4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause
Besides the physical changes that menopause brings, it also can shake your sense of self-assurance — but these confidence boosters can help.
In medical terms, menopause — the absence of a woman’s menstrual period for at least a year — is a strictly physical phenomenon. However, most women find that, beyond physical symptoms, menopause can also be a time of emotional upheaval.
“It can be a sad time,” says Dale Perry, a nurse practitioner at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in California and a specialist in menopausal issues. “You know you’re not going to have any more children. You throw that last box of tampons away. You can have mood swings, fatigue — you may just not feel like you’re completely on top of things.”
This combination of physical changes and emotional stress can be enough to make a woman feel a little down or unsure of herself. But you can regain the confidence that menopause symptoms may have shaken. Try some of these tips to start feeling like yourself again.
Confidence Booster No. 1: Have Sex
If you’re feeling less than feminine because of menopause, a great way to overcome that is by being intimate with your partner.
Some menopausal women find sex to be uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, which can happen when estrogen levels go down. If you experience this, an estrogen supplement can help increase moisture. Some of the newest estrogen supplements, like Evamist and Vivelle-Dot, are delivered through the skin. “It’s a much lower dose, you can swim with it, and it slowly releases the hormone into your bloodstream,” Perry says. Other options are topical estrogen creams and estrogen tablets that deliver the hormone directly to the vaginal tissues.
Confidence Booster No. 2: Get More Exercise
Regular physical activity can help relieve some of the stress of menopause and improve your physical health, leading to a general sense of well-being. “I think yoga works particularly well,” Perry says. “You can ease yourself in by starting with a gentle stretch class, and move from there.”
Adults should aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. All of the body’s major muscle groups should be exercised at least twice a week.
Confidence Booster No. 3: Pamper Yourself
Breaking out of your routine by treating yourself to something new or luxurious can be a real confidence booster, Perry says. Also, since your body is changing, this is a perfect time to change your outward appearance in small ways. “Let a personal shopper pick out some clothes you wouldn’t have chosen yourself,” Perry says. “Do something different. That can be really exciting.”
Confidence Booster No. 4: Get Help if You Need It
Many women sail through menopause with no major problems, but others may need to consult with their doctor if they’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. Women with a history of these problems should be on the lookout for signs, which can include loss of energy, sadness, and constant feelings of worry and tension. “If your sleep is disturbed, you need to talk to your doctor,” Perry says. “If you’re not sleeping well, nothing else in your life seems to go well. You start the day already feeling behind.”
If you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help improve your mood. Commonly prescribed medications include Zoloft ( sertraline ) and Lexapro (escitalopram ). One antidepressant, Effexor (venlafaxine ), also tends to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause.
While there’s plenty to moan about during menopause, there’s also a lot to celebrate at this time in your life. “In some ways, it’s a very freeing age for women,” Perry says. “In your twenties and thirties, you really care what people think of you. But now, you’re much more comfortable in your own skin. Many women are at the height of their careers … This is not a time of life when life is over. The best stuff is not necessarily behind you at this point.”