“I’m just a menopausal woman standing in front of a mirror asking myself, How the hell do I deal with this anxiety.”
It all started with a book: Breath by James Nestor
We breathe in and out 25,000 times daily and yet how often do you think about it? I certainly didn’t unless I had just done a challenging cardio workout and wanted to throw up a lung. Yet breathing correctly has a fundamental impact on our lives and bodies. This book was mind-blowing, to say the least (if you read one non-fiction book this year – it should be this one) because I knew different types of breathing could help reduce stress but I had no idea the physical toll breathing improperly can have on our physical bodies. At the end of the book, there were different breathing exercises to help with different conditions. One that caught my eye was Tummo, otherwise known as the Wim Hof method, which seemed like a promising approach to menopause anxiety relief.
Try These Methods for Menopause Anxiety Relief
Wim Hof Breathing and Cold Plunges
After reading Breath I googled Wim Hof and learned about the effects of cold plunges and the Tummo way of breathing. The two methods help reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, increase energy and more. I began doing the breathing every day but still wasn’t mentally prepared for the cold portion. A few months in, a friend asked me if I wanted to do a cold plunge with her….in March, in Canada. The water was 3 degrees, and I stayed in for a minute and a half, feeling very proud that I could withstand it for that long. This experience was a step toward finding menopause anxiety relief.
However, while I felt amazing right after, the rest of the day I had a headache. Turns out you should enter into cold plunging SLOWLY. Secondly, the water doesn’t have to be freezing and filled with ice – 10 to 15 degrees Celsius will offer benefits.
Oh, and I need to say this…. Always check with your doctor to see if cold plunging is something you should try. Be responsible.
I purchased Wim Hof’s ten-week course and committed to breathing and taking a cold shower every day, slowly building up from 20 seconds, to 30 seconds, to one minute and finally to five minutes. But you don’t need to purchase his course, he offers free alternatives on his website.
Once I reached the five-minute point in the shower, I purchased a relatively inexpensive cold tub and alternated between cold showers and the plunges. Note: There are different cold tubs on the market ranging from about $100 to thousands of dollars. I purchased the Nurecover and it came to $122 CDN (if you are interested in purchasing one you can use the discount code SHARON20132 for 15% off – this is an affiliate code and I will receive a commission).
There was a definite improvement in my overall energy level and sleep, specifically my deep sleep. And while my anxiety was still there, I found that using different breathing methods helped to reduce it, along with the high blood pressure I was experiencing, contributing to menopause anxiety relief.
So how could I reduce it more?
Say Hello to Floating
I had been reading about floating for over a year before I tried it. Not just anecdotal blog posts written by float studios, actual scientific studies. It seemed super cool, however, when I entered menopause my focus had decreased significantly. I couldn’t even read a book for 15 minutes, how was I going to float in a dark tank and be inside my head for 90 minutes?
But I figured, what the hell. It can’t hurt, right? The water in the sensory deprivation cabin I was in was heated to skin temperature and saturated with Epsom salt, providing buoyancy so you float more easily.
Most people do it nude but I wore a bathing suit because I have trust issues. You wear earplugs to keep the salt water from getting in your ears and my cabin had a blue light so if you were worried about being in the dark that option is there.
I floated for almost two hours and it was pretty amazing. It took me 15 or 20 minutes trying different things to get totally comfy and after that, it was amazing. I spent most of the time in a half awake/half asleep mode. You know, where you are kind of aware of what’s going on but you also feel like you’re dreaming? It’s called Theta Brain Waves and those little brain waves are associated with creativity, stress reduction, and help you feel rested. The time FLEW by and afterwards I felt like I had an hour-long massage – my whole body was loosey goosey. And yes, my sleep that night was AMAZING. Fast Fact: Your body absorbs magnesium best through the skin so this is a good way to increase your magnesium intake, and possibly a unique method for menopause anxiety relief.
Unfortunately, unlike the Wim Hof breathing and cold water exposure, there are no free options for floating. Depending on where you live, it can range anywhere from $60 to $120 for a session (mine was in the middle at $90)
I will definitely do it again but the cost factor means it will be less often.
At the end of the day, we all need ways to deal with stress and anxiety and you have to find what works for you.