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Talking about the menopause: symptoms, support and the role of exercise
Talking about the menopause: symptoms, support and the role of exercise

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5 Stress, menopause and mid-life

It is commonly accepted that in the twenty-first century, our lives have become more stressful as they are more complicated than they were for previous generations. There are many more demands on our time and our attention, not least from social media and the internet, and for many people fewer opportunities to do things that release stress, such as taking time for hobbies and relaxation, or spending time with loved ones and enjoying the stress-relieving benefits of close human connection.

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People born in the 1960s and 1970s are part of the ‘sandwich generation’, caught between raising children, who are now mostly hormone-fuelled teenagers, and looking after parents who are becoming elderly. Along with work and home responsibilities, these demands sometimes mean that as the primary care givers, these people are stretched between different responsibilities and tend to neglect themselves in order to care for others.

And then along comes menopause, bringing the slow accumulation of the distressing symptoms, such as feeling unwell and experiencing hot flushes (which was explored in Sessions 1 and 2). These symptoms pile on to a person who is already living a stressful life, and because stress reduces the ability to cope, the menopause has an even greater impact.