3 Tips Against Exhaustion And Fatigue During The Menopause

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Unfortunately, exhaustion and fatigue are not uncommon during the menopause - but that doesn't mean they are unavoidable. We’ve collated some tips to help you establish more energy and balance in your life.

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Feeling tired, unmotivated, exhausted - both physically and mentally? Don't worry, you're not alone. Unfortunately, these symptoms are not uncommon during the menopause. That’s why we’ve collated some tips to help you establish more energy and balance in your life.

Between our jobs, children, parents in need of care, ageing and so much more - midlife can be a particularly rough time for women. If hormonal fluctuations are added to this as an additional stress factor, the two stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are overloaded. The counterpart hormone, DHEA, also runs out of steam. Exhaustion sets in, leading to deep, chronic tiredness and lack of energy.

What is the cause of exhaustion and fatigue during the menopause?

The causes of deep exhaustion are usually multifactorial. For example, science has not yet been able to clarify what specific part of the menopause process causes the extreme lows, especially since not every woman is affected to the same extent. But the fact is, during the perimenopause, progesterone (our "relax hormone") dwindles - a huge factor that affects our ability to sleep restfully.

This means that we don’t sleep as well, which manifests as low energy levels during the day. In the advanced menopause, when oestrogen levels fall significantly, exhaustion often increases again. This is because oestrogen, which acts like a messenger in our brain, also influences our energy levels.

Last but not least, stress tolerance also decreases during the menopause. What we used to be able to cope with effortlessly now exhausts us even more.

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Feeling exhausted and nothing works anymore

The signs and symptoms of exhaustion during the menopause vary slightly depending on the person. Some people are extremely sensitive and perceive the slightest sound as agonising noise. Others are constantly tired, unmotivated and exhausted just from doing some shopping at the supermarket. For many, everything just seems more tedious than usual.

Others may be restless, agitated or just want to burst into tears because the cake they made for their family isn't perfect. Something that once seemed so trivial and menial can now cause a huge freakout. Their concentration is at rock bottom and their body is screaming for rest. And sometimes this can be for seemingly no reason at all.

New habits to combat fatigue and exhaustion during the menopause

Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for fatigue. But the first step is always to admit to yourself that things can't go on like this. Realise that it's not your fault! And please do not think that you are too soft or that you are no longer resilient.

It's perfectly normal that you can no longer perform at the same level as when you were 20 or 30. For some women, this process is gradual and continuous, and for others, it comes very quickly or in waves. When you're exhausted, it's time to recharge your batteries slowly and purposefully. Our three tips will help you do this:

#1 EAT RIGHT

We know for certain that nutrition is a key component of our energy levels. You may even know the "rules" for optimal nutrition after 40, but when we're exhausted, we often throw all of our knowledge in the bin. It’s normal to reach for readily available energy in the form of carbohydrates and sugar while fuelling ourselves with gallons of coffee and eating convenient foods because we're too unmotivated to cook for ourselves.

This is only human. Exhaustion is first and foremost a sign that you are lacking something: sleep, oxygen, fluids or exercise. The languid state also indicates that our body is actively defending itself against something - such as pathogens. Or the body is struggling with imbalances, such as a hormonal imbalance or an imbalance in the gut.

Now our body is looking for a way to compensate for this deficiency immediately and so quick energy is needed! Enter sugar, caffeine or anything that gets you going quickly. And off we go with the rise in blood sugar - and the rapid drop that happens immediately afterwards! This process ultimately brings us even deeper into exhaustion.

So, even if it's difficult:

  1. Make sure you get enough high-quality nutrients first thing in the morning: complex carbohydrates, plenty of protein and high-quality oils. Eat enough of what you need. When you are exhausted, your nutrient requirements are significantly higher. Times of exhaustion should therefore never be diet phases. Fill your plate with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain products.
  2. Coffee has a stimulating effect on the metabolism - on the heart, stomach, intestines, blood pressure and muscles. This stimulating effect is based on an increased release of the stress hormone cortisol. This is okay in moderation if you are feeling well. However, if your body is already in an exhaustion spiral, stress hormones should not be pushed even more toward their limit. Instead, try lemon water, a green tea or simply a bit of exercise in the fresh air. A little trick for habitual coffee drinkers: decaffeinated coffee or espresso - as a placebo - often has a similar effect without releasing stress hormones.
  3. Eating is not something we should try and fit around our day. Particularly when we are exhausted, ready-made meals are a wasted opportunity to give yourself a little break during the time you eat. If you manage to approach your meals thoughtfully, prepare them with pleasure and enjoy them consciously, you will automatically build little time-outs into your everyday life and benefit threefold: from the anticipation, the distraction and the pleasurable taste experience.

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#2 HEALTHY SELFISHNESS

Yes, you read that right: be a little more selfish! When was the last time you had a whole day, an evening or even just a few hours to yourself? Time that you didn't fill with what's left over between work and family, but instead filled with what you really wanted to do?

Most of us have mastered the art of feeling tense, but what we need to practice is relaxation and doing nothing. There are many ways to do this:

  1. Listen to what would do you good right now. And do it - without demanding productivity or efficiency.
  2. Create ritualised free spaces in which you don't let anyone or anything dictate how you fill them. A fixed date helps so that you don't have to justify it to yourself or those around you every time.
  3. Be unreachable for once. Very few of the messages we receive are vital. But when our phones buzz and ping, we automatically look - even if we don't answer. Try setting it aside and truly switching off for a bit.

Of course, there are days or sometimes even weeks when it's simply not possible to take a long break. Create small windows of time in which it's all about you. In our article "Strong vagus nerve for more relaxation", we show you ten simple exercises that you can use to "train" your relaxation nerve.

#3 MICRONUTRIENT KICK

Functioning in a state of exhaustion drains the body and means we consume an extremely high amount of valuable vitamins and minerals, which ultimately leads us to slip into a nutrient deficit despite a balanced diet.

This is particularly the case with magnesium and B vitamins such as B6, B12, B1 and B2. Anyone who is exposed to a lot of stress and/or suffers from exhaustion should therefore supplement micronutrients in addition to the aforementioned diet.

  1. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc help protect the cells from oxidative stress and strengthen the body's immune system.
  2. Magnesium plays a role in numerous metabolic processes. It is necessary for nerve, heart and muscle cells to function optimally.
  3. The B vitamins, primarily vitamin B12, play a major role in concentration and performance under increased stress. As they work "hand in hand", they are best taken as a vitamin B complex.
  4. Adaptogenic plants can provide additional benefits as they have a balancing effect in times of stress. For example, the adaptogens ashwagandha, licorice root and tulsi. XbyX Take It Easy is an innovative combination of active ingredients: Ashwagandha, magnesium, B vitamins, green tea (L-theanine) and tryptophan.

Beware of chronic exhaustion and depression

Everyone experiences a period of exhaustion, for example due to professional or personal stress. This is not uncommon, especially during the hormonal ups and downs of middle age. However, the transition to chronic exhaustion, i.e. burnout, or depression, is fluid. Since the signs are similar, it is sometimes difficult for people to distinguish between the two.

Depression and burnout are serious illnesses that need to be diagnosed and monitored by a doctor. Other physical causes, such as an underactive thyroid or iron deficiency, can also be the cause behind persistent exhaustion and tiredness. So if you don't notice any improvement despite adjusting your lifestyle and supplementing nutrients, it's better to get professional help in good time to restore your balance.

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References & Sources

Mitchell ES, Woods NF. Depressed mood during the menopausal transition: is it reproductive aging or is it life? Women’s Midlife Health. 2017;3(1). doi:10.1186/s40695-017-0030-x

Woods NF. Pathways to depressed mood for midlife women: Observations from the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study. Wiley Online Library. Published online April 1, 1997. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-240X(199704)20:2

Taylor-Swanson L, Wong AE, Pincus D, et al. The dynamics of stress and fatigue across menopause: attractors, coupling, and resilience. Menopause. 2018;25(4):380-390. doi:10.1097/gme.0000000000001025

Roberts J, Zinchenko A, Mahbubani KT, et al. Satiating effect of high protein diets on Resistance-Trained subjects in energy deficit. Nutrients. 2018;11(1):56. doi:10.3390/nu11010056