- Art classes
Or, consider a few solo hobbies like reading, cooking, or learning a new language. Hobbies are beneficial in that they reduce stress, give you something to look forward to, and can boost your mood.
If you want to go one step further with your hobby, consider something that allows you to be physically active. Exercise is always one of the best ways to boost your mental well-being and protect yourself from feeling too depressed or anxious. Try low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga if you’re just getting into it, or consider challenging yourself with a class at the gym or a long hike if you’ve been keeping up a fitness routine for a while.
Work With a Therapist
There’s no reason you have to struggle with your mental well-being through menopause on your own. You also don’t have to wait until depression tries to take complete control to reach out for help.
If you want to be really proactive about your mental health, consider talking to a therapist.
Maybe you’ve never thought about therapy before, but going through menopause is challenging, and feeling like you have to handle everything on your own can be overwhelming. Working with a therapist can help you navigate your feelings, get to the root cause of issues like depression or anxiety, and help you develop the necessary skills to manage your emotional symptoms.
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to find a therapist who fits your needs. Most therapy websites have photos and a bit of background information about their team, so you can choose a female therapist who’s around the same age as you if it makes you feel more comfortable. While it’s not necessary, being able to work with a professional who can relate to what you’re going through can make it easier to open up right away. You might also be more willing to work with her suggestions if you feel like she has a deep understanding of the symptoms you’re dealing with and the emotions you’re feeling.
Every woman who hasn’t had their ovaries removed before puberty will go through menopause. While some women deal with more severe symptoms than others, protecting your mental health throughout the process is essential to getting through it. Keep these suggestions in mind to make the experience as easy as possible. You might end up developing healthy life-long habits that will help you relax and promote your mental well-being long after you’ve been through menopause.