As much as we love Christmas, the festive season can be a stressful time of year. Dealing with the extra pressures of shopping, family, meal planning and entertaining can be hugely demanding for women who often feel as though all the responsibility is falling on their shoulders. Throw dealing with menopausal symptoms into the mix and things can get intense. There are small things we can do to make life a little easier on ourselves over the festive season though. Here’s our guide to surviving this Christmas with the menopause.
1. Learn to Say No
Christmas is BUSY - with diary commitments, nights out ferrying teenagers and all the shopping that needs to be done it’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed. If you aren’t feeling like yourself getting through a hectic social calendar can feel like a real slog. Whether it’s an invitation to yet another party or the possibility of extra guests for Christmas, realise that it’s ok to say no to things. One of the biggest challenges menopausal women face is opening up about what is happening to them. There is no shame in discussing the menopause so if you can explain why then all the better - the more we talk about it the easier it starts to become. But if you don’t feel like explaining a polite refusal is fine – the world won’t come to an end if you say no to something, so put yourself first.
2. Do Something Just for You
Try and find a bit of time for yourself every day over the Christmas period. If you are constantly busy your stress hormones will go into overdrive and that can make your symptoms worse. It doesn’t have to be anything huge but a bit of self-care and time for yourself can help you relax and recharge a little. Watch a film, read a book go for a walk, have a long bath, take a nap – whatever you enjoy but make sure you make it a priority.
3. Go Easy on The Booze (and the caffeine!)
Yes, we know - easier said than done at this time of year! The truth is alcohol and menopause really aren’t a good mix. Not only do menopausal women struggle to process alcohol but drinking has been shown to aggravate menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, anxiety and sleep problems. It can be tempting to have just another glass of wine while wrapping the presents or to reach for another coffee to get you through another busy day, but it might make you feel a whole lot worse.
There are a huge range of non-alcoholic options available now and if you do fancy a tipple try and keep it just at that. If you are drinking remember to stay well hydrated to help ease your symptoms.
4. Focus on what you should be eating not what you shouldn’t
We all know that losing and maintaining weight in menopause can be a real challenge. Christmas is full of food temptation - mince pies, Christmas pudding, chocolates, pigs in blankets all delicious but not great for our waistlines or our mood! Excess sugar can also aggravate menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Try and focus on what you should be eating - turkey is an excellent source of protein and fill your plate with lots of veggies. We aren’t suggesting you avoid all festive treats - enjoy the odd one but try not to over-indulge
5. Forget About Perfection
There is a lot of pressure surrounding Christmas – for everything to be perfect and for everyone else to have the most wonderful time of the year. Try and give yourself a bit of a break this year. If brain fog gets the better of you and your Christmas pud ends up in the washing machine or you just cannot remember where you hid that present, try and see the funny side. Use your mental state to your advantage. It might sound crazy but that “meh” feeling so many of us get in perimenopause can actually help us. If we just feel we cannot be bothered to care about things we normally would that is ok. Give yourself a break - things are never perfect so lower the bar on your expectations of yourself and that “perfect Christmas” because it doesn’t exist! Just remember to take care of yourself this year.