Menopause and perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause) herald a shift in a woman’s life, signifying physical, mental and emotional changes that can be challenging to navigate. There are many ways to deal with these changes, but menopause relaxation techniques enhance the mind-body connection, decrease anxiety and expand your peace of mind.
In addition, relaxation techniques can help with the frequency and severity of mood swings and hot flashes for women in menopause.
Here are five menopause relaxation techniques to try to increase your quality of life:
- Breathing Exercises
The Mayo Clinic calls meditation a “a simple, fast way to reduce stress.” Meditation’s other benefits include decreasing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, promoting emotional health and improving sleep.
One of the biggest advantages of practicing meditation is that you can do it anywhere, at any time, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Here are five meditation techniques to try.
Progressive Relaxation Meditation
Progressive relaxation meditation, or body scan meditation, reduces tension in the body and increases relaxation. This technique consists of tensing and releasing one area of the body at a time, which is great for unwinding before sleep.
Mindfulness meditation teaches you to pay attention to your thoughts as they come and go. Simply observe your thoughts and note any patterns without becoming involved in them or judging them.
Loving-kindness meditation strengthens feelings of kindness, compassion, and acceptance of yourself and others. It usually consists of opening your mind to receiving love from others, then sending that love to family, friends, acquaintances and the world at large.
Prominent in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, mantra meditation uses repetitive sounds (like a word or phrase) to clear the mind. After repeating your mantra for some time, you’ll be more in tune with the world around you while experiencing more profound levels of awareness.
When you’re having a particularly stressful day, visualization meditation can help you stay positive. Practicing visualizations or imagery helps take your mind off your current reality by focusing on uplifting images, scenes or personal goals.
It is thought that there are no filters in the subconscious mind to tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, while holding a vision in your mind’s eye, use your senses to add as many vivid details as possible. Athletes commonly practice visualization to improve their performance.
Various breathing exercises can be practiced in addition to meditation – or become meditative practices in themselves. Breathing exercises take time to develop. Practice deep breathing techniques when you’re calm and breathing normally, ideally at the same time every day.
Here are four simple breathing techniques to try.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Did you know that most people use one nostril more than the other throughout the day? Alternate nostril breathing evens out your breathing and helps reduce stress.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb, and breathe in through your left nostril.
- Close your left nostril with your ring finger, release your thumb, and breathe out through your right nostril. Pause briefly after each exhale.
- Breathe in through your right nostril, then close your right nostril with the thumb and release the fourth finger.
- Breathe out through the left nostril.
- Repeat this cycle 5-10 times.
Box breathing and 4-7-8 breathing are both types of measured breathing exercises.
- Inhale deeply through your nose while counting to four.
- Hold your breath while counting to four.
- Exhale slowly through the mouth while counting to four, fully emptying your lungs.
- Count to four before breathing in again.
- Breathe in through your nose while counting to four.
- Hold your breath while counting to seven.
- Exhale loudly through your mouth while counting to eight.
Belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, can help strengthen your lungs and make them work more efficiently. Belly breathing while lying down can help you focus on filling your lungs more completely.
- Relax your neck and shoulders.
- Place your hands lightly on your belly.
- Breathe in through your nose until you feel your belly rise.
- Breathe out through your mouth for twice as long.
Affirmations are specific statements you repeat to yourself to overcome negative thoughts. The more you repeat positive affirmations, the more likely you’ll be to replace old thought patterns with encouraging new ones, changing subconscious beliefs over time.
Here are some affirmations to try while adapting to life during menopause:
Whether or not you believe that essential oils have therapeutic benefits, smelling anything you love is enjoyable for its own sake. In addition, scents are time machines, transporting us to pleasant memories faster than any of our other senses.
You don’t have to invest in a sea of tiny bottles to indulge yourself in the benefits of aromatherapy. What are your favorite scents? Is there a body lotion you love? Does inhaling the aroma of freshly ground coffee or old-school suntan lotion bliss you out for a few seconds?
Give yourself easy access to fragrances you love and see if they help you increase your relaxation and wellbeing.
Morning and evening rituals act as “bookends,” helping you to prepare for and wind down from your day. Prioritizing self-care isn’t selfish. Rather, it’s a way of attending to your needs first so you can be at peace with yourself and more present with others.
Whether you incorporate a self-care Sunday into your week or simply add a few things to your morning and evening routine, the power of rituals frees your mind from decision-making while adding activities that enrich your life.
Self-healing rituals could include:
- Morning pages: Take five minutes to journal before your feet hit the floor.
- Reading: Decide to read a new book every month instead of scrolling through your phone before bed.
- Coffee or tea for me: Get up early enough to enjoy a hot beverage before the day’s chaos begins.
- Get outside: Sunrises and sunsets are addicting to watch!
- Phone a friend: Texting can’t replace hearing a loved one’s voice.
- Stretch: Practice some new yoga poses or expand your mind with something new.
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