It will be no surprise when I mention that for many women, December is the most stressful month. Duh!
Sure, I am stating the obvious, but is there another way?
Is it possible to have a memorable and special Christmas season without all the usual accompanying stress? Take this time to read further, and imagine a better way. If nothing else, the time spent with restful images in your mind can provide stress relief for these brief moments together.
Why does it matter?
It is especially important for you to consider the exercise of introducing more self care during this busy season. Excessive stress increases the adrenaline and cortisol response in the body. The effects include sleep disturbances, irritability, depressed mood, and decreased immunity. Considering the fact that perimenopause is a form of stress in itself, you really can't afford to add to your stress if you are experiencing the hormonal imbalance of menopause.
What to do?
To restore some adrenal balance, by decreasing the body’s stress response, try these steps:
Maintain a healthy diet.
When stressed, people will turn to comfort foods unconsciously. Add to that the rampant availability of sugar, and healthy intentions go out the window. Make a plan to eat healthy, as explained in this post and you can rise about the temptations.
Get extra sleep.
This is not the time to be skimping on your rest. When there is added stress in your life, sleep is more important for replenishing your body and keeping the adrenals happy. That may mean saying no to some of the invitations, and wrapping gifts while the family is out on a Saturday afternoon. Do what it takes to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night.
Reduce your caffeine intake.
Because caffeine ramps up the adrenals, you should back off the coffee during higher stress periods. Remember, you are doing this to feel better overall by balancing your hormones naturally. By following these tips, you will not need the coffee to feel awake in the morning. Your improved healthy body will be able to manage that on its own.
I recently cut the coffee habit myself. I understand the significance of coffee in your morning. In my effort to balance my own hormones, I did everything else before giving up my cup of the strongest brewed coffee every day. My husband continues to brew an aromatic pot every morning, and sometimes it pains me to see it go to waste down the drain, knowing how much I enjoy the flavor.
Two weeks after quitting, and I am enjoying my herbal or green teas. I have several to choose from, which helps me to develop a new and better habit. After a month or so I will have a cup of coffee occasionally as a treat, but after experiencing the withdrawl symptoms, I know I made a great step toward better health. My moods are more evened out, which was a great bonus!
Engage in some moderate exercise.
Being active is great medicine for relieving stress. The key here is to not hit it too hard. Excessive exercise is added stress on the body. You will know you went too far if you want to take a nap shortly after, or just feel zapped of strength. You should feel energized after a good workout. My favorite go to recommendations are taking a walk, and doing yoga. Both are perfect for body and mind.
Give yourself a gift.
Self care is a powerful stress reliever. You will be much more pleasant to be around, and will enjoy the time with others when you feel relaxed. Take a long bath, write in your journal, listen to beautiful music, or get a pedicure. Do something just for you at least twice a week. Do what you really want to do, and no guilt allowed. This gift to yourself will be appreciated by all your favorite people.
Worry, anger, fear and guilt all increase the stress response in your body. During the holidays, women often have to face people who have hurt them in the past. They may still be hurting you. As a menopausal woman, you are in a great position to let it go. That is one of the blessings at our age. We can see the bigger picture and realize “they” are the one with a problem. You keep being sweet, wonderful you. Forgive them for what they have done, or continue to do. Forgiveness isn't a pardon, it is release from your own negative feelings.
Enjoy the Christmas season! If you fall off the wagon, just start over the next day (or meal). No judgement on yourself. Don't stress.