You used to have sufficient energy throughout the day. Sure, you might have had an afternoon lull here and there but that could be blamed on a late night or an early morning and it would go away with ample rest. But suddenly you’re finding yourself struggling in an extreme lethargic deficit that doesn’t seem to have a remedy.
And you haven’t changed your routine that much so it’s confusing as to why this is an issue that is alluding you. But it’s affecting your work and your interaction with others.
What’s even more frustrating is that it may not be anything that you are, or are not doing. It may just be your body’s natural way of transitioning into menopause. So, if it’s so “natural” then why does it feel like you’re being punished?
What Is Menopause Fatigue?
You’re not just tired. Perimenopausal fatigue is when you’re feeling an intense lack of physical and mental ability and energy that is occurring daily. It’s not being alleviated no matter how much rest you get - although we know resting can also be challenging in perimenopause - or you’re coasting along and then suddenly you’re in a major slump.
You don’t have any other medical issues that it can be attributed to and you haven’t started or stopped any other medication.
This ambiguous condition happens during perimenopause and menopause because of the hormone shifts that are occurring. Hormones act as the body’s communication switchboard so when these fluctuations are taking place the entire endocrine system is struggling to correspond with each other. This impacts not only your ability to sleep well, but it can drop a signal for an energy request.
Since perimenopause can last anywhere from a few months to 10 years before menopause, this battle can be a real bear to deal with. It may start off as subtle and manageable and then becomes so chronic and pervasive that it negatively impacts your professional performance and your personal relationships.
Can Anything Be Done?
Yes. You’re not just stuck to “deal with it.” Adjusting your lifestyle choices can help alleviate the intense sleepiness of these gutter moments. It may take a few trial and errors to find what is right for your circumstances but try to have patience and compassion for yourself that you’re committed to figuring it out. There is no exact formula for what will work for every woman.
How to Possibly Increase Your Energy
- Feed Yourself the Right Foods
With hormones fluctuation fueling anxiety and insomnia, it is important to increase your body’s ability to foster the production of progesterone increasing your consumption of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and brussel sprouts) which are full of Vitamin C and B6. Nuts, spinach, seafood, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and citrus fruits are also options for the aforementioned vitamins as well as their healthy fats and magnesium.
You may not feel up to it but physical activity helps the body to raise oxygen levels, release endorphins, relax, and rest better. While you may be exhausted already you don’t have to commit to a bootcamp or a long bout of cardio; a yoga class, a walk, or even light weight lifting can have an impact.
- Sleep Like a Drill Sergeant
That weekend snoozefest that you think is helping you catch up on your sleep deficit may actually be causing you more woes than wakefulness. Try to maintain the same sleep schedule no matter what day of the week it is. It seems counter-intuitive but your body’s circadian rhythm loves a strict routine.
- Get a Massage
Physical touch releases dopamine and endorphins while also increasing circulation and decreasing inflammation. You don’t have to go to something luxurious, even your neighborhood masseuse (bonus for a house call) can ease your body’s ailments to give you a deeper relaxation.
- Build a Bedtime Fortress
From turning off your phone to turning down the temperature and sound proofing your space can help protect your zzz’s.
Especially with the innovation of ear buds the random street noise or appliances switching on and off can set off a flight or fight sensory alertness that can ignite a disruptive state.
You want to aim for as much darkness as possible, quiet, cool, and calm to hunker down in.
While you’re revamping your physical space, you may want to consider renovating your mental wiring too. Helping your mind to settle down has a whole host of benefits from lowering blood pressure and stress, to improving memory, achieving deep sleep durations, and quieting anxiety.
Plus it’s very accessible from anywhere so you don’t have to attend a physical class. There are plenty of apps and styles to choose from and it can be done at anytime of the day. Some people like to do it in the morning to set an intention for their day and others are lunchtime. Whatever you choose, it’s customizable to what you need.
- Avoid the “Quick Fix”
Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods pack on extra calories which is going to add to your waistline. Around menopause estrogen loves to plump up your mid-section so extra pounds thereby adds even more estrogen to your system.
You may need to just get through a big meeting or an extra taxing day but a long-term strategy is going to be the most helpful option for your ultimate health.
- Natural Sleep Aids
- Valerian Root
Finding what will work for you could take awhile so try to have patience with yourself in the process. To keep your sanity, you might want to start a sleep journal noting what you attempted and how you feel the next day.