Emotional wellbeing is all about how you see yourself, your roles and the goals you may have in life. Issues relevant to wellbeing unfold at every stage in life from childhood to midlife and beyond.
Coping with your emotions during the many changing phases of life is not a simple process. Relationships need support and development, along with coping with every day stresses and strains in the challenges of life.
Good Emotional Health
Take time out for yourself. By nurturing yourself you’ll have the emotional energy to do other things you need to do. Recognise the things in the life that recharge you and ensure you do them regularly. A deep relaxing breath or a positive affirmation takes only a second. Go for a walk with a friend, make time for a chat with a friend, sit in the park, go to a movie, prepare a relaxing bubble bath, book a facial or manicure, or make time to do whatever you want to do.
Think about your inner voice – what messages is it sending? Women whose internal dialogue is overly critical, perfectionistic, depressed or anxious will report reduced functioning than those who have learned to support and encourage themselves.
Do a regular emotional audit. Is there an issue that’s been on your mind? Do you have a management plan? What can you do and how can others assist you? Take time out to think about what’s going on in your life and how you can best manage it.
Women who have a role or a number of roles say they feel good about themselves, have less illness and are more satisfied with their lives. Think about your own role/s. Is there a good balance?
Talk to a psychologist if you need help managing difficult situations in your life.
Depression & Anxiety
Many theories have debated the link between hormones and depression. When all of the research is summarised it appears that estrogen and testosterone are likely to account for a small percentage of the depressed mood women experience around the time they become menopausal.
Women who have had a hysterectomy are more likely to experience depression than women who have had a natural menopause. It may also be that physiological changes such as hot flushes and night sweats have a secondary or roll-on effect on the feelings and thoughts of women at this time.
It is important to remember that depression at this time of life is also influenced by previous episodes of depression, stress, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, body image, social and cultural factors.
Anxiety involves extreme feelings of fear and worry.
When intense anxiety is experienced over a length of time and interferes with daily life, then anxiety can be perceived as a problem that requires both medical and psychological treatment.
Symptoms of anxiety may include:
- a racing heart or palpitations,
- rapid breathing,
- sweating, and
There are many different kinds of anxiety such as:
- panic attacks,
- social and generalized anxiety.
Some menopausal symptoms are similar to anxiety- type symptoms such as:
- hot flushes,
- awareness of breathing, and
- ‘crawling skin’.
Managing Depression and Anxiety
If a woman is worried, it is important for her to discuss their symptoms with a health practitioner or psychologist to seek clarification about the symptoms they are experiencing.
Keeping a diary can help you to identify thought patterns so these can be challenged.
Relaxation techniques are a valuable tool.
Talking to friends, family or a trusted health professional can also be very worthwhile.