Ten Tips for Managing Menopause Stress Over the Holidays
Ten Tips for Managing Menopause Stress Over the Holidays
by Holly Osterman
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Yes, that means you.
Even though you’d like to pretend you still have all the time in the world, the holidays are upon us. No matter where you turn, the signs are there. Last minute sales. Santa at the mall. The wacky neighbor with the reindeer on the roof. You can feel the pressure and anxiety building. Not to mention the hot flashes, mood swings and sleepless nights.
So how are you going to handle menopause with a smile on your face and presents under the tree?
First, remember that you’ve been here before. The cooking, cleaning and shopping will all get done. But where do you start? Here are a few ideas to help you get through the holidays without losing your mind:
Pick your favorite part of the holiday. We all have that one thing we look forward to doing every holiday season. Maybe you like to cook. Or you love baking the cookie recipe handed down for generations. Some of us have the creative touch. What better time to try out all those new decorating ideas on our Pinterest boards?
Personally, nothing gets me in the spirit more than pouring a cup of hot chocolate, opening the box of ornaments we’ve accumulated over the years and decorating the tree. By myself. Don’t judge me.
Doing the things we really enjoy is a great outlet and fantastic way to lift our mood.
Dress for the occasion. Assembling a go-to holiday outfit that will fit on good days and bad (and hopefully make you feel fabulous) can be a challenge. So we asked Thea Wood, image stylist and cofounder of SheSpark, a tricky question. How can women dress for the occasion and feel comfortable without losing their sense of style?
“The most important thing about planning holiday outfits is to stop ‘hiding,’” says Thea. “Menopause can make us feel bloated, sweaty, and ugly so we tend to want to disappear. That doesn’t make us feel better!”
But don’t fear. She also offered some specific advice to make you look AND feel better.
Bloated? Wear a shift, a-line or empire waisted dress. Avoid skirts, pants, pleats, or anything that has a seam cutting across your midsection. Throw on a blazer create long lines through your mid-section, and add color and bling in to your “assets.”
Updos naturally lift the face and create an elegant style—even if the party isn’t formal. The neck and shoulders are widely considered the most sensuous regions—show them off!
Wear shoes that are chic but wearable for parties where seating isn’t readily available. There is nothing worse than trying to mingle while in pain or removing your shoes (so high school prom). She suggests pointed-toe kitten heels with a sheer or print stocking. Very cool!
Be a thoughtful (and efficient) gift giver. Most of us really enjoy buying the perfect gifts for the people on our list. But at a certain point, trying to figure out what to get for your Aunt Betty and all of your nieces and nephews can be a little daunting. And stressful.
If you have a lot of gifts to buy—and don’t want to default to Target cards or fruit cake—pick a theme. Maybe everyone gets pajamas that fit their personalities. Or a book that they’ll really love. With a little creativity, a well-planned giving strategy can make your life a lot easier.
Keep a spare. Have one or two small gifts around for that unexpected visitor or last minute invite to a party. Nothing worse than getting caught off- guard and empty-handed. And while you’re at it, a frozen tray of lasagna and nice bottle of wine are sure to please any surprise dinner guest that “just dropped by”.
Procrastination is the enemy. Sure, you had most of your gift shopping done by the beginning of December. And you stocked up on holiday booze and Christmas staples well in advance. But you also put off buying that sweater for your twentysomething son and know you’re going to have to brave the shopping mall on Christmas Eve. Ugh.
As hard as it may be, don’t wait until the last minute. Crowded department stores, cranky clerks and long lines can add up to a lot of unnecessary holiday anxiety.
Make the right choices. Okay, so you’re going to overindulge a bit. We all have our weaknesses and yours might be pumpkin pie or eggnog. Tomorrow’s a new day. But don’t throw all caution to the wind.
Easier said than done, right? Of course. So we reached out to weight loss guru and founder of FBJFit, Charlene Bazarian. Charlene has an incredible story and has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Oxygen, and countless other magazines. And she offered some inspiring (and practical) holiday advice.
“After losing 96 lbs., and managing to keep it off, I now give myself a three pound wiggle room, so if I’m within my goal range, I’ll choose what I call a ‘worth it.’ My neighbor used to make the most amazing Italian cookies at Christmas, and no one else’s even came close to being as delicious, so they definitely qualified as a worth it! I don’t think it’s about never a cupcake, it’s about not always having a cupcake, and while trying to give the scale a nudge downward, skipping the cupcake is recommended.”
Charlene also suggests changing your mindset at the holidays.
“I hate when people say they don’t want to feel ‘deprived,’” Charlene explains. “I go crazy when people tell me they struggle to choose healthy food options because ‘They don’t want to deprive themselves.’
“I can tell you I don’t feel deprived when I choose clean and fresh foods, and when I do go off the wagon with some starchy carbs/sugars, rather than feeling any satisfaction, I feel sluggish, regretful and bloated afterwards. Take a real moment to ask yourself if what you really desire most is a fit, healthy body or the cookies.”
Something’s gotta give. There are only so many hours in a day. Organization and delegation are the keys to your survival. Enlist the husbands, kids or guests. If there’s a warm body around, make sure they’re tackling something on the to-do list.
Prep the guest room. If you find yourself hosting overnight guests, consider channeling your inner Martha Stewart. Check out her guide on preparing for house guests. You’re sure to make them feel special and right at home.
Finally—and most importantly—take care of YOU. Sometimes, it’s hard to muster up the holiday spirit when your battery is running low and hormones are taking over. Find time to unwind with a good book, a cup of tea, or a warm bath.
Live in the moment and enjoy the holidays with those you love. Because that’s what the season is really all about.
This is an update to a post previously published on Menopause ChitChat.