3 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy Menopause
Now that the year is coming to a close, think back to January. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions? There’s a good chance that they went out the window by Valentine’s Day. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by the second week of February.
But that’s not necessarily your fault. See, while most people have good intentions, they choose resolutions that are unrealistic for their lifestyle. Losing a precise amount of weight is tricky, boosting your savings is tough if you have a financial emergency, and learning a new language is, well, who has the time for that?
When it’s comes to your menopausal health, it’s important to make incremental changes that will stick. Whether you’re in perimenopause or you’re already in the throes of full-fledged hot flashes, here are 3 realistic new year’s resolutions that will help improve your menopausal health.
1. Commit to a healthy diet
A healthy diet during menopause can help ward off mood swings, lessen the severity of hot flashes, help you get a good night’s sleep, and avoid weight gain. Here are a few do’s and don’t for embracing a healthy diet during menopause.
- Opt for lean proteins like chicken, fish, beans, tofu, egg whites, and Greek yogurt to help keep you fuller longer and avoid weight gain during menopause.
- Try eating small meals every 3-4 hours to stay full and keep your energy and mood levels up.
- Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to improve bone health.
- Choose healthy fats like avocados, almonds, tuna, olive oil, and salmon.
- Choose foods high in fiber – like flax seeds, for example – can help improve insulin sensitivity.
- Remember that fruits and veggies are your new best friends, and they can also help prevent bone loss.
- Stay hydrated – always!
- Imbibe too much – alcohol has a sneaky way of triggering hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
- Add hot sauce – spicy foods are yet another hot flash trigger.
- Hit the sweets too hard, as added calories from soft drinks, juices, and flavored waters can easily add an average of 300 calories a day, making it extra hard to lose weight during menopause.
- Reach for that second cup of coffee, especially if you’re struggling with sleeplessness during menopause.
- Eat processed foods – they’re just plain bad for you.
In addition to these tips, consider using a food diary to track your meals and how you feel after eating certain foods. It may just help you uncover some unknown triggers of menopause symptoms.
2. Prioritize a good night’s sleep
Sleep issues are often one of the first signs of perimenopause, and can be one of the most persistent. Whether you’re stressed, have night sweats, or just can’t seem to sleep through the night, you are most definitely not alone. The good news is that you can take a few steps to getting a better night’s sleep in the new year.
First, commit to consistent bedtimes and wake-up times to help get yourself on a regular sleep schedule. Yes, even on the weekends and your days off. Consistency is key for a good night’s sleep every night.
Next, create a bedtime routine. This could mean a no screen time policy for an hour before you go to bed, reading a book, or anything else that helps you wind down and relax at the end of the day. If you regularly have trouble sleeping, a white noise playlist can work wonders.
Finally, pay close attention to your sleep environment. If you suffer from night sweats, keep your bedroom as cool as you can to help keep your body temperature down. If your night sweats are severe, consider keeping a bucket of ice near your bed if you need to cool down quickly.
3. Banish stress
Stress is a huge trigger of menopause symptoms like hot flashes, and chronic stress could quite literally kill you. But it’s not like you can quit your job and take a sabbatical in the Maldives. Finding ways to manage your day-to-day stress will ultimately benefit your long-term health.
In addition to calming your brain and helping you relax, breathing exercises can help lessen the severity of hot flashes. WebMD recommends deep abdominal breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, in the evening, and when you feel a hot flash coming on. Check out this list of breathing exercises to find one that works best for you.
Meditation is another way to promote your emotional well-being and give yourself a sense of calm. Like breathing exercises, you can meditate just about anywhere and you don’t need a whole lot of time to do it. From guided meditation to mantra meditation, there are many options. If you’re new to meditation and you’re not sure where to begin, try a guided meditation app.
Finally, yoga can be powerful for banishing stress – 85% of people who practice says it helps them relieve stress, among other things. Hatha yoga in particular is ideal for stress management and perfect for beginners, as it incorporates easier movements at a slower pace. There’s no need to buy a costly yoga membership either, with plenty of free online options that you can use in the comfort of your own home.
Commit to self-care in the new year
Self-care is way more than bubble baths and face masks; it also consists of making healthy choices for your lifestyle. The new year is the perfect time to recommit yourself to your health, but there’s no need to make resolutions that feel impossible. Use your new year’s resolutions to make small, consistent lifestyle changes and commit to a healthy menopause.