Feelings of depression

The transition to menopause has long been considered a period of increased risk for depressive symptoms.1 Many women report feeling depressed or in low mood during menopause. Hormonal changes can certainly have a powerful effect on how you feel, so it is important to be aware of any psychological shifts in your well being, so that you can take any necessary actions to maintain good mental health and a positive outlook.

Your feelings have a physical cause

During menopause, the quantity of estrogen in your body decreases. This can result in a low mood, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, feelings of emptiness, dreading daily activities and sleep problems or a lack of energy.

Useful advice for coping with depression during menopause

Hormonal changes can spark a low mood and even depression. Keep an eye on your mood as depression can get worse. Take small, positive steps to lessen the chances.

  • Stay engaged with life and surround yourself with supportive people. Seek out people who improve your mood and avoid any that have a negative influence on you.
  • Exercise outside in the fresh air if possible. When you exercise, endorphins are released in the brain and they give you a feeling of happiness and contentment.
  • Daylight is good for your mood and sunlight on your skin is important for vitamin D production. Make sure you spend some time outside every day.
  • Establish regular sleep patterns – lack of regular sleep makes depression worse.
  • Eat healthy and varied foods, a diet replete with fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grain products will help you feel at your best.
  • Drink less coffee or no coffee at all. Coffee can exacerbate feelings of depression.
  • Eat products rich in omega-3 (walnuts, olive oil, salmon). This essential amino acid helps improve your mood.
  • Do breathing, meditation and yoga exercises to get your body and mind feeling relaxed and positive.

References

1. Cohen LS, Soares CN, Vitonis AF, Otto MW, Harlow BL.Risk for new onset of depression during the menopausal transition: the Harvard study of moods and cycles. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;63(4):385-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16585467z

Want to learn how to cope with other symptoms? Get expert advice for the most prevalent menopausal symptoms.