Mastering Your Menopause: 5 Natural Daily Practices to Empower Your Health
Understanding how to achieve a balanced state of wellness during menopause and perimenopause can be a challenge, especially when there’s so much information out there to sift through. The great news is that there are some tried and true strategies that have been scientifically shown to help balance you back to an optimal state of health and well-being. These wellness-boosting practices have ‘real world’ social data to back up the research findings, proving that you can indeed take back control of your health with just a few fun and simple tweaks to your daily routine.
Hygge Your Way to Happiness
You may have heard of the Danish self-care practice of ‘hygge’, which is all about doing more of what you love. It’s a mentality that says you’ll focus less on your to-do list and more on your own comfort and happiness. Sounds good, right? Scientists and Danes both agree. Hygge has been shown to increase overall well-being, and Denmark came in first on the 2016 World Happiness Report.
Hygge focuses on heart-centered self-care. The increased bodily changes you’re experiencing during menopause and perimenopause mean that prioritizing time for yourself to adjust is more important than ever. Calm, peaceful activities that help you decompress while soothing both your body and mind are a wonderful way to bridge in some much-needed revitalization. So take some time to do whatever you want – or nothing at all! Take a look at some favorite ‘hygge’ activities:
- Drinking hot chocolate by fire or candlelight
- Cooking a home-made dinner with a family member or friend
- Reminiscing about your past
- Being grateful for your current blessings
- Watching the sunrise and sunset
One of the best self-care strategies to employ during menopause and perimenopause is to simply chat with your family and friends. Many women say that their mood swings, fatigue, and changes in sex drive affect their relationships during this time, and this leads to higher stress levels. Hygge allows you to just hang out and enjoy those who you are closest to. In fact, social support has been shown to be a vital component of good health, particularly in protecting you from stress.
Make Sleep a Priority
Menopausal changes in sleep patterns due to decreased oestrogen and melatonin levels can make a full eight hours of sleep seem like a pipe dream. Yet new understandings of how your circadian rhythm works can help ensure that you can get the rest you need to stay healthy and well-balanced, both mentally and physically. Your circadian rhythm is your natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, and keeping it free from disruptions is a fantastic way to regulate your health. Proper sleep-wake cycles during menopause can:
- Lower risk for weight gain
- Modulate body temperature
- Aid with digestion
- Help maintain normal blood pressure
The circadian rhythm speaks the language of consistency. The more habitual your daily routine is, the better it communicates with key hormone regulators. Some of the best parts of your day to focus on including consistent mealtimes, bedtimes, and rise times. It can also be good to keep a regular work schedule and to enjoy some hygge at the same time each day.
Elevate Your ‘Second Brain’ to First Class Status
For thousands of years, health practitioners have focused on the digestive tract as the secret to optimal health and well-being. Today, we know that each person’s digestive tract houses an entire ecosystem that includes more than 100 million neurons and trillions of microorganisms. This vital network can directly influence your mood by sending communication signals to your main brain. How this influence unfolds is directly tied to what feed it.
Because women in menopause may experience higher levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, providing your ‘second brain’ with the right nutrients can help you bridge in better mental health and happiness. Take a look at these top 5 foods to help elevate your digestion alongside your mood:
- Whole, fresh leafy green vegetables
- Yogurt, especially from Kefir Milk
- Natural oils such as olive, coconut, or avocado oil
- Sprouted grains and legumes
You can download our free e-book Your Gut Matters to find out even more ways to improve your state of mind through optimal digestive health.
“Sickness comes in on horseback but departs on foot.” – Dutch Proverb
Many studies have been done on the benefits of bringing play, social engagement, and nature into your exercise routine. Exercise also helps sync your circadian rhythm to a regular schedule to aid with sleep. Walking in nature, playing Frisbee with your kids, or engaging in stimulating outdoor activities like gardening and hiking helps brings in vital elements from the trees and plants to balance your cortisol levels and lower stress. Play in particular aids with conceptual memory, making it a great counter to the forgetfulness that women sometimes experience during menopause and perimenopause due to lowered oestrogen and progesterone levels.
It’s recommended to exercise about 150 minutes per week, for about 20-30 minutes each day. Movements should ideally include both aerobic exercises to get your resting heart rate up by 50-70%, as well as muscle strengthening workouts. Activities such as yoga and tai chi have also been shown to have numerous health benefits, and group activities like bowling, volleyball, and golf are also wonderful additions to your healthcare regime.
Outsmart Your Unhealthy Habits
Having emotional responses due to fluctuating hormones is a common experience for many menopausal women, and you may sometimes find yourself skipping your workout or reaching for that third bagel as a result. Everyone has strategies they use to comfort themselves during tough emotional periods. The great news is that, by learning to outsmart your mind, you can merge both comfort and a healthier lifestyle together into one wellness-boosting package.
Here’s how it works: your brain speaks a language all its own, and its known as ‘habits’. The syntax of this language has been discovered by neuroscientists to have 3 unique parts:
- A cue or trigger
- A response to that cue
- A reward
Because your brain is set up to create habits much more quickly if you provide yourself with a pleasing reward at either the ‘cue’ or ‘response’ stage of the loop, you have a much better chance to swap out old patterns for newer, more upgraded ones. Try noting both your main cues and also which unhealthy responses they lead you to engage in. Then begin replacing these with a practice that is both rewarding and healthy. For instance, if you often reach for sugary chocolate when stressed, try stocking up on chocolate that has a high cocoa content and is sweetened with agave syrup, stevia, honey, or molasses. Another option is to begin a calming meditation practice to help comfort yourself and improve your overall well-being.
To find out more even more ways to empower your health and boost your vitality during menopause and perimenopause, consider joining one of Dr. Allie’s Joyful, Sexy Menopause programmes, where you’ll receive holistic guidance, healthy social support, and empowering information to help you thrive. Contact us today to find out more!