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10 easy ways to practice self love during your menopause

Self love comes easy for some but it can be a longer journey for others. During menopause there are lots of triggers for loss of self-esteem; some are physical such as body image and others are mental like anxiety.

The good news is there are some simple ways that you can help to nurture positive emotional and physical wellbeing during this life transition.

Here are 10 top tips to achieving self love:

1. Recognising and accepting your emotional state

During menopause our emotions can be up one minute and down the next. This is because our hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate and are in decline. It is common to experience mood changes such as sadness, stress, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and irritability. These all put a strain on our emotional state.

Becoming aware of and tracking your emotions can be really helpful to work out any patterns of changes and finding out what the triggers are.

Journaling or keeping a cycle tracker can be a great way to monitor your emotions on a daily or weekly basis.

2. Take time for yourself

What does self care mean to you? Maybe it is having a soak in the bath with a face mask, time with friends, or time alone doing what you love such as hobby time. Whatever it is that allows you to feel better about yourself and recharge, make sure you schedule time each week to do just that. Remember self care is not selfish.

Menopause is a transition all women go through and whilst we adapt to these changes it is important to take care of our mind, body and soul. Spend a few minutes at the start of each week to look at your diary and block out time that is just for you. You'll thank yourself for doing this.

3. Get enough sleep

Some common symptoms of menopause that contribute to sleepless nights are:

  • Insomnia

  • Restless legs

  • Hot flushes

Declining hormone levels affect the amount and quality of sleep you get per night when you are in the perimenopause. What can you do to help?

  • Have a regular sleep pattern - go to bed and wake up at the same time every day

  • Take magnesium supplements to help with restless legs -this is usually caused by a magnesium deficiency

  • Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and toxins like nicotine

  • Wear light, loose clothing to bed

4. Get regular exercise

Exercise can help you mentally as well as benefit your physical health. It releases endorphins, the ‘happy hormones’ that will ease stress and boost confidence. If you are really stressed, adding one more thing such as going to the gym to your to-do list might seem overwhelming, however exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym for hours.

During your menopause the best exercise you can do is a combination of some for your mind, such as yoga and some for your bone strength such as weight training.

During menopause up to 20 percent of bone loss happens due to the decline in estrogen as it plays an important role in maintaining bone structure. Having low estrogen levels can lead to porous, weakened bones and osteoporosis. Strength training is great for helping increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

5. Eat nutritious food

You maybe tempted to take supplements to help with your menopause symptoms but what could you do to help with what you eat?

Lifestyle and dietary changes during menopause can have long-term health benefits.

  • Eat lots of different coloured fruit and vegetables.

  • Choose wholegrains (quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, brown bread)

  • Eat a handful of nuts a day and add seeds to your food.

  • Aim to increase your omega 3.

  • Chose lean or plant-based protein at every meal

  • Enjoy healthy unsaturated fats such as avocados, rapeseed, nuts and extra virgin olive oils.

  • Avoid convenience products that have high amounts of sugar and salt, and sugary fizzy drinks.

  • Avoid sweeteners.

  • Support your microbiome to flourish by eating fermented foods, kefir, and fibre. 70% of our immune system is in our gut so looking after our microbiome is crucial to overall wellbeing.

  • Try to reduce alcohol and caffeine

6. Engage in positive self talk

Self talk is the inner dialogue we have in our brains. We do it unconsciously and it is often indicative of our subconscious thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it can be negative, leading to feelings of self-doubt, self-judgement and lowering our self esteem.

Positive affirmations are a great way to change the way you talk to yourself. Reminding yourself to notice and find gratitude in the small wins or good in your life can put you in a more positive frame of mind that will organically encourage positive self-talk. To start you will have to become aware when you use negative talk and then you can find out what triggered you to speak to yourself in that way. Once you have the awareness you are then able to change reframe the inner chatter and use the positive alternatives and move forward in a forgiving way.

Eg. I am no good at this - to - I didn't manage to do it this time, but I will try again

Bad things always happen to me - to - The thing that just happened was out of my control and not my fault

7. Challenge any negative narratives you tell yourself about yourself

Similar to the above point but this is around awareness to any limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. We gather many beliefs about ourselves from early childhood and from any life experiences we have, both negative and positive. These beliefs are not always factual and are merely labels others have given to us and we have adopted to believe they are true.

Eg. You may have forgotten names of people due to brain fog so now you tell others you're forgetful and not good with remembering details but your hormones are causing this and now you have this negative belief about yourself. This can lead to lowered self confidence and stop you from being in certain situations to avoid it happening again.

Think about the times you do remember in your everyday life. I bet it happens more than you believe it does. Build awareness around this and reframe your beliefs and get out of the self fulfilling prophecy.

8. Forgive yourself

When our hormones are declining in menopause it can lead to mood changes and we can find it harder to control our emotions. We can become irritable with ourselves, and others. Treating yourself with kindness and empathy will allow you to forgive yourself for whatever may happen in life. Holding onto a grudge against yourself can be as damaging as holding onto a grudge against someone else.

When we suppress emotions and block them out it puts stress on the mind and our bodies. Without processing them, our emotions get 'trapped' within us and we are unable to move on from the experience. Letting go of the negative feelings you have about yourself with forgiveness will free up your energy and emotional capacity so that you can improve your emotional intelligence and build compassion for yourself and others.

9. Commit to the journey

The journey of self love isn't always something that just happens overnight and can take a long time to get to grips with. All the bad habits of unkindness and negative self talk we have picked up over the years have to be unlearned. It takes commitment.

Small steps are the best way to build a healthy habit and create long term positive changes. Practice daily ways you can bring self love into your life.

10. Learn and find creative new ways to care for yourself

Do what you need to recharge and replenish yourself. This could be practising mindfulness, partaking in hobbies, going for a massage, spending time with those you love and that light you up or getting out in nature. Journaling has been great to help me see what my triggers are and how I can reframe my thinking to make positive changes to my self esteem.

If you've never tried to journal it can seem difficult to know how to get started. I encourage you to try journaling, for as little as 15 minutes a day, and see the benefits it can bring you. All you need to get started is paper and a pen, it doesn’t have to be a fancy notebook. As your journal is private and for your eyes only, there’s no right or wrong, anyone judging you and you don’t have to be a great writer or bother about spelling or grammar.

If you would like to find out more about how journaling can help during your menopause please take a look on my website and download some easy to use journal prompts

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