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Stress is a fact of life, and we can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to, but managing stress during the perimenopause phase becomes more important in order to reduce the added symptoms that come with menopause such as hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain and fatigue.

We all face stressful situations, ranging from minor annoyances like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as a loved one suffering from chronic illness.  No matter what the cause, stress floods your body with hormones. Your heart races, your breathing increases and your muscles start to tense up.  This so-called “stress response” is a normal reaction to threatening situations.

The Intersection of Stress and Menopause

As women approach menopause, hormonal fluctuations, particularly a decline in estrogen levels, can influence the body’s stress response system. Research suggests that estrogen plays a modulatory role in stress regulation, with lower estrogen levels potentially contributing to heightened stress sensitivity (Albert et al., 2019). Additionally, the psychosocial aspects of menopause, such as adjusting to changes in reproductive identity and societal perceptions of aging, can further compound stress levels (Hunter, 2020).

The Physiological Impact of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress, whether stemming from external sources or internal perceptions, exerts profound physiological effects on the body. Prolonged activation of the stress response system can lead to dysregulation of key physiological processes, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system (Herman, 2016). This dysregulation contributes to a range of symptoms commonly experienced during menopause, such as mood disturbances, sleep disturbances, and metabolic changes.

Nutritional Strategies for Stress Management

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in supporting overall health and resilience to stress during menopause. A diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for optimal physiological functioning (Townsend et al., 2023). Specifically, certain nutrients have been implicated in stress modulation, including magnesium, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids (Larrieu et al., 2018; Pickering et al., 2020, Kris-Etheron et al., 2021).

Eating Mindfully

Incorporating stress-reducing foods, such as leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, can help mitigate the physiological effects of stress and support hormonal balance during menopause. Additionally, mindful eating practices, such as chewing slowly and savoring each bite, can enhance the body’s ability to digest and assimilate nutrients, promoting overall well-being (Nelson, 2017).

Herbal Medicines for Stress Relief

Herbal medicines offer a natural approach to stress management and symptom relief during menopause. Adaptogenic herbs, such as ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), help the body adapt to stressors and promote resilience (Panossian & Wikman, 2010). These herbs modulate the HPA axis and enhance stress tolerance, thereby alleviating symptoms associated with menopausal stress.


Additionally, calming herbs like chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) exert anxiolytic effects, reducing feelings of anxiety and promoting relaxation (Sarris et al., 2013). Incorporating herbal remedies into daily self-care routines can complement other stress management strategies and enhance overall well-being during menopause.

Essential Oils for Emotional Balance

Aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of essential oils derived from aromatic plants, offers a holistic approach to emotional balance and stress management. Inhalation of essential oils stimulates the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, eliciting profound physiological and psychological responses (Faturi et al., 2010).

Relaxing Oils

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil, renowned for its calming properties, promotes relaxation and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety (Bagetta et al., 2010). Similarly, citrus essential oils like bergamot (Citrus bergamia) and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) uplift mood and alleviate tension, offering a natural antidote to menopausal stress (Haze et al., 2002).

Mind-Body Practices for Stress Reduction

In addition to dietary and herbal interventions, mind-body practices play a crucial role in stress management during menopause. Techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing promote relaxation and cultivate resilience to stressors (Bower et al., 2015). These practices enhance self-awareness and empower women to navigate the challenges of menopause with greater ease and equanimity.

Physical Activity for Stress Relief

Regular exercise is a cornerstone of stress management and overall well-being during menopause. Exercise not only improves cardiovascular health and supports weight management but also enhances mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression (Innes et al., 2010). Engaging in activities like walking, yoga, or tai chi provides a holistic approach to stress reduction, fostering physical and emotional resilience during menopause.

Social Support and Community Engagement

Maintaining social connections and seeking support from peers and loved ones are essential components of effective stress management during menopause. Social support buffers against the negative effects of stress, promoting emotional well-being and enhancing coping strategies (Uchino, 2006). Engaging in community activities, joining support groups, or simply spending quality time with friends can provide valuable emotional sustenance during this transitional phase of life.

Lifestyle Strategies to Managing Menopause

Navigating menopause requires an approach that addresses the complex interplay of hormonal changes, psychosocial stressors, and lifestyle factors. By incorporating nutritional strategies, herbal remedies, essential oils, mind-body practices, physical activity, and social support into daily routines, women can develop resilience and overall well-being during this transformative journey.

The Menopause Reset Program provides the support to work towards implementing lifestyle strategies to help you transition menopause. 


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