The menopause transition can be a challenging time for many people, both physically and emotionally. As hormone levels fluctuate, common symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood changes can take a real toll.
On top of managing symptoms, at midlife we are often juggling myriad responsibilities - careers, raising teenagers, caring for ageing parents, and managing households. With so much on our plates already, asking for and accepting help does not always come easy.
However, surrounding yourself with support is critical during this transitional life stage. Let's discuss the important role of support during menopause.
During perimenopause and menopause, we may feel become vulnerable to stress and mood changes due to shifting estrogen and progesterone levels.
Numerous studies have linked the menopause transition to increased risks for anxiety, depression, and emotional reactivity. Recognising this vulnerability is the first step. Understanding that you may be more sensitive at this time can help you identify when to reach out for support sooner rather than later.
Building a Support Team
Whether it’s a partner, friends, family, community groups, professionals or a menopause coach: having reliable support makes a big difference in navigating menopausal challenges.
Well-meaning family may try to help but they usually don’t fully understand what we are going through physically and emotionally during this transition. Connecting with those who have gone through or are going through menopause themselves can provide valuable camaraderie and wisdom.
Being Open and Specific
Clearly communicating your needs and struggles during this transition allows others to better understand how to support you.
Rather than making vague statements about 'being stressed', share specifics of what you are experiencing so supporters know what would help most. For example, “My hot flashes and night sweats are really disrupting my sleep. Could you take over the morning routine with kids for the next week so I can get some extra rest?”
Asking a partner or friend to fill in by running an errand, cooking a meal, exercising with you or lending an empathetic ear shows that you are open to receiving help.
While connecting to your support network can ease the burden considerably, respecting both your own, and others’ time and boundaries is also essential. Not over-extending ourselves, friends and family or making unrealistic demands prevents fatigue for everyone.
Checking in regularly with your own needs and your support network’s availability allows everyone to adjust and stay balanced.
Seeking professional support when issues like anxiety, depression or overwhelming stress persist is vital as well. Therapists provide objective expertise and empower you with healthy coping strategies.
The role of support during menopause
The menopause marathon differs for every woman but with an understanding, compassionate support crew cheering you on, the challenges don’t have to feel so daunting.
Reaching out your hand for a helpful lift over the next hill when you need it most could make all the difference on your menopausal journey.