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Food Fabulous

Notes from midlife

7 lovely ways to relieve stress in menopause

You probably already know that stress is not a good thing for your body and soul. It's terrible news for women in perimenopause, menopause and beyond. In theory, destressing should be as simple as breathing out, but in practice – and especially when life gets hectic - it often feels like another task on an endless to-do list. The key is in making it simple and enjoyable. Here are 7 lovely ideas you can weave into your daily routine. And the best part? They're all activities you'll genuinely want to indulge in.

gnome in garden with Lavender

1 Gratitude helps cut stress

One of the most powerful emotions you can tap into is gratitude. By taking a few minutes each day to jot down what you're thankful for, you shift your focus from what you lack to what you have. This simple act can rewire your brain to focus on positives, thus reducing anxiety and building resilience against stress.

How this happens in practice, well, it depends what you're into right now. I was never a fan of journalling, so writing a daily list felt like a drag. Instead, I would start the day with a little reminder that something amazing was going to happen that day. I didn't know what, but amazing it would Hbe. Then, I would make it my business as I went through my day to mentally or verbally comment on the good or the beauty in every situation. Now, I must admit I do like a little scribble at the end of the day...

2 Meditation to help relieve menopause stress

Often, stress stems from feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts and worries. Enter meditation – a practice that teaches you to be in the moment. Even just 5 minutes daily can help calm your mind and create a buffer against life's daily stresses. And don't worry if you're new to this; there are numerous guided meditation apps and websites to help you get started.

Before you discount this on the grounds of 'don't you know how busy I am?' everyone has ten minutes. Just saying. The point is not to get good at it, the gold is in the daily practice.

I am a big fan of the Calm app, and no one is giving me a kettle or toaster for telling you. I love the teeny bit of the day I carve out for the Daily Calm, a beautiful stress buster with a changing theme.

3 Sing to de-stress yourself

Whether you're a budding West End star or someone who saves their tunes for the shower, singing is a fantastic stress buster in perimenopause/menopause. The magic is in the act of singing, which releases endorphins, your body's natural feel-good chemicals. Plus, focusing on lyrics and melody can provide a mental break from your worries. Consider joining a pop or rock choir locally if you fancy making new friends and making it a thing. Many community choirs don't ask joiners to audition, so let's take that worry off the table.

two women having a cup of coffee and smiling at each other

4 Laugh your way lighter

Fancy a fun way to relive midlife stress? This. It's not just a saying; laughter truly is the best medicine. Watching a funny video, sharing a joke, or even just smiling more can trigger a release of endorphins. Need more reasons? Laughter relaxes the whole body, relieving tension and stress for up to 45 minutes afterward.

5 Nature Walks suck up stress

Stepping out into nature, even if it's just a stroll in a local park, can be incredibly grounding. Fresh air, the sound of birds, and the feel of the sun on your skin all contribute to a lowered stress response. Mother Nature truly is a wonderful healer. All you have to do is just be and wait for stress to melt away.

Looking to up-level stress relief in menopause? Go barefoot - just like actor Richard Gere in the movie Pretty Woman.

6 Deep Breathing

This might sound simple, but how often do you take intentional deep breaths during our day? I'm betting not that often. By pausing and inhaling deeply, holding for a moment, and then exhaling slowly, you can activate your body's relaxation response. It's a quick and effective way to keep stress at bay.

If you find yourself in a stressful situation, you can also turn to deep breathing to keep you keep your cool. It's frightening effective.

mother and daughter hugging

7 Get Hugs & Cuddles

This is one of the all-time loveliest ways to relieve stress in menopause. The stress hormone cortisol is a powerful hormone in the body but luckily it is trumped by another hormone - oxytocin. Get more of this and you can begin to nix the effects of cortisol. Oxytocin, often dubbed the "love hormone”, is released through touch, like hugging or even holding hands. This hormone plays a pivotal role in mother-to-baby bonding but also has the fantastic ability to reduce stress and even lower blood pressure. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed, consider reaching out – quite literally – to a loved one for a comforting embrace. If you have pets, it’s good to know that petting them also releases this feel-good hormone.

So, instead of feeling the drag of yet another thing to add to your already-full schedule, consider that any one or a combination of these ideas are gorgeous ways to pass time as well as fulfilling an important function. As a side note, no one expects you to do all of these.

Remember, it's the small, consistent changes that often make the most significant impact.


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