Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

Stress and fatigue are the enemies of your health, vitality, and natural beauty. Many of the most common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are caused or complicated by excess stress and lack of rest. You may be accustomed to thinking of your body as a nonstop powerhouse that thrives on stress and performs best under pressure. Even if that belief held true when you were twenty, it doesn't hold true now. Your body and mind need adequate amounts of rest and enjoyment, especially during the years preceding menopause.

Participating in regular aerobic and strengthening exercise is critical for maintaining your body's ability to enjoy healthy, restful sleep. But part of your weekly fitness plan should also include some time — every day — for relaxation. Even thirty minutes of planned relaxation a day can make a big difference in your physical and mental health. Determine what relaxation technique works best for you — many activities can soothe your mind and rejuvenate feelings of well-being. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Mind/body practices, such as relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga, or Tai Chi

  • Reading, listening to music, or playing an instrument

  • Talking with friends, spending time with your partner, playing catch with your children, or walking your dog

  • Soaking your feet, taking a leisurely bath, or giving yourself a facial

  • Gardening, painting, or writing in a journal

  • Reading religious texts or practicing your spiritual tradition

If your life is crowded, busy, and packed with a long to-do list or weighty responsibilities, you may need to force yourself to sit back, relax, and enjoy life for a few moments every day. But you won't look good, feel good, or perform well if you starve yourself of leisure. As you move through menopause, you have to consider rest and relaxation an essential component for a physically and emotionally healthy life.

Fact

If you don't find positive ways to relax and reduce stress, you might find destructive ways to do so. Many people turn to food, alcohol, or drugs to help ease stress or avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, or boredom. When you feel that taking time for leisure and relaxation is an indulgence, remember what's at stake.

The menopausal period will bring both satisfying and challenging events. The better you take of yourself, the better able you are to meet them all head on. Although hormone issues and reproductive concerns may take center stage, you are a whole person who deserves proper attention.

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