Stress Relief for Menopause

The list of symptoms associated with menopause is long. Common complaints include hot flashes, night sweats, skin flushing, headaches, mood swings and joint pain, among other things. Although menopause is a natural process through which every female goes, the experience and often times unrelenting symptoms can lead to a great deal of stress.

In addition to the mental toll stress can take, chronic stress can lead to serious physical complications such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn can increase the risk of a heart attack. Stress can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Women who experience stress as a symptom of menopause should seek relief strategies to lower stress levels.

Exercise

One of the last things a woman experiencing severe hot flashes wants to do is hit the gym and work up a sweat. Exercise and physical activity are effective stress relief techniques that are often disregarded. However, any type of exercise helps relieve stress by producing endorphins, neurotransmitters that boost mood. Exercise also helps regulate the sleep cycle, which, in turn, can reduce stress.

Other Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is a valuable tool to help battle stress, but that’s not the only benefit. Exercise helps burn calories and increase lean muscle mass, which can lead to weight loss. Exercise can also help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. In addition to stress relief, research has shown that menopausal women who engage in physical activity every day are less likely to suffer hot flashes than women who don’t exercise daily.

Possible Risks

Moderate exercise is considered safe for most people. Those with medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at risk of experiencing heart trouble or a heart attack during exercise. With any exercise, there is always a possibility of injury, as well. Women should consult their healthcare providers before beginning a new exercise routine.

Yoga

The goal of yoga is to combine physical and mental disciplines in an effort to achieve peacefulness and balance. The coming together of body and mind is said to help relax the body and relieve stress. There are several types of yoga, but Hatha yoga, which is a slow pace yoga that involves moving through a series of movements, may be the best choice for stress management.

Other Benefits of Yoga

In addition to releasing stress, yoga can also help with weight management. This is especially important during menopause, which is associated with weight gain and fat redistribution. Yoga may also help combat insomnia, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Yoga can also reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and improve mood.

Women who practice yoga regularly may experience improved balance, greater flexibility and increased strength.

Possible Risks

Yoga is considered safe for most people, although there are some risks involved. Those with glaucoma, severe osteoporosis, artificial joints, high blood pressure, or balance problems should speak with a doctor before engaging in yoga.

Massage

A massage is defined as the manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin in an effort to relieve muscle tension. In addition to providing deep relaxation, a massage also helps break down toxins that have built up in the body. A typical massage lasts 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the specific type.

Other Benefits of Massage

In addition to relieving the stress associated with menopause, a massage can also help manage anxiety and depression and control blood pressure. Because they can relieve pain and stiffness, massages may also be used as a part of cancer treatment and as a therapy for sports-related injuries.

Possible Risks

Massages given by trained, licensed massage therapists are generally considered safe, although some forms of massage, such as deep tissue, may cause pain and soreness. In rare cases, a massage may cause nerve damage, internal bleeding or temporary paralysis.

Meditation

Meditation involves focusing attention inward and ridding the body and mind of stressful thoughts. The ultimate goal of meditation is to reach a deep state of relaxation. While this relaxation helps reduce stress in the moment, it also allows a person to remain calm during the course of the day, even when not meditating.

Other Benefits of Meditation

In addition to relaxing your mind and reducing negative thoughts and emotions, some research shows that meditation may help to relieve some medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, fatigue, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and asthma.

Possible Risks

There are no known risks associated with practicing mediation.

Vitamins

Menopause can cause chronic stress that robs the body of important vitamins, especially B vitamins. When a woman does not have enough B vitamins, she will feel fatigued and stressed.

Other Benefits of Vitamins

Although they are often connected with stress, B vitamins serve a variety of purposes. The B vitamins support metabolism, enhance the function of the nervous system, promote cell growth and maintain healthy skin and hair.

Possible Risks

B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they dissolve in water when entering the body. The body does not store excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins in the tissues. While the risks of taking B vitamins are very low, a woman should always consult her healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

What the Experts Say

Experts agree that exercise, yoga, massage, meditation and proper nutrition are effective therapies for stress relief. It is important for menopausal women to experiment with different stress relief techniques to find the combination that works. Having a support system of family or close friends is also an invaluable tool for stress relief.