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The Vegan Menopause Podcast -- Ep. 2 -- How Stress Makes Menopause Worse and What to Do About It

Updated: May 3

Mindfully drinking water throughout the day as a stress reduction practice

Stress makes menopause worse, but we can help this with meditation and other practices. My perimenopausal symptoms improved greatly when I started meditation and embodiment.

Stress is very common during menopause.

You might have a lot of responsibilities at work, and at home. Maybe you are stressed because your kids moved out -- or maybe they moved back home! A lot of women in this stage of life are also caring for elderly parents. You might be thinking about retirement and getting financially ready. If you are also stressed about changes in your body through menopause, that can contribute, and if you don't like your job, that makes life incredibly difficult.

How stress makes menopause worse

Chronic stress disrupts your sleep, saps your energy, lowers your immune system. It elevates your cortisol, which can contribute to muscle and bone loss putting on more weight around the midsection. Stress can also increase hot flashes – personally whenever I’ve had hot flashes and I look back at what’s triggered it, it was always at a time that I was stressed.

Effect of decreased estrogen

When we enter perimenopause, the decreased estrogen has an effect on our brains. We have estrogen receptors in regions of our brains that involve stress regulation. And we know that stress is not great for your heart and blood pressure.

An analogy for stress

If you look at your capacity for stress as a bucket and you see water pouring into the bucket as a representation of your stress, you have to let some of the water out or the bucket will overflow.

How do you let the water out? Things that make you feel good! Some examples: being in nature, spending time with your family, spending time alone, warm bath. Exercise is great for reducing stress, but careful not to overdo it, because too much exercise can contribute to the stress overflowing your bucket.

Meditation as a way to decrease stress

Meditation is an excellent way to lower your stress and empty the bucket.

I'm not talking about the kind of meditation that requires you to sit still in a painful position and keep your mind empty of thoughts. The form of meditation I teach can involve movement, and the ways you can move that feel good. You don’t have to even close your eyes, you could meditate on a flower and just enjoy the beauty of the flower for a few minutes.

You could take a meditative walk. If you live by the ocean, you could watch the ocean and listen to the sound of the waves.

Here is a one-minute meditation video from my Instagram account -- drinking water mindfully throughout the day and noticing your senses. This is a great practice because it really gets you into your body and into a meditative state, even if it's just for a minute here and there, and you can even do this while you are sitting at your desk. As a side bonus, it also helps with your hydration.

Meditation can increase your capacity for stress

Meditation can also increase your capacity for stress. So if you keep the bucket relatively empty, you have a lot more capacity to deal with a sudden flow of water, or sudden increase of stress. And anything that can give you a little break from your routine can be helpful whether it’s meditation, light exercise, or watching a funny movie.

So I definitely encourage you, if you’re not already, to try out some of the stress reduction activities above.

In my free guide, Five Action Steps to Elevate Your Vegan Menopause Experience, I share five simple steps you can implement immediately, to feel more calm, more positive, and less affected by menopausal symptoms.

If you're struggling with menopause symptoms, a Menopause Wellness Check will help! You will get a custom video with feedback and tips based on the information you provide.

DISCLAIMER: This information on this website is general in nature and for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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