There’s no right or wrong way to feel about menopause. For some, menopause brings grief—just like so many other big life changes. The grief may come from feeling like you’ve reached the end of a chapter of your life, or it could be because physical changes are overwhelming and uncomfortable. Or grief may come with other transitions that happen around the time of menopause, from children leaving home to parents needing more care.
For women who enter menopause after a hysterectomy or other medical treatment, grief can come over the sudden loss of fertility, along with new health worries.
What can I do to ease my grief?
If you’re feeling grief with menopause, please know that it’s normal and you’re not alone. Grieving is a natural response to big life transitions, and it’s a process. The only way out is through.
But you may be about to channel your grief into healthy changes and meaningful personal discoveries. Here are some strategies that may help:
- Try meditation or mindfulness (there are lots of apps that can get you started). These practices help people cultivate self-compassion during a difficult time.
- Consider putting your emotional energy into a satisfying creative endeavor. You might like to write, paint, design a garden, learn to play an instrument, or take a course in something that fascinates you.
- Boost your exercise plan. The hormones your body releases during exercise can help boost your mood. And exercise can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your body.
- Set aside a bit more time for self-care habits that matter to you, whether it’s eating better or something else that makes you feel good. You can learn more about health habits for staying well through menopause here.
- Read up on perimenopause and menopause (Ovia is a great resource for this!). Knowing what to expect can help take the stress and fear out of the changes.
When to get help
The physical changes during menopause can contribute to feelings of grief. So if hot flashes are frustrating you or keeping you from sleeping, if vaginal changes are uncomfortable, or if you’re noticing new mood swings as your hormone levels change, talk to your doctor. There are lots of lifestyle changes and medications that can help.
Some experience clinical depression around the time of menopause, especially if they’ve been through depression in the past. Symptoms of depression include feeling tired or low on energy, losing interest in your usual activities, feeling sad or irritable, having a hard time sleeping, and losing interest in sex. If you’ve had any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it may be a sign of clinical depression. If you think you may be experiencing depression, talk with your doctor about treatments.
How are you feeling about menopause? Do you have questions about what’s normal, and when to talk to your doctor? If so, make a plan to chat with an Ovia coach. We’re experts on menopause and we’re always here to help.