I still remember the Christmas when I went into peri-menopause. It’s usually a time of year I love, but back then, when everyone around me was looking forward to it, all I could think of, was ‘oh no, I really can’t be bothered’.
With no energy for shopping, no motivation for social events and feeling conscious about my belly-fat weight going up and up and Christmas drinks setting off endless hot flushes, all I wanted to do was to hide!
How differently I feel this Christmas. I love understanding how to manage my menopause hot flushes, moods and motivation with Christmas festivities just around the corner but if you’ve lost your Christmas cheer this year and you are as confused as I was, then don’t despair!
If you are going into or are in peri-menopause (the start of menopause), then your declining oestrogen and progesterone hormones exert an effect on your brain hormones. Many of these control your mood, energy and motivation, hence why you feel un-motivated and have no energy to do what you normally get done at this time of year.
Oestrogen exerts a powerful effect on it’s opposing hormone called Progesterone, which is one of your ‘happy hormones’, but here’s the kicker …. how you are feeling is also dependent on the connection that oestrogen and progesterone has on other hormones in your body too.
Your brain produces master hormones, which help to manage numerous metabolic functions in your body. These master hormones are also affected by your changing reproductive hormones as you transition menopause too.
Furthermore, certain nutrients help to make all of these hormones, so they are crucial to get into your diet at this time of your life and more importantly, this time of year when there is a lot going on in our lives still.
So, if your moods and motivation are all over the place as mine used to be as well, particularly at this crazy time of year, when everyone expects you to have lots of Christmas Cheer, then here’s what you need to understand:
- Low oestrogen causes your mood hormone, called serotonin, to decrease. This then has a spiral effect on your sleep hormone called melatonin. It’s also why, when you aren’t sleeping, it’s hard to stay motivated. But what’s worse, when your serotonin levels are low and you can’t sleep, then your brain craves more sugar. Knowing that you may experience more cravings means that you can prepare some lively healthy snacks to have on hand and some sparkling water as well, especially if you know that alcohol is going to send your hot flushes soaring.
- Eat foods that boost your mood. As well, just be aware that our gut health changes as we move through menopause because our gut lining becomes thinner with the loss of oestrogen. [That’s why as part of the MyMT™ programmes, I have a Gut Health Plan for women too]. If women have changing gut health or a fatty liver, then the absorption of an important mood-hormone called Tryptophan is important. I also mention this in my optional module in the programme for women taking anti-depressants as this can be over-looked when being prescribed these powerful drugs. Tryptophan is a protein an is one of the master-building-blocks to not only make serotonin, our mood hormone, but also our sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Don’t rush around! If you are continually busy (and who isn’t at this time of year?), then remember too, that your lovely adrenal glands, where your stress hormones are produced, tends to stay in over-drive as you rush around getting everything done. If you aren’t sleeping, then these stress hormones become even more out of balance. When this happens we produce more of our chronic stress hormone called Cortisol and the continual production of cortisol, makes our lovely calming progesterone decline too rapidly in contrast to oestrogen. The result? Increased feelings of anxiety and depression, increased bloating and your motivation drops down low too. When progesterone crashes, then it’s also not available to make your happy-hormones in your brain, because it’s needed to make your stress hormones.
If this is how you are feeling, then I would love you to consider coming onto the MyMT™ 12 week online programme. It’s now on my JANUARY SALE and if you click on this LINK HERE, then you can read about how either of the MyMT™ programmes can help you. You might also like to watch my short video below where I explain the programmes to you and how they work.
2019 has been a busy year for all of us I’m sure, so I hope that you can enjoy the festive season where-ever you are in the world. I have so many women who join me from around the globe and whilst we all live in far-flung places, we are all connected through menopause – I love that!
“Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Thank you for being part of the MyMT™ community. I love writing blogs for you and if you have time over the Christmas break, then there are many more on the My Menopause Transformation website. Sending you aroha/ love from Aotearoa/ New Zealand. ”
Dr Wendy Sweet, PhD/ MyMT™ Founder and Women’s Healthy Ageing Lifestyle Researcher.