Many women feel anxious in menopause, it’s a really common symptom that can take you by surprise. Studies show that up to 50 per cent of women of menopausal age experience symptoms of anxiety. If you also experience brain fog, forgetfulness and struggle with your memory, it’s easy to see why many women feel as if they’re losing their minds. You can end up with a big jumble of thoughts and not know which way to turn. Being positive and motivated to run is hard when you don’t even know who you are any more!
I hope last week’s blog full of lifestyle tips for anxious, menopausal runners was helpful to you. Today I’m looking at mindset. How can you quieten your mind and reduce those feelings of anxiety? How can you make a run possible when you don’t feel like going outside your front door?
10 Mindset tips for anxious, menopausal runners
Here are 10 things you can try when anxiety strikes and you’re feeling a bit rubbish. It’s so easy to be down and hard on yourself. Follow through these steps or just pick one or two:
- Remember that this isn’t your fault. You don’t have anxiety because you are weak and not able to cope.
- Be aware that there are ups and downs. Even if you feel bad right now, it will pass and you will feel better again.
- Don’t try to fight the feelings, acknowledge them and feel positive they will soon ease.
- Some people experience similar feelings when they’re excited, can you reframe it for yourself so it doesn’t feel so scary?
- Look for your triggers so you can work out how best to manage them. Is there anything in particular that has made you feel worse? How can you avoid it next time?
- Distract yourself with whatever works for you – it could be watching a film, laughing with a friend, a run or a swim. Try meditation, music or a walk in nature – you don’t have to run!
- Different things work for different people, you could try writing your thoughts in a journal. Getting them out of your head and onto paper can be very helpful – even if they’re random and don’t make any sense.
- What kind of run will help? The best thing about running is how flexible it is. Do you need an intense hill session to rid yourself of frustration? Do you need a calming long run listening to music? Would a chatty run with a friend be best. Forget the training plan, what do you need right at the moment?
- If you’ve headed out and it’s not going well, just go home. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. If you’re not feeling comfortable and the stress of running feels like too much, it’s OK to readjust your plans.
- Who can help you? Sharing how you feel with someone you trust can make an enormous difference. No one is going to think you are odd and they will most likely have their own story and tips to share with you too.
Tempting though it is to let your thoughts snowball and end up convincing you you’re an anxious mess, take yourself somewhere quiet, take a few deep breaths and believe in yourself. Work through the list above or just pick one step that you can manage.
Don’t forget the lifestyle tips I shared last week. They will help you to spot, minimise and avoid your triggers.
Next week I’ll be looking at how you can approach your training if anxiety is prominent for you. How do you cope if you have a race and are trying to follow a training programme? Sign up for my newsletter below so you don’t miss it.