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Menopause, Menstruation, and More: How to Handle Hormonal Mood Swings at Work
3 months ago Posted in: Blog 0

Many women deal with mood swings at different stages of their life. Frequently, these mood swings are hormonal due to menopause, menstruation, or birth control changes, and we can feel like our moods are out of our control. Hormone imbalances cause many women to overreact to things that never used to faze them. Beyond any physical changes you might be going through in your life, you may also be dealing with stressful situations, such as grief issues, career uncertainty, a demanding boss, an empty nest, aging parents, or just generally taking stock of your life.

Here are some options that can help stabilize mood swings, improve your emotional health when your body feels like it’s betraying your professionalism, or just to make you feel better. Try these suggestions in the weeks before your hormones kick in:

Many workplaces have built workout spaces or will subsidize a local gym. Physical activity can lift moods and improve depression. Our brains have endorphins — feel-good brain chemicals that are released during exercise. Exercise can help counteract some of the hormone changes that occur from menopause and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Exercising boosts your energy and helps with cramps, bloating, and mood swings, which can get in the way of our well-being and professional behavior at work. Try getting out during a lunch break to walk, run or take a bike ride. Find some useful and enjoyable ways to get some aerobic exercise.

Plan some small, frequent meals
Although eating small meals throughout the day is not easy when at work, research shows that small frequent meals help mood swings more than eating two or three big meals for easing hormone-related symptoms. Large meals, particularly ones high in carbohydrates, can cause blood sugar swings. These heavy meals can worsen hormonal mood swings – contributing to crying spells and irritability that can feel like you’re out of control. Try preparing four small meals – two in the morning and two in the afternoon, that you can keep at your desk each day to keep your blood sugar levels steady. In any event, practice portion control. Honor your cravings, but do so in moderation.

Take daily calcium supplements and drink more water
Medical research proved that women who supplemented their diet with 500 milligrams of calcium twice daily had significantly less depression and fatigue than those who didn’t. Several studies have shown that getting plenty of calcium can help ease mood changes, which can help you stay on course with your goals and stay professional in your presence with colleagues.

Avoid caffeine and sweets
There is plenty of research that advises women to stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks for two weeks before their periods. Coffee and cola drinks contain caffeine, and as hard as it is to stay away from it at work, it may make a difference in your mood. Caffeine can increase anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. Steering clear of candy, soda, and other sugary foods, especially in the week before your period, may help ease hormonal symptoms by preventing mood swings associated with blood sugar fluctuations.

Manage your stress
Stress can make your hormonal symptoms worse, so finding ways to lessen your stress levels can help you avoid more intense mood swings. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. Get a group together for mutual social support and some fun activities such as walking, book club discussions, games, and dancing. Fun, casual activities can lessen mood swings and avoid debilitating emotional changes.

Andrea Zintz
Ph.D., Leadership Coach

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