Menopausal anxiety isn’t something that many of us know much about – until it hits. It’s the invisible symptom that sneaks up on many midlife women and turns their lives upside down. We all know about hot flushes, but the loss of confidence, brain fog and daily feelings of foreboding aren’t so openly discussed.
As we all get used to home isolation and find ways to navigate our way through it, looking after our mental health needs to be a priority. If you’re already dealing with menopausal anxiety, then it’s going to be extra-challenging to keep your positivity up in these challenging times. Factor in stresses like home-schooling the kids and worrying about elderly parents, and it’s clear that we are in unprecedented times.
Menopausal anxiety during isolation
MPowered Women’s Dr Stephanie Goodwin emphasises the importance of staying positive. “When times are challenging it is hugely difficult to remain upbeat,” she writes. “But it’s well worth finding things that lift your spirits because we know that positive emotions can be an important buffer when things are tough going.”
Dr Goodwin has some brilliant suggestions to keep spirits lifted. “Think about picking a positive personal mantra and repeating it,” she says. “These may be things like ‘When one door closes another one opens’ or a line from a favourite song or poem like “Every little thing gonna be alright” from Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.”
Practise positive self-talk
Dr Goodwin also recommends reframing your self-talk. “Try to use positive statements instead of negative ones like ‘I’m so stressed’,” she says. “This can make a big difference to how you feel and how others react to you.”
She suggests these three steps to help you keep perspective. Firstly, in your mind say “Stop – I am not going down that path again”. Next, breathe deeply focusing on your breaths for a couple of minutes to calm yourself. Finally, refocus. Talk to someone close to you to get a more grounded perspective or ask yourself “Will this matter in five years? Or five months?”.
Let’s stay connected
As we all live through these strange and scary times, staying connected is key. How about sofa drinks with friends via Zoom (funny how we’d never heard of it and now we’re all obsessed)? Or joining digital group workouts like the ones being held by MPowered Women’s fitness guru Annelies Harte? Follow her on @harteandsoulcoach to find out how to sign up.
There are many ways to feel the power of community even when you’re still in your PJs at 3pm. People are being inventive, clever, funny and kind, and that is a hugely cheering thought when the clouds of menopausal anxiety gather. We will all get through this together.
You’ll find lots more advice on how to manage your mental health, from the MPowered Women medical experts, here