Irritability and Perimenopause

The years before menopause can make you feel like you have PMS all the time, and you may find yourself snapping at your partner or your kids more and more.  That's because of the fluctuating hormone levels in your body.  However, there are things you can do to help balance your emotions and find some serenity and calm.  It's important during this transition to:
  1. Nurture your friendships and family relationships.  Having someone to talk to and vent can make a big difference in your emotional health.  Also, talking to a friend or family member who has gone through menopause can be a big source of comfort.
  2. Eat a healthy diet made up of real food (not packaged or processed) with lean proteins and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Exercise regularly, which is a great stress reducer and increases endorphins, which will improve your mood
  4. Find a relaxing activity to practice regularly, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing or coloring
  5. Stay away from alcohol and tranquilizers
  6. Find a creative hobby you enjoy, like knitting, painting, writing, dancing, or piano, that will make you feel good about yourself.
  7. When feeling really agitated, take a time out and go for a short walk, sip a cup of hot tea, or take some relaxing deep breaths, or say a quick prayer or read the psalms (if you are a woman of faith).
  8. Try aromatherapy and put some lavender oil on your pulse points.  Or, take a hot bath with Epsom salts and 11 drops of lavender oil.  This will be very calming and help you relax.
  9. Listen to your favorite music.  This can be really calming and help you feel happier. Or, you can listen to the sounds of nature or soothing water.  There are apps for smart phones.  One is Sleep Water for the I-phone, and just a few minutes of listening to the sounds of the ocean or a gentle river really helps me feel calm.
When an attack of irritability hits you, and it seems like someone else has possessed your body, ask yourself this important question--what do I really need right now?  It could be that you really need solitude and just five minutes of silence.  You may need to dance to some upbeat music and get silly and even sweat a little.  Perhaps, you need connection and calling or texting a friend could make you feel better.  Or, you could really be hungry and hunger doesn't just make 2-year-olds cranky.  Good foods for improving mood are Greek yogurt, flaxseed, turkey, lentils, and yes, chocolate! (Dark is best)
Above all, know that you are not alone and you are not going crazy.  Listen to your body and take time for yourself.  Be a friend to yourself and treat yourself with kindness. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself, too.  This is a rollercoaster ride we are on and it's not easy.

Let me know what works for you to help you find calm in the midst of the craziness.  And if you have already gone through menopause, what advice would you give to women who are in perimenopause?  We would love to learn from your wisdom.


  1. Good advice but please stay away from chocolate as it gives you migranes. I read that chocolate at night keeps you from sleeping. Love, Mom

  2. Thanks, Mom, for looking out for me. Chocolate is a trigger for us who suffer from migraines so eat with caution.

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