Menopause depression is quite common, moreso than you may think.
Even if you are feeling isolated, and abnormal, it’s helpful to understand that your symptoms are very normal and they can be treated.
Seeing a doctor to talk about the alternatives is the first step. But there are other things you can do to help ease how you feel.
Exercise really helps all kinds of depression, including menopause depression. It releases ‘feel good’ hormones, the endorphins. And there are subtle benefits as well.
There is a sense of accomplishment which supports our self esteem, a sense of doing something for ourselves.
This way of setting time aside to support the body is a way of nurturing ourselves through the changes that are taking place within us.
Cardiovascular exercise is excellent, as is yoga. Find something you enjoy.
Perhaps swimming, pilates, walking, or cycling. Try to exercise for 30 minutes per session, three times a week. Even exercising for ten minutes per day has been found to be beneficial. You certainly don’t have to buy an expensive gym membership to exercise.
This may not seem so important, or necessary, as women tend to think nothing of taking care of others, but twice before getting support for themselves. But it can really help in dealing with menopause depression.
You may still be caring for children, or elderly relatives, as well as holding down a job.
Find a way to have your needs accommodated by those around you, perhaps help with the housekeeping and preparing meals. And seek out support groups in your home town, or even online.
You shouldn’t feel as though you have to do everything. Or be everything to everybody.
3. Managing Stress
Stress can make menopause depression worse.
There are so many things going on at mid-life – the children leaving home, problems at work, losing loved ones, or changes in your marriage. These stressors can make depression worse.
Try looking at what is triggering the stress.
Is it your own expectations of yourself? Are you trying to be perfect by doing too much?
Write down what your priorities are, and what your deepest yearnings are.
Put aside those things that you are not completely necessary. But do make the time to create avenues where you can start expressing or fulfilling your deepest desires.
And try meditating. It’s a great way to achieve clarity and come to know what, on a deeper level, is really important to you.
Too little sleep can make menopause depression worse. Try and have a regular sleep cycle – where you go to bed, and wake up, at the same time.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, try taking a relaxing bath beforehand. Ease up on the coffee at night. And meditate in the evening.
Of course, if you are dealing with night sweats or hot flashes we highly recommened looking into cooling mattresses, like the ChiliPad.
Aim to eat a well balanced, sensible diet and eat at scheduled meal times. You should decrease all refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate. By using calcium and b vitamins, the symptoms may decrease.
Also, fish oil supplements have been found to help with depression.
Other herbal alternatives are St Johns Wort and the supplement, 5HTP. If your depression is moderate to severe, however, you should see a doctor. If you are taking medication for menopause depression, it is not advisable to take 5 HTP with it, or St Johns Wort. You can, however, take fish oil supplements.
6. Spend Time With Others
Spending time with others is important. When people suffer from depression, they often withdraw from others because they feel they aren’t good company.
But connecting with others can help gain a perspective on the symptoms of depression. Medication will help with this.
If you live by yourself, joining a support group with others experiencing menopause depression will assuage the feelings of being all alone. And try joining a class that you have a special interest in, such as gardening or crafts or cooking.
Don’t avoid enjoyable activities, as the ability to enjoy yourself is important in getting over depression.
Do things even if you don’t feel like it. Soon, you’ll find that you do actually start enjoying life again, bit by bit.
And learn to be realistic in the types of expectations you have about yourself.
Soon, you will start feeling like yourself again, and be more able to handle everyday pressures.