Menopausal women struggling with Christmas stress
Symptoms of the menopause are sucking the joy out of the festive season
Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, joy and goodwill but, according to a new survey by Newson Health, more than half of menopausal women (53%) are struggling to cope with preparing for Christmas Day.
The survey of 3,672 menopausal women found that for 78% of them the run-up to Christmas, rather than the day itself, is the most anxiety-inducing period.
As Dr Louise Newson, GP and menopause specialist, says: ‘December is often the busiest time of the year, juggling work, social engagements and preparing for the festive season. It can be easily overwhelming especially if you are experiencing menopause symptoms at the same time.’
The women surveyed attributed additional stress to low mood (45%), forgetfulness and brain fog (28%), and poor sleep (23%). Despite hot flushes being one of the most well-known and highlighted menopause symptoms, only 4% of women said that they are a significant contributor to their stress levels.
So, it’s no surprise that even for those who usually love the festive period, menopause has changed their feelings about it: 64% expressed a negative shift towards Christmas due to menopause symptoms.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to access the right support – 18% said they drink more alcohol to help them copy while only 10% said that they seek help and support from family or friends.
If this is sounding familiar, take heart from knowing you are not alone. Dr Louise says: ‘You may feel detached and isolated even among your friends and family, so it’s so important to take time out and take care of yourself. Prioritising your mental and physical health is so important, be it getting out for a short walk, eating well or taking HRT.’
The majority of perimenopausal and menopausal women experience low mood and anxiety related to their changing hormone levels and many women find taking the right dose and type of HRT, often with testosterone, improves their symptoms. If you’re already taking HRT, make sure you have enough supply for the Christmas season.
The balance app has lots of free resources to help you understand and manage your symptoms.
In the meantime, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to family members and get everyone involved. When planning for Christmas Day, aim for ‘good enough’ over perfection – this will not only help you, but it will create a more relaxing atmosphere for those around you.
If you’re struggling, help is available. You can reach out for support by contacting:
Samaritans: call 116 123 or email email@example.com
SHOUT: text on 85258
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK: call 0800 689 5652
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): call 0800 58 58 58