The menopause has many symptoms but we can often just feel rubbish – and yes, that is a technical term! We can feel uncomfortable in our bodies; due to menopausal symptoms that are unpleasant, perhaps not the shape we want to be in or fitness levels we want, or just plain meh.
Lowering estrogen levels may affect your mood in your menopausal years. If you notice this is happening regularly please see your doctor.
1.Are you taking in any rubbish?
When I worked in IT we had a saying “garbage in, garbage out”, meaning that if I wanted someone to enter a date, I needed to check that a date was input and was in the right format otherwise the reports would spit out garbage. We can say the same about our lifestyle.
What are you reading?
The news these days is rarely uplifting, so taking a break for listening or reading the news can make a big difference to how you feel. Social Media can be the same, depending on your network of friends and what they share. Taking a Social Media and TV holiday for a week can improve how you feel and give you some extra free time as a bonus!
What are you eating?
Often when we feel rubbish we do not eat as well as we could do. Sometimes it is a treat –comfort eating is called that for a reason! Other times it’s the effort required to cook healthy foods. Ideally being organised with a supply of meals already frozen can work wonders. Keep takeaways as an occasional treat as they are usually calorific and contain more than our usual amounts of sugar, salt and fat. We rarely feel better long term when we comfort eat although there is often an immediate feel good factor. If you are not happy with your shape, then finding another way to shift your mood is key.
2. Are you more sedentary?
Nothing changes your mood like movement. Exercising when you do not feel like it can be a real effort, but most of us can easily go for a walk and get blood pumping. Having a ‘go to’ exercise class can do wonders for your motivation. Even though I am a Personal Trainer and Pilates Teacher I enjoy going to classes where someone else is doing all the mental work of designing the hour-long class, all I need to do is just show up. I always feel better afterwards and that is what I tap into and is my motivation, I know I will always feel better afterwards.
3. Are you listening to music?
Not only can music change our mood in a number of seconds, technological advances mean it is readily available to us. It is easy to create our own playlists on our phones or on services such as Spotify which gives us a phenomenal back catalogue at our finger tips . Take 5 minutes and create a playlist which will lift your mood. Usually the cheesier the music the better, what songs never fails to get your feet tapping, a little chair dancing or start you singing?
4. Where can you escape to?
Movies and books have always been escapism for me. I prefer big blockbusters and movies with a big heart. Similar to music we often have favourites we can dive back into and help change our moods quickly. Again, technology has made this easy and we have this at a touch of a button.
5. Can you lose yourself?
When was the last time you were so engrossed in something you lost all track of time. I hear it often when I am teaching a Pilates class, that it was the quickest hour of the day. What hobbies do you have or used to have that have this effect on you? Colouring in for adults is one of the newest self care hobbies, which have been phenomenally popular due to the ease of buying books and colouring in pencils and being able to dip in and out in a manner which fits into your lifestyle. Nothing changes your mood like changing your focus particularly creating something, some art or a meal perhaps.
6. What’s happened to your self-care routine?
When we are feeling meh our self care often falls down our priority list aka “cannae be bothered”. However, this is the time to make it a priority and ensure that it happens without fail. We will always feel better when we have taken care of ourselves; eaten nurturing foods, kept activity levels up even if exercise has gone down. Raising your vibration and therefore your spirit. What is your daily routine and how can you make time for it?
Bonus – find something to be grateful for
Even though you may be going through a rough time, there is always something to be grateful for. It is one of the simplest things to help shift your mood. I often find the simpler the better because that’s what we often are grateful for: the unexpected smile and kindness where you didn’t expect it, you remembered to put the hot blanked on/take the dinner out the freezer/book Yoga class/buy milk everyday things that make life a wee bit easier. What are you grateful for?
Unfortunately, no one can do it for you, moving your mood is something that you chose to do for yourself. It often happens when we are so fed up of being fed up! Take 5 mins and create a mini care package to look after yourself to make it a bit easier to shift your mood the next time you are feeling meh.
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.