I’m hoping it’s becoming more well known that anxiety can be a symptom of menopause.
Susannah Constantine, who shot to fame with the Trinny & Susannah TV show and known more recently for her new career as a writer and author, spoke openly and honestly about her anxiety.
She wrote about it in her monthly column for Femail in the Daily Mail newspaper.
Susannah came to me for diet, fitness and lifestyle advice and support when her anxiety got worse with the menopause.
In her article I shared some tips for women to help them reduce their symptoms which I’ve shared below.
Please do go and read the full article “It’s time for me to confess: my life’s been crippled by anxiety” here.
What helps anxiety? No coffee after lunch and a magnesium soak.
Tanith Lee, aka Mrs Menopause, is a nutritional therapist and fitness trainer who specialises in women’s health in mid-life. These are her top five tips for beating menopause anxiety.
Magnesium is known as Mother Nature’s relaxant because of its calming properties for both body and mind. But many women in midlife tend to be magnesium depleted because their busy lives mean they often aren’t eating properly.
This is an easy one to fix by eating more leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, dark chocolate and wholegrains. There are also magnesium supplements available, including a spray for the skin.
A good way to reduce anxiety is with an Epsom salts bath or foot bath. This has a doubly calming effect — while you’re absorbing magnesium in the salts through the skin, you’re also reaping the soothing benefits of a warm bath.
Many of us love caffeinated drinks as they give a great boost, but they’re also likely to exacerbate feelings of anxiety for several reasons. Caffeine can have a negative impact on good quality sleep, has been known to trigger hot flushes and cause palpitations.
It can also mask tiredness meaning we’re more likely to keep going and put ourselves under pressure when we should be relaxing, which can also lead to anxiety. My advice is to cut out caffeine altogether or vastly reduce your intake.
If you must drink caffeine, stop at lunchtime as one cup of coffee can stay in the system as long as six hours.
Try green tea instead. You’ll get a mild caffeine boost, but it also contains a compound called L-theanine, which has calming properties.
Breathing — most of us breathe from high up in the chest, which isn’t optimal for staying calm and in control. On the other hand, breathing properly can reduce feelings of anxiety instantly.
At times when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope, try ‘square breathing’. Breathe in through the nose for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breath out through the mouth for a count of four and then hold for a count of four. Repeat until you feel calmer.
Increasingly, links are being made between gut health and the brain. Some studies have even drawn a link between gut health and anxiety.
But during the peri-menopause many women find their gut works less well and they start suffering from IBS symptoms such as bloating or constipation. One reason is that fluctuating levels of oestrogen can compromise how well the gut is able to move on food.
At the same time, stress and anxiety can also impact on digestion. It’s a circular problem. Pay attention to diet, ensuring it’s rich in a variety of nutritious foods. These should include plenty of fibre such as fruit and vegetables, protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. And it’s worth taking a probiotic supplement.
It’s well known that exercise stimulates ‘feel good’ endorphins and I cannot stress enough the benefits of keeping the body moving as a way to combat anxiety.
For a start, while you are exercising it’s impossible to think of anything else so it helps break the cycle of anxiety, and then afterwards you reap the benefits of serotonin, which creates a feeling of wellbeing.
Exercising to the point of getting sweaty is ideal, but even a walk at lunchtime will bring benefits. Exercise can also help with feelings of negative body image — just knowing you are taking action can make you feel better and more positive.
OMG, OMG, OMG ….. i’ve just had a first glimpse at my new website!!
I created Mrs Menopause blog back in 2011 when I was in the throes of early menopause. I created it as a platform to share my experience and stories and to reach out to other women going through the same thing.
I had no idea that I would create a business from that little idea!
My poor blog has limped along with minor changes and tweaks and it is looking a little jaded.
I’ve given my own life, body and mindset a reboot over the last nine months and I wanted my website to reflect my growth.
I cannot wait to share it with the world very soon.
The last nine months have been tranformational for me personally.
After a pretty crap 2018 with my mental health, physical health and family traumas I knew I wanted 2019 to be different. I wanted my next decade in sobriety to be even bigger and better.
That decision was taken back in September 2018. I knew for me to have a radically different year would take a radical step forward and a new mindset.
I needed help. I found help. I invested in a coach.
For the last nine months I’ve been fully focused on me. Selfish? Maybe ….. but I needed to be to create big change. I wasn’t willing to ‘just get by’, ‘survive’ or ‘get through the days’ anymore.
★ I’ve said no to lots of people even when I knew they wouldn’t like it.
★ I stopped doing ‘stuff’ for the sake of it and because ‘they’ are.
★ I’ve turned down work because it no longer fits with who I am or what I do.
★ I’ve learnt to trust myself and learnt what self compassion and self love means to me.
★ I’ve learnt what I need when I need it.
★ I’ve called bull 💩 on my limiting beliefs and stories.
★ I’ve glimpsed my potential and I am excited about what that will bring.
At the eve of a new year I didn’t set any resolutions because I already started them a few months back 😜
Yay to celebrating life and all the ups and downs and side ways…
“To thine own self be true”
My biggest discovery has to be the power of my thoughts and beliefs. I had no idea that my old negative stories and mindset was creating more of the same. As much as I wanted to feel happier, healthier and wealthier I was unaware that to create that I had to teach my body to experience those feelings and desires as if it was already true.
I had to break the cycle and to do that I have to act as if my dreams had already come true!
You brain doesn’t not know the difference between your imagination and reality.
In research by Pascual-Leone, A. (1995 article) “Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills.” Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 74(3) 1037–1045, people who mentally rehearsed piano exercises two hours a day for five days had almost the same brain changes as people who practiced on a real piano.
Today I know I can be happier if I choose to be. I can take some quiet time and rehearse mentally (think) and physically (feel/emotions) how I want to ‘be’ in the world.
You and I have been conditioned into believing that we need a reason for joy, a motivation to feel gratitude, grounds to be in a state of love. That’s relying on external reality to make us feel different internally…The new model of reality challenges us…to change something within us — in mind and body, in our thoughts and feelings — before we can experience the physical evidence with our senses. Can you give thanks and feel the elevated emotions associated with a desired event before it occurs? Can you imagine that reality so completely that you begin to be in that future life now? – Dr Joe Dispenza
I’m currently deepening my learning and practice of this by following Dr Joe Dispenza’s work. He explains more in this blog post https://drjoedispenza.net/blog/mastery-es/when-you-stop-looking-and-start-becoming/
I’m hosting an event for women who want to know more about the menopause.
There is still so much fear and confusion around menopause even with the wealth of information available. Many women are still struggling and don’t have access to someone who understands them and can empathise with what they are experiencing. Someone who can reassure them that they CAN feel BETTER, have more energy and be free of the symptoms.
Most women don’t know where to begin their journey. What to try first or feel a ‘failure’ because they have to use HRT.
Tanith will give a talk about the basics of menopause and how you can either prepare for the change or how to support yourself whilst going through it.
Then the floor will open for questions, sharing and discussion. This is POWERFUL as so many women feel alone and like they are the only one experiencing hormonal hell.
If you feel confused, overwhelmed or even a little fearful of what the menopause is then this is the talk for you.
Peri-menopause – the good, the bad and the ugly
Monday 29th April
Cafe Rouge – Haywards Heath (upstairs function room)
I’d decided to come of HRT at the end of 2017 to see how my mind and body would react.
It sure reacted! The wheels slowly fell off.
My mental health dived (that’s how the menopause seems to get me). I felt exhausted, depressed and full of anxiety (which isnt something I normally experience)
It seems even though I am technically eight years post menopause age 46 my body still wants ‘dem hormones!
I had a conversation with my great GP and decided to go back on HRT July last year and it definitely ‘took the edge of’ my symptoms.
I still wasn’t feeling great, I had an underlying feeling of depression and apathy.
I knew I needed help! I reached out to a coach who has helped me in the past. We talked about my options and how she could support me back to ‘me’.
It was a huge investment, the most amount of money I have ever spent on myself…. but deep down I knew I had to do something radically different to get me back on track.
We started the deep work, it was tough, painful and I learnt a lot about myself that was uncomforatble. But I felt so loved and supported by my coach that it felt do-able.
I wanted to give up! My brain wanted me to stay stuck in the uncomfortable comfort of depression. I had to fight!
Then in August my seventeen year old son was falsely accused of some very serious allegations made by two girls, one of whom was my daughters best friend. Our world was turned upside down (i cant say much more as this is an ongoing police investigation)
I was thrown into full ‘lioness’ mode – don’t mess with my cubs!
Throughout all this I was still doing the deep coaching with my amazing coach. She supported, guided and loved me through those highly stressful months.
As awful as it was/is it has shown me how resilient I am now. I have grown so much over the last six months.
I’ve learnt how to take a radical stand for myself and my self care. I know my drivers and my weak spots. Every.damn.day I show up for myself. I am no longer a victim and expecting someone to save me. Only I can save myself and that feels so powerful.
My addictive behaviours has lessened. I live more mindfully and intentionally.
I’m back bitches! ha ha
This week is the first time in eight months that I feel like I am ready to get back to work – my work of supporting women through the menopause and midlife changes.
I feel like I’m wearing new glasses and see myself and the world in a different way. I’m also wearing new clothes as I pretty easily shed some weight that has been hanging around over the last few years.
You may be reading this while you feel like crap and think ‘well it’s ok for you’…..
I get it, I really do….. when you feel like crap the last thing you want to hear is someone who is positive and happy.
I’m sharing this because I know how bad life can feel sometimes, I’ve been in that deep dark pit of despair when it feels like there is no escape.
I have escaped!
and so can you….. but doing the ‘self-exploration’ I’ve done isn’t for everyone. I had to hit that wall many times before I was ready.
Before I finally said ‘enough is enough’, I am not prepared to exist like this anymore.
I could do all the HRT, supplements, diet, exercise etc but that does not touch my spirit and soul. That was the work I need to do 🙂
The great thing is that I’m creating courses, workshops and one to one experiences to help woman with these changes.
My belief is that the menopause is much more than ‘fixing symptoms’ (yes i know thats part of the story) it’s about connecting to ourselves, our needs, our wants and desires.
Changing my mindset, creating new beliefs and radically taking a stand for myself has changed my life.
Last year I knew 2019 had to be different to 2018 and I knew I had to do something radcially different from the way I was.
I’m so proud of myself for taking the plunge and ‘digging in’ to the work and trusting someone else to guide me.
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A message from Tanith
Founder, Mrs Menopause
Your forties are a time of change, I’m sure I read once that’s when the fun starts. The body changes and you cannot stop it. I want to help you accept it and embrace it…..cellulite, flabby bits and all!