As you approach 40 and beyond (for some as young as 35), your progesterone and oestrogen hormones start to fluctuate before dropping completely in menopause. Oestrogen contributes to serotonin production, your happy hormone. As oestrogen fluctuates and and is out of balance with progesterone, you can start to have mood swings and depression symptoms. Your sleep, nutrient absorption and other factors are also affected differently during this period of your life. In this article we will explore some of these factors and give you strategies to help you improve your mood.
Participate in activities that help increase productions of serotonin:
· Socialize as much as you can with people you love. Social interaction increases production of serotonin.
· Spend at least 15 minutes a day in the sunshine. Direct sunlight increases serotonin.
· Laugh as much as you can.
Get plenty of sleep:
· Lack of sleep can reduce serotonin production but it can also leave you tired and grumpy. This applies to all ages, not just ladies with hormone changes.
· Have your iron level checked. During this period of hormone changes you can have heavier than normal bleeds. These increase the risk of iron deficiency, or anemia. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and mood swings. You may require iron supplements. If you do, ensure you couple that with vitamin C. You are not able to absorb iron as readily without vitamin C, so it is good to take them together, or find an iron supplement that also contains vitamin C or ascorbic acid.
· Have your vitamin D levels checked. Deficiency in vitamin D can effect serotonin production, cause fatigue, increase anxiety and depression symptoms and increase mood swings. If deficient, increase exposure to sunlight and supplement with vitamin D if required.
Manage your stress levels. Stress is a huge contributor to bad mood:
· Avoid overcommitting to things.
· Set boundaries to help you avoid stress inducing activities or exposure to people that increase your stress or anxiety.
· Exercise. It’s a great way to relieve stress.
· Avoid food that you are allergic or intolerant to as these increase stress in the body.
· Limit or eliminate the following:
· High sugar foods
· Energy drinks
· Spicy foods
· Avoid skipping meals as this increases stress in the brain.
· Avoid overeating.
· Drink adequate water as inadequate hydration increases stress effects on the body.
· Take up meditation.
· Breathing exercises.
· Write a gratitude list.
· Read a fiction story.
· Surround yourself with uplifting, positive people.
– Coach Terri