Covid and the menopause: Top tips for surviving Lockdown 3.0

Lockdown 3.0 was no real surprise, but it still hit many of us. I know I felt my spirits drop and my New Year vow not to drink midweek went out of the window (it’s back in now). It’s been shown the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on menopause symptoms, so how do you keep yourself going? Here are my top tips for surviving Covid and the menopause…

Make this normal

We don’t know when lockdown will be lifted, but it isn’t going to be for a few weeks, if not the spring. Even then, it is highly unlikely life will get back to how we know it for a long while afterwards.

While lockdown last March felt new and exciting, this time it feels like a drag. Nevertheless, the best way to get through it is to make this normal. Keep to a routine, like you used to do, and maintain the rules and boundaries you normally have.

This applies to switching off from work, too. With our home now being the office, it’s easy to mix the two. I’ve forced myself to work in the spare room and not in front of the telly (no more Come Dine With Me repeats).

Keep your work area separate from your living area if possible

At the end of the day, log-off work emails, any server connections and Teams/Hangouts/Zoom. Make time for you.

Eat well and drink plenty

Sadly, that doesn’t mean fasting and boozing. Christmas is over and even if you’re not doing Dry January (Moist for me) or Veganuary, you should still look to eat as healthily as you can – for both Covid and the menopause.

Good eating habits can go out the window when we’re stressed or our routine is disrupted. Try and have regular meals and yes, I know the fridge is close, but avoid snacking where you can. If you do get the nibbles, stock up on nuts (not too many as they’re calorific) or fruit.

Why not use your extra time to try something new and mix up your menu plan (you can download a free planner when you sign-up for 50Sense updates)?

Also, make sure you’re getting enough liquid – here’s why you should drink more water in midlife. Keep your alcohol intake to recommended limits, too. You’ll sleep and feel much better. Honest.

Switch off your screens

From epidemiology “experts” to doom-mongers, social media is awash with bad news and negativity. Twitter and Facebook can be great ways to keep up with what’s going on, but my word they can also put you on a huge downer. It’s also incredibly addictive and easy to get obsessed with keeping up with every like, notification and meme.

If you find it is having an impact on you, take time away and limit your time online. Both Covid and the menopause will continue in their own way. You don’t need to know what a stranger who works in accounting thinks you are doing wrong.

Also, make sure you get your information from credible sources that check facts. Ignore that person whose friend’s boyfriend’s aunty’s grandmother works in the canteen of the local hospital.

For friendly advice and information, I’d advise following Dr Nighat Arif. She’s also written about the medical side of coronavirus and the menopause if you’re after help.

Get up and get moving

Believe me, this is as big a reminder to me as it is to you. The last year has seen my exercise levels shrink to almost zero. Okay, not just my exercise levels, my step count has fallen dramatically as I go from bedroom to office to living room to bedroom.

But exercise is not only good for our bodies, it is a great way to destress and look after your mental health. And with stress being a major factor in impacting on menopause symptoms, it is vital that we keep our levels as low as possible.

There are lots of online workouts you can do – and yes, Joe Wicks is very good (and pleasing to the eye). However, I’ve started on PopSugar’s fitness channel today as they have a beginner’s section. After so long away, I know I need to start off easy.

Playlist: Beginner's Workout | POPSUGAR Fitness

It was good – you can make it as tough or as easy as you want and the presenter was encouraging without being too much: “Whoop, yeah.”

It doesn’t have to be hi-energy, however. We have a one-hour exercise window that you can use to try and get your 10,000 steps in. The fresh air will do you the world of good too.

Or as the dark nights are here, why not walk out to a dark spot and do a bit of star-gazing. There’s nothing like the beauty of the cosmos to help reduce stress.

Connect to others – with care

It’s never been easier to see someone. Whether you like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp, technology means we can stay in touch despite the lockdown. Many groups have turned their meetings into virtual catch-ups so there’s no need to miss out.

Saying that, Zoom anxiety is a real thing as we feel a pressure to look good on screen and perform. If you do find this happening to you:

  • remember, everyone else is feeling the same way so before you go online, self-talk with some positive statements;
  • keep your focus on the other person and what you’re hearing. Hide the thumbnail that shows you if needs be,
  • finally, when the call is over, move on. Don’t keep replaying it in your brain.

You could also go old-school and pick up the phone!

Create a good sleep hygiene

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential even when we’re not trying to juggle Covid and the menopause. It is the way our body repairs itself both physically and mentally each day.

Don’t use the lack of a commute as an excuse to snooze

While you may no longer have the commute each morning, try to get up and go to bed at your normal time. Your body is used to this and a change may jolt your system out of kilter.

Here’s my guide to get a good night’s sleep in menopause.

I know it’s tempting to hit the snooze button but believe me, you’ll appreciate it.

Covid and the menopause – both will pass

My last tip is to always remember that this is not forever. Experts are working hard on vaccines and finding a solution to Covid (wish they were doing the same for menopause!) and by following the guidelines, we can all do our bit.

I think the hardest part of Covid for me has been feeling powerless when I’ve seen others in pain or hurting through it. Nevertheless, we do have power over ourselves – and that works for both Covid and the menopause.

Looking after yourself is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. So please, take care and make more effort than ever to live your best life possible.

What are your survival techniques for covid and the menopause? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment in the box below.

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2 thoughts on “Covid and the menopause: Top tips for surviving Lockdown 3.0”

  1. Hi. I am 10 days in to using HRT. Oestogel 200mg (2 100 mg tabs) Utrogestan and cerelle mini pill.. Although I’ve not had a proper period for over a year now.. I will be 50 next month. Because of Covid Ive only had a telephone consultation with my GP. she was very sympathetic, she herself not yet old enough or been through perimenopause /menapouse yet. I read the attached information with the medication and have decided that I should be taking the utrogestan for 12 days then take a break and start taking it again 4 weeks to the date I started it but have to continue using the gel everyday but I’m confused about the cerelle. Should I keep taking it without a break?it did say I could have a bleed when I stop the utrogestan but.. I’m taking the pill.. Am I over thinking this?

    1. Hi Smiler. If you’ve still had some form of bleeding over the last 12 months, even if it wasn’t a full period, then you’ll still be perimenopausal and should continue to take contraception in the normal way. I’m concerned that your GP didn’t advise you on how to take the utrogestan, however. My advice is always to pop in to your local pharmacist and check with them – they generally know more about HRT than the GP! x

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