One of the biggest lessons I had to learn from my experience with sudden surgical menopause was how to reduce stress.
In recognizing how stress played a role in my healing process, I learned invaluable tips and tools, for any season of life. Keep reading for tips about stress reduction in this excerpt from my new book, Come Back Strong.
Stress Reduction —
Chronic stress that goes untreated can affect body, mind, and emotions. Mine also made my menopausal symptoms worse. To find balance and avoid burnout, I had to find ways to reduce stress.
A somewhat newly recognized complication of surgical menopause is adrenal fatigue. The adrenals are two endocrine glands that sit above the kidneys and produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are so critical to our well-being that being depleted of them, as we become during long periods of continuous stress, can multiply our symptoms on top of surgical menopause.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the accumulative effect of stress starts to manifest with illness, anger, frustration, and overwhelm. Suddenly, we find ourselves burned out and fatigued. We scream at our kids, partners, loved ones, coworkers, employees, and bosses. We damage relationships. I found myself experiencing all these symptoms in the months after surgery. The longer I experienced symptoms of surgical menopause without relief, the worse they seemed to get.
Our health is affected by the decisions we make daily.
Stress is often not a result of one factor, but the cumulative effect of many factors. It helps me to look at what I can control now. In this moment, I may not be able to leave a stressful job, but I can decide not to eat the cookie someone has offered me or reach for caffeine to get me through my day.
I’ve also learned to say no more often, especially to things that don’t align with my healthy goals, purpose, passion, and priorities. Some weeks I still cross off the morning and evening hours on my calendar and schedule those as sacred “me” time. I do my best to create good habits with food and exercise, and I now build in time to rest and recover, practice yoga, and meditate.
These are all part of my system of self-care that helps to reduce stress, alleviate symptoms, and bring me back into balance. As a woman, I tend to put others first, to my own detriment. This leaves me compromising on my needs, especially when it comes to relaxation and self-care. After surgery and during surgical menopause it was important to make myself a priority.
I learned what I required to relax, and I asked my family to adjust.
If you would like to read more about my story and how I found balanced wellness after surgical menopause, check out my book, Come Back Strong.
Stay tuned for Part 6 of this series next week where I share about “Choices.”
– Lori Ann