If you are in crisis right now and need help urgently, call 999 or go to A&E. There are also the below services for support. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines
Menopause and mental health: wellbeing at Christmas
Advice and tips to safeguard your wellbeing during what can be a challenging time of year
The festive season is traditionally a time for celebrations and family get-togethers.
Yet it’s actually very common to feel overwhelmed at this time of year.
A YouGov survey found two in five Britons have felt stressed during the festive season, while one in four have struggled with anxiety or depression .
You might be struggling with a never-ending list of tasks, or worried about the rising cost of living.
Perhaps you are estranged from family or are experiencing feelings of loneliness.
And on top of that, you may be affected by perimenopause and menopause symptoms, such as low mood, anxiety or fatigue. If you are, you aren’t alone – a 2023 survey of almost 6,000 women by Newson Health found 96% of women reported a negative change in their mood or emotions since onset of perimenopause.
Here, we look at ways to safeguard your mental health during the holiday season.
Talk about your feelings
Open up to a trusted friend or family member and let the ‘I’m fine’ mask slip a little now and then. A conversation that digs a bit deeper can help you put things into perspective and feel brighter about the future.
Keep to a routine
It can be difficult to keep track of days with multiple Bank Holidays over the Christmas and New Year period. Planning your day can help you feel grounded. Stick to set times to eat, sleep, and exercise and they can be like anchors you keep coming back to throughout your day.
Make time for things you enjoy
Find time for 30 minutes a day if you can, for something creative, relaxing, or being outdoors.
Try and exercise regularly, even if that is just going for a walk, or a short workout at home. Exercise can boost endorphins – hormones that relieve pain and reduce stress.
This article looks at the benefits of walking during the menopause, a great way to catch up with loved ones, or getting some-much needed space, while still building activity into your day.
Try breathing and relaxation exercises
Exercises that focus on controlled breathing or relaxing your muscles can really help you feel calmer.
Research suggests mindfulness can help with symptoms such as stress, anxiety and other mental-health conditions, which you may experience during the menopause.
When it comes to specific research on menopausal symptoms, studies have shown that mindfulness has a positive impact on irritability, depression and anxiety in menopausal women .
Another study suggests it can help manage the impact of hot flushes and night sweats .
You can find some simple exercises in the mental health symptoms section of the balance app, such as alternate nostril breathing or the mindfulness body scan exercise.
Find an exercise that you can turn when things feel overwhelming, integrate into your routine so you can call on it when you need it.
Sources of support
Be honest with yourself and talk to others about how you’re feeling. You’re not going through this alone and remember, help is available.
Mental Health charity Mind has a compiled a list of organisations that support people’s mental health over the Christmas period.
The Samaritans: 116 123 (freephone) or email email@example.com
For general support during the perimenopause and menopause, including symptoms and treatments, try the balance app where you can access a library of expert articles and track your symptoms.
- YouGov (2019), ‘How does Christmas impact people’s mental health?’
- Sood, R., Kuhle, C.L., Kapoor, E., Thielen, J.M., Frohmader, K.S., Mara, K.C., Faubion, S.S. (2019), ‘Association of mindfulness and stress with menopausal symptoms in midlife women’, Climacteric, 22 (4), pp. 377–82. doi:10.1080/13697137.2018.1551344
- Carmody, J. F., Crawford, S., Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Leung, K., Churchill, L., Olendzki N. (2011), ‘Mindfulness training for coping with hot flashes: results of a randomized trial’, Menopause, 18 (6), pp. 611–20. doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e318204a05c