Let’s get real for a moment – changing bodies are just a part of getting older. It happens to each and every one of us, and there isn’t much we can do about it…
And the harsh truth is that such changes are often harder on women, namely because of menopause – and the difficulties that can follow. One of the most common issues postmenopausal women face is mood swings, and if you’ve experienced them yourself, you know how frustrating (even alarming) it can be.
Even for the husbands of women going through this, the mood swings can be troublesome, potentially leading to conflict or misunderstandings when emotions are on edge. Or if he isn’t acutely aware of what’s going on, it can cause distress to see a spouse go through bouts of seemingly unprovoked stress, anger, sadness, etc. – and even make him feel like he’s the problem.
Not every woman will experience mood swings, anxiety, or depression during and after menopause, but many do – and knowing ways to combat the symptoms can do wonders for both your quality of life as an individual AND for the wellbeing of your marriage.
If you or your spouse are facing some of these challenges, here are a few things that can help:
1. Balance Your Diet
As you may well know, your diet affects just about everything about your mind and body. If you’re experiencing mood swings, try to focus on a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, good protein, whole grains, etc.
It’s also a good idea to limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol – both are known to trigger mood swings and/or increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Calcium is important for your overall health, of course, and while many people correctly associate this nutrient with bone health, it actually has a significant impact on mental health as well.
Low levels of calcium have been shown to lead to anxiety and depression symptoms, but the opposite is also true! For people suffering from mood swings and similar issues, boosting calcium levels can reduce symptoms and decrease the frequency of flare ups.
3. Emotional Health Foods
Like the effects of calcium mentioned above, some foods (or lack thereof) can play a role in brain chemistry. Nutrients including vitamin B6, magnesium, and L-tryptophan are some of the most important.
Many protein rich foods like beans, spinach, fish, peas, and meats (especially organ meats) are excellent sources of these nutrients.
Magnesium deficiency can also exacerbate (and even cause) mood swings as well. Some excellent sources include tofu, whole grains, nuts, and leafy green veggies.
4. Professional Help
If you’re really struggling with mood and emotional wellbeing, it may be time to seek out some professional help. A therapist or counselor will likely be able to help you pinpoint your specific symptoms, and recommend approaches catered to you specifically (as opposed to general information you may find here or online).
Opening up to friends and family – especially your spouse – is also a good idea. Let the people you love know what’s going on with you, and they can be an essential support structure when you’re struggling the most.
5. Work It Out
The physical and mental benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. Even if you aren’t going to the gym every day, even if you aren’t even going for any kind of high-intensity exercise at all – every little bit counts.
Exercise can help relieve stress, elevate mood (through the release of endorphins), improve sleep, and make you healthier all around. All of those factors help stabilize emotions and reduce your chances of frequent postmenopausal mood swings.
Again, every woman is going to experience this change in her life differently, but if mood swings become a problem – or even if you (or your spouse) notices some unexplained emotional ups and downs – it is worth considering that your changing body may be the source of the problems.
If you think this is happening to you, take the steps you can to reduce the symptoms. You’ll be happier and more stable for it, and your marriage will be stronger for it as well.