Menopause is a natural transition for every woman in her late forties or early fifties, but it can be more or less stressful, depending on our overall health, our habits and the way we approach these changes. Menopausal symptoms are not only physical, but emotional as well, and we need to find ways to make the transition to the next chapter of our life as smooth as possible. Here are some tips on what you can do.
- Adjust your diet
Women tend to gain a pound a year after they turn 40 and hormonal changes tend to bring you a few more pounds. You will need to introduce a balanced diet that includes foods from the five major food groups. You will need fewer calories but the same amount of nutrients like protein and vitamin. Daily recommendations for women over 50 are between 1,600 and 2,000 calories depending on how physically active you are.
- Introduce supplements
People over 50 have trouble absorbing some vitamins and minerals from food only, so they will either need to increase the amount of foods rich with these or take supplements, or both. The most important are iron for healthy blood cells, B12 for your blood and nerves and B6 for hemoglobin.
- Quit smoking and drinking
After menopause, the risks of heart disease and cancer increase, so if you haven’t done so up until now, it is a good time to quit smoking and drinking. The benefits will be far greater than the initial discomfort and difficulty of quitting. If you still want to continue drinking alcohol, do so in moderation, follow a one drink a day rule. This drink should be not more than one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
- Exercise daily
Having a regular exercise routine is important at any age, but it is especially important for women in menopause. It will help you keep the weight off and elevate your mood, but more importantly, it will strengthen your body. You will need some weight-bearing exercises to maintain your bone strength and also some aerobic exercise for your heart. Many women take up yoga, cycling or jogging even if they haven’t been that physically active before menopause.
- Have doctor checkups
See your doctor regularly to check your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Do preventative screenings such as mammograms, pelvic and breast exams and Pap test. Check your skin for any unusual changes and stay out of the sun. See your dentist once or twice a year. Start seeing an eye care professional, especially if you have symptoms like dry eyes, difficulty reading and pressure in your eyes. Get flu shots and vaccines if your doctor recommends. Practice safe sex during and after menopause.
- Learn stress management skills
All these changes can be stressful for your body and your mind, so it is a good idea to learn how to manage your stress efficiently. Consciously work to remove or reduce the stress causing factors in your life, from work to family. Avoid negative people and situations, surround yourself with women who are going through the same thing and build an emotional support group. Read self help books for menopause, take up meditation and get out in the nature as much as you can. Take up gardening or volunteer in your local community, share your wisdom and help others. This will give you meaning and purpose and prevent depression from creeping in.
It is important to stay positive and active and accept menopause as a new phase in your life that can be fulfilling, adventurous and joyful. It is a good time to make those old dreams come true and become the best version of yourself.
By Emma Lawson
Emma Lawson is a busy mom to two wonderful boys. She is passionate about writing. She loves to explore, learn and share about parenting techniques and is committed to leading a healthy life. You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson