Mood swings are undeniably one of the least anticipated effects that menopause can inflict upon us. They may be difficult to adjust to and downright disruptive, but, rest assured, they are temporary. Understanding why they and other common menopausal symptoms happen, talking about our experiences to the other women, and yes, men in our lives, can not only empower us to soldier on through them, but come out on the other end of menopause with a greater sense of understanding of ourselves and, respect, love, and compassion for us, collectively as women.
Sensitivity to Hormonal Shifts
If you have struggled with depressive symptoms in the past, you may be more sensitive to the hormonal shifts that occur during perimenopause and menopause.
Some of the symptoms related to low mood can present themselves at this time. You may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or loss of pleasure. Be especially mindful if these symptoms are not indicative of your usual personality. It’s important to know that the temporal nature of these symptoms is natural but be vigilant if they persist for two weeks or more. It’s always a good idea to speak with your family doctor if you or your loved ones are at all concerned.
Irritability – behavior, and belly
You may find yourself to be less patient these days and even more prone to irritability with those closest to you. If you find this is the case, have an honest discussion with your support system and let them know that your shorter-than-usual fuse is most likely due to this inevitable change of life. Like other symptoms, this too usually passes with time. You may find that taking a short walk can go a long way to helping attenuate minor frustrations.
You may also notice that your tummy is more easily irritated leading to more frequent digestive issues. Changes in your appetite could be par for the course too. You may either be overeating or eating less than you usually do. Again, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just try to make healthy food choices when you can and make sure you are getting enough protein to fuel your body daily.
Low energy is normal
You may experience a decrease in your energy levels during menopause. Disrupted sleeping patterns such as insomnia and even oversleeping may contribute to low energy and a more sluggish disposition. This could prove especially difficult if you are typically an always-on-the-go kind of individual. Give yourself a break. Use this time to reconnect with some of the low-key activities you may not always have time for such as reading, meditating, or even going to the spa for a relaxing treatment.
Menopause is an important change and yes, sometimes, a challenging one. You can be proactive however by speaking to your doctor, your friends, and other women in your life, to help you navigate these new experiences. Go easy on yourself. You may cry for no apparent reason; you may snap at your spouse for not folding the towels right or you may fall asleep at 7:45 from pure exhaustion. Just know, it’s normal. All of it. Oh, and remember, you are part of this very special collective. The challenges are temporary, the growth and self-awareness that come with these challenges are not.