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Life is a rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs, and just when you thought you had it all figured out, perimenopause comes knocking on your door – right??? Perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause, brings along a parade of changes, both physical and emotional. One of the uninvited guests it brings along is anxiety. If you find yourself suddenly caught in a whirlwind of worry, panic, and unease, you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of perimenopausal anxiety – what it is, why it happens, and how you can ride the waves with grace and resilience.

The Perimenopausal Rollercoaster

Imagine you’re on a rollercoaster, climbing up that first steep hill. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your stomach does somersaults. Welcome to the world of perimenopausal anxiety! Just as your body is adjusting to fluctuating hormones, your mind is grappling with a myriad of emotions that can leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster.

What is Perimenopausal Anxiety?

Perimenopausal anxiety is like that unwelcome guest who barges in unannounced and overstays their welcome. It’s a surge of unease, worry, and fear that can creep up on you, often when you least expect it. While it’s completely normal to experience some level of anxiety during perimenopause, for some women, it can become overwhelming and interfere with daily life.

Hormones and the Anxious Mind

Ah, hormones – the chemical messengers that can turn even the most zen-like person into a bundle of nerves. During perimenopause, your body experiences a hormonal dance that can throw your emotional well-being off balance. Fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone levels can impact the neurotransmitters in your brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play a key role in regulating mood.

Think of it as a delicate symphony: when the hormonal instruments are out of tune, the melody of your mind can become discordant. This hormonal turbulence can lead to increased feelings of anxiety, irritability, and even depression (see last week’s blog on this here).

The Culprits Behind the Curtain

While hormones take centre stage in this production, they’re not the only players. Life experiences, genetics, and lifestyle factors can also influence the intensity of perimenopausal anxiety. If you’ve had a history of anxiety or mood disorders, you might be more susceptible to experiencing heightened anxiety during perimenopause.

Moreover, the challenges that come with this life stage – such as dealing with teenagers, a busy career, caring for ageing parents plus other life stressors – can be simply overwhelming.

Writing Your Own Script: Managing Perimenopausal Anxiety

The good news is that you’re not powerless in the face of perimenopausal anxiety. By adopting a proactive approach, you can regain control over your emotional well-being and emerge from this phase stronger than ever.

A Ray of Hope: Managing Perimenopausal Anxiety

Now, before we get too gloomy, it’s important to remember that perimenopausal anxiety is manageable. There are ways to support our mental health during this phase:

1. Mind-Body Connection: Just as your mind can influence your body, your body can influence your mind. Engaging in regular physical activity, practicing yoga, or even taking mindful walks can do wonders for reducing anxiety by grounding your nervous system. Physical movement also releases endorphins, those fabulous natural mood lifters, which can help take the edge off anxious feelings.

2. Nourishment for the Soul: Your diet isn’t just about the body – it’s also about feeding your mind and soul. Opt for a balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like salmon and flaxseeds, have been shown to support brain health and reduce anxiety.

3. The Power of “No”: Learn the art of saying no – to excessive commitments, toxic relationships, and unnecessary stressors. Creating healthy boundaries and prioritizing self-care can go a long way in managing anxiety.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation: There’s a mountain of research supporting mindfulness and meditation to soothe an anxious mind. Of course, when the mind is very anxious, mindful movement can be a better solution than seated meditation. Letting go of worries and focusing on the present moment can be supported with apps and free online resources that can guide you through mindfulness practices that soothe your anxious mind.

5. Seeking Support: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If perimenopausal anxiety feels like an insurmountable mountain, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor. They can provide you with tools and coping strategies tailored to your unique journey.

Perimenopausal anxiety might be an uninvited guest, but it doesn’t have to hijack your life. As you navigate this transitional phase, remember that you have the strength and resilience to weather the storm. Embrace the changes, prioritise your well-being, and celebrate each step forward.


Susie Garden | Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath

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