Women over 40 face new challenges, new responsibilities, and often heavy expectations. Many women in their 40s are also coming to terms with the menopause and trying to establish a new balance in their lives. It’s not surprising that so many women over 40 struggles with dealing with these changes.
What Is the Menopause?
The menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing eggs. It is the end of the child-bearing years and usually occurs around the age of 50. During per menopause (the time when the ovaries are preparing to stop their menstrual cycle), many women experience symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, headaches, and irritability. There may be a slight increase in mood disorders as well.
Depression and Anxiety, What’s the Difference?
There are many different types of depression and anxiety disorders. The most well-known types are those that affect feelings (like sadness or feelings of worthlessness) or those that affect thoughts (like having racing thoughts or feeling like you can’t concentrate). Mood disorders can be recurrent and may come and go in waves throughout life. Some people will have just one episode of an emotional disorder in their life, while others may have several. Depression and anxiety can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background.
Why Are So Many Women Depressed or Anxious After Age 40?
There are a number of factors that may cause or contribute to depression and anxiety in women in their 40s. For some women, it may be a combination of these factors. - Decreased Hormone Levels - As a woman progresses through menopause, her hormone levels decrease. This can cause changes in mood and affect how a woman thinks and feels. - Life Transitions - As you get older, you are also likely to experience other changes in your life, such as retirement, empty nest, death of a loved one, or a move to a different place. - External Stressors - External factors such as financial problems, job loss, or the death of a loved one can contribute to a mood disorder. - Brain Chemistry - While scientists don’t fully understand what causes depression and anxiety, they do know that the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine play an important role. Research shows that hormone changes during the menopause can lead to lower levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which may contribute to mood disorders.
Strategies to Overcome Depression and Anxiety in Midlife
It’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and understand what is happening in your body as your hormone levels change. Learn about Menopause. Take some time to learn about what is happening in your body as you go through menopause. Remember that this is a normal part of aging Exercise has been shown to help ease mood disorders. Moderate exercise like walking, jogging, or swimming can help relieve symptoms of depression and improve your mood. Spend time with family, friends, and loved ones. This can help you feel connected and less alone. - Identify Triggers - Look for patterns in your symptoms. What situations lead to or worsen your symptoms? What can you do to avoid or manage these triggers? - Keep a Journal - Writing in a journal can help you work through your feelings and emotions. You can also keep a gratitude journal to focus on the positive things in your life.
How to Cope with Midlife Changes
Be Gentle with Yourself. Midlife is a period of transformation and change. Remember to be gentle with yourself as you go through these transitions. Seek Support - If you are feeling overwhelmed, find a support group, talk to a friend, or consider counselling. - Find New Roles for Yourself - As you get older, your roles in life may change. This can be a time to explore new opportunities and find different ways to contribute to your family or community. - Focus on What You Enjoy - It’s easy to focus on things that you don’t like as you get older. Try to focus on what you enjoy and the things that bring you joy.
Final Words – Take Care of Yourself and Seek Help
Midlife is a time of great change and opportunity for growth. Many women find this a time of great freedom and flexibility. However, the challenges and changes of midlife can also be overwhelming. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, it is important to get help. Mood disorders can be treated and managed. Take care of yourself and seek help if needed. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help. It is not normal to feel so sad or anxious that it interferes with your daily life. Seek help from your physician and/or a mental health professional.