November and December are jam-packed with holiday activities that are supposed to bring joy to your life. The holiday season also brings a wide range of emotional and physical experiences, some of which can be stressful. When you add the symptoms of menopause on top of everything else, you might end up thinking this isn’t such a jolly time of year after all.
If menopause symptoms have you thinking hot-hot-hot instead of ho-ho-ho, you don’t have to suffer in silence. From using effective natural remedies to taking deep breaths, and maybe even getting on hormone therapy, here are some things you can do to relieve menopause symptoms this holiday season.
1. Dress for Comfort
For many people, the holiday season is about getting together with friends and family members. To limit hot flashes, dress in layers. You never know who’s going to have the heat cranked up, so it’s important to be able to remove a layer or two to prevent yourself from getting overheated. As an added bonus, dressing in layers gives you a little more flexibility. You can stay comfortable indoors without having to skip sleigh rides, snowball fights and other outdoor activities.
2. Focus on Stress Relief
As you plan for the holidays, you may find yourself running around more than usual, delivering cookies to a local nursing home or hunting down the perfect gift for your best friend. Sitting in traffic and pushing through crowds of shoppers only make things more stressful, so set aside time for some stress-relief activities. Meditation, massage and aromatherapy are just a few of the options available. When you’re in a rush, even taking a few deep breaths can help you calm down enough to conquer your to-do list.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few sugar cookies or having a slice of pumpkin pie, but do your best to maintain a balanced diet during the holiday season. If you’re dealing with hot flashes, limiting your intake of processed foods can help you cool down. When you plan your meals, make sure they include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products.
The calcium in milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Spinach and other green veggies are also a good source of calcium, and they’re low in calories, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
4. Take Time for Yourself
At this time of year, many women ignore their own needs in favor of trying to make the holidays perfect for family members and friends. When you’re not working or doing household chores, you may be planning elaborate meals, decorating the house, hosting holiday parties or searching high and low for hard-to-find gifts. This is the perfect recipe for burnout, which may increase irritability and other menopause-related symptoms.
To prevent burnout and keep your menopause symptoms in check, take a little time for yourself each day. You don’t have to spend the whole day doing nothing, but try to spend 30 minutes reading, solving puzzles or doing other enjoyable activities.
5. Start Hormone Therapy
Before menopause begins, your body starts producing less estrogen and progesterone. These are the hormones responsible for regulating the female reproductive system. Once your hormone levels decrease, that’s usually when menopause symptoms begin, which may leave you feeling tired, irritable and anxious. Lower hormone levels might also cause vaginal dryness, night sweats, weight gain and thinning hair.
Although lifestyle changes and home remedies are helpful, you could continue to experience uncomfortable menopause symptoms. If those symptoms are interfering with your life, you may be a candidate for hormone-replacement therapy. This type of therapy replaces estrogen and/or progesterone, relieving hot flashes, night sweats and other menopause-related issues. HRT may even reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis as you age.
At Hormonally Balanced, we offer bioidentical hormone therapy to women in Burlington, Massachusetts, and surrounding areas. Bioidentical hormones have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by your body, so they relieve symptoms associated with lower estrogen and progesterone levels.
6. Adjust Your Environment
You can’t control what happens in other people’s homes, but you can adjust your living environment to accommodate your changing needs. For example, consider setting your thermostat to a lower temperature so the heat doesn’t kick on when you’re having hot flashes. You can always put on a sweater or a cozy pair of socks if you’re chilly, and then remove them when you warm up.
If you’re dealing with high levels of stress, turn your bathroom or bedroom into a relaxing oasis. Pleasant scents and comfortable seating make it easier to relax when you get home from visiting relatives or looking for deals on gifts for the whole family. Many women have trouble sleeping during menopause, so it’s also helpful to purchase a cooling gel pillow or a set of crisp sheets to help you get enough rest.
7. Stay Hydrated
For some women, menopause causes dry skin and brittle hair, making adequate hydration more important than ever. Additionally, older adults tend to replace lost fluids at a much slower rate, further increasing the risk of dehydration. To combat menopause symptoms and improve your overall health, drink plenty of water. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, add cucumber slices, blueberries or mashed strawberries to add a little flavor.
8. Identify Your Triggers
Many women have triggers that make their menopause symptoms worse. For example, you may discover that you have severe hot flashes after consuming caffeinated beverages or eating spicy foods. To keep your symptoms under control, it’s important to avoid these triggers. Perhaps reduce your coffee consumption or avoid using hot peppers in your holiday cooking.
9. Improve Your Sleep Habits
Once you start menopause, you may find it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Unless you want to spend every night tossing and turning, it’s important to improve your sleep habits. If possible, turn off the TV and stop using your computer or tablet at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with the normal production of melatonin, a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
It’s also helpful to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning. During the holiday season, you may have to deviate from this routine if you plan to attend nighttime celebrations or get up early to open presents. Just stick to your sleep schedule as closely as you can.
At Hormonally Balanced, we understand that you have unique needs. Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach to managing menopause symptoms, we create custom treatment plans for every patient. Book an appointment to find out how we can help you manage your weight and improve your sex life.