Use these seven helpful lifestyle and diet changes, like getting more sleep and incorporating an exercise routine, to manage menopause.
Senior Director, Healthy Aging Innovations, National Council on Aging
Say the word “menopause” and many people think of symptoms like hot flashes and foggy memory. But menopause need not be a negative time in a woman’s life and can even mark the start of a new and fulfilling chapter.
We just recognized World Menopause Month in October, so now is a great time to focus on your midlife health and wellness. The National Council on Aging offers seven tips women can use to manage menopause symptoms and feel better now and later in life.
1. Manage stress through relaxation techniques
Whether this means a yoga class, a daily five-minute session of deep breathing, or mindful meditation, relaxation can help with host of menopause symptoms and is a great way to ease stress. “Finding time in the day for relaxation is an often-overlooked way to manage menopause that almost
everyone can benefit from,” says Maryon Stewart, author of “Manage Your Menopause Naturally.”
2. Exercise regularly
The health benefits of exercise are well-established, but it can be hard to find a routine that works for you. Find ways to weave movement into your day, like taking the stairs and parking at the far side of a store’s parking lot. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of movement. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
3. Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
Both caffeine (in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate) and alcohol can worsen menopause symptoms and can come with extra calories that contribute to weight gain. Alcohol use is linked to increased risk for many health conditions. Cutting back is an investment in your present and future health.
4. Quit smoking
This is good for your health at any stage of life and will up your chances of having less severe menopause symptoms. Find tips on quitting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
5. Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet
Balancing your meals and including foods from all five food groups will give you more energy and endurance, help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce problems with digestion, enhance your self-esteem, and promote good health overall.
6. Practice good sleep hygiene
This means going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. Avoid screens (phones, tablets, computers, and TVs) in the 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. The CDC has a list of 5 tips for better sleep, and ASM Sleep Education offers these quick sleep tips.
7. Maintain a healthy weight
For severe menopause symptoms, medication and dietary supplements may be recommended. If you’re struggling with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety, weight gain, vaginal dryness, or fatigue, make it a priority to have an honest conversation with your healthcare professional. Together, you can review your symptoms, discuss your family and medical history, and weigh your options for safe and effective treatment.
Having trouble finding a healthcare provider to talk to about menopause? Locate a menopause clinician in your area using the North American Menopause Society directory.