This second article on the subject will focus on advice for managing stress and menopause. Stress and stress relieving behaviours can exacerbate symptoms of menopause. Firstly, I will talk about managing stress. Secondly, I will help you find alternative approaches to unhealthy stress relievers. Thirdly, I will give you some useful tools to help you nurture your mental, physical and emotional health. Finally, I will touch on additional advice.


Stressors are the things that make us feel stressed. Once you have identified the sources of your stress, I suggest you write them down. Then you can start to approach them in a practical way. A very useful tool for this is the Serenity Prayer: ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference’. The acronym, CIA, says the same thing: Control, Influence, Accept. Identify the stressors that you are in a position to change or influence and focus your energy on these. It may involve asking for help, changing the way you do things, ring-fencing time to spend with the special people in your life.  Identify them, reflect on what you can do and put the plan into action!


Knowing that so many of these can worsen menopausal symptoms, it is very important to find alternative ways to handle stress. The advice I’d like to give you is this: let the unhealthy coping behaviours be a TREAT, not a TREATMENT for underlying issues that need attention. When you reach for more chocolate or a glass of wine, ask yourself WHY? What am I trying to fix? Perhaps you’re feeling tense or anxious, lonely, tired, bored, angry……. When you know what it is, try to find a healthier way to deal with the problem. Read about healthy ways to manage anxiety; acknowledge your anger and why you feel that way and read about ways to deal with it; seek advice on how to get to sleep more easily; consider ways to meet new people if you’re lonely, or actively arrange things to do with friends.

If it’s hard to address the why, identify your ‘simple joys.’ These are things that you can do in a few minutes that will uplift you and make you feel better but without causing you harm. Examples include listening to music, reading a magazine article, watering your plants, watching birds on the bird-feeder, playing a game on your phone, doing a bit of tidying….It’s a personal thing so please reflect upon your ‘simple joys’ and reach for them instead of unhealthy things.


There are many tools available but I will just focus on a few.

Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, mindful living and an ‘attitude of gratitude’ will help you greatly. Mindful living refers to making a real effort to focus on the present moment by feasting your senses. Make a conscious effort, as you go about your day, to notice what your eyes are seeing, your ears are hearing, what you are feeling/touching, smelling and tasting. It will help reduce overthinking and ruminating. Having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is all about noticing the positives and talking about them, however small they may be.

Physical Health

Regarding physical health, think breathing and movement. Read about breathing techniques that slow your breathing down as these will help you feel more relaxed. Examples include 6-8 breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. Movement is about getting up regularly and moving your limbs and joints. If you can include structured exercise into you day or several times a week, you will almost certainly feel the benefits.

Emotional Health

For your emotional health, I recommend nature and doing things you enjoy. Try to incorporate the natural world into your day in any way you can. Look out of the window, stand outside, watch birds on a bird-feeder, go for a walk, notice what is going on in nature. Regarding things you enjoy, we’ve touched on ‘simple joys’. Reflect on bigger things you enjoy and try hard to incorporate them into your week. Perhaps engaging in a hobby, meeting with friends, quality time with family, a walk on your own, doing the garden. Anything which makes you feel good.


If you are struggling, the acronym STAN may help you. S: spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. T: talk to someone. A: ask for help. N: no: boundaries are important and sometimes you need to say you can’t do something being asked of you. When you are really finding life hard, it becomes even more important to prioritise your own wellbeing.



I can’t write an article like this without mentioning HRT, but I will only touch on it briefly. Yes, HRT can be life-changing for many women struggling with the menopause. It can certainly be very beneficial for certain menopause related symptoms, especially flushes and sweats. For other women, there are benefits but less dramatic. Some women struggle to tolerate HRT or are unable to take it for medical reasons. It is worth discussing HRT with your GP if you are wondering about trying it. Remember, though, that menopause and stress are interlinked, so even if you are taking HRT it is important to implement some of the advice I have given too.

Alternatives to HRT

There are a variety of alternatives to HRT which can be beneficial in relieving menopause symptoms:-

Some nutritionists specialise in helping women going through the menopausal transition. Sometimes a combination of dietary changes with, or without, supplements, can alleviate many of the challenging symptoms.

For anxiety and/or low mood associated with the menopause, CBT has been shown to be of benefit.

Physical exercise helps many women reduce the impact of menopausal symptoms on their life. Some personal trainers can provide specific help for women at this time. Cold water swimming seems to confer particular benefit to many.

For women not wanting to go on HRT or who unable to use it, there are over the counter options such as Black Kohosh and Red Clover. However, sometimes these can interact with other medication or be contra-indicated so they should be used with caution and advice sought. There are a variety of of non-HRT drugs that you can discuss with your GP. You can find more information on these here.

Please get in touch if you are struggling with stress and menopause and might benefit from talking to someone. I maybe able to help.