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Traveling With Menopause
Planning a trip should be a fun and exciting time, but as menopause symptoms pop up, you may begin to worry about what might go wrong rather than look forward to your well-deserved break.
One of the most frustrating parts of menopause is the unpredictability and sudden onset of the symptoms, which can interfere with your plans.
While you may not be able to control your hormonal changes and all the effects they bring, you can stay calm, cool, and collected on your trip with some good preparation, clever packing and reasonable expectations.
1. Sit Strategically
If you’re going be on a plane, train, or bus for a long stretch of time, make sure you choose your seat wisely. If you can find a spot with a bit more breathing room, take it: a seat in the aisle, at the front of a seating section, or one that doesn’t have another seat beside it will allow for better air circulation and a bit less tension (if you tend to get anxious squished in with a lot of people).
Once you sit down, check the air vent. If it doesn’t work, swiftly mention it to the attendant, and request a seat swap if possible. Locate the toilets right away, too, so you can duck in there quickly if you need to take a moment to yourself. Remember, stress can trigger symptoms, so make your journey as stress-free as possible.
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2. Stay Calm
The anticipation of visiting a new or favorite spot can lead to overly ambitious scheduling. You may feel like you should see a certain selection of sites, or perhaps you want to do anything and everything on offer to get the most out of your trip. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for burnout, and surely to end in discomfort.
One of the keys to managing menopause is learning how and when to rest. You’re more prone to stress and fatigue, and those in turn make you more vulnerable to other menopause discomforts, like hot flashes and anxiety. Try to balance your time with a “one on, one off” approach: plan a full day of sightseeing, body surfing, or whatever high-energy activity you like, and take the next day to read, relax, and regroup.
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3. Stay Cool
Planning a trip to a tropical destination is pretty tempting when the weather turns cooler at home, but consider how the temperature change will affect you. If you’ve been fighting hot flashes lately, you may want to reconsider a stretch on a piping hot beach.
A good option for a bit of sun without the heavy humidity and scorching heat? A mountain escape, where the altitude is high enough to promise a refreshing atmosphere, and the bright sunshine will bring a heaping dose of vitamin D.
If you have your heart set on an island getaway, consider resorts with a good deal of shaded areas and lots of swimming pool space so you won’t have any trouble cooling off.
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4. Stick to Natural Clothing
Shopping for a new outfit or two is a fun way to get into vacation mode, but choose your fabric wisely. Synthetics are terrible for air circulation, which can spell trouble for hot flashes. Cotton, silk, linen, and hemp are best for warmer climates, especially if the fabric has a looser weave.
If you’re packing for cooler weather, stock up on merino wool base layers. This thin wool is incredibly soft and comfortable to wear against your skin, and it will wick sweat away to keep you warm and dry. A long sleeved merino shirt and some tights should be staples in any hiker’s wardrobe.
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5. Focus on Your Sleep
Night sweats and hot flashes can make it difficult to get some decent shut-eye when you’re at home, so a strange bed and different sleeping environment can pose quite a challenge. Stack the deck in your favor by preparing for the worst while you set the stage for better slumber.
If you have a favorite pair of pajamas or nightgown, pack at least two extra changes of that. You want to be as comfortable as possible, and if you wind up sweating through your clothes in the middle of the night, you can simply change them. Couple your comfy sleepwear with a light (but opaque) sleep mask and a bit of lavender essential oil to rub on your temples right before you hit the hay.
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6. Choose the Right Treat
Vacations usually bring a lot of opportunity for indulgence, and it’s perfectly alright to take advantage of that. However, how you choose to indulge and unwind can either take a big toll on your body, or help to relieve your nagging menopause symptoms.
When it comes to treating yourself, think about relaxing rather than consuming. Alcohol and rich, exotic food can trigger hot flashes and fatigue, so try to limit your intake. Stick to a glass of wine with a healthy dinner, and indulge the rest of your senses with an aromatherapy massage or a head-to-toe spa treatment. The more relaxed you stay, the less chance your symptoms will begin to interfere.
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7. Work in Some Workouts
You’ve likely heard that exercise is good for menopause symptoms, and that’s absolutely correct. Studies show that menopausal women who exercise regularly have fewer hot flashes and more energy. So, you should find a way to include some activity in each and every day, regardless of your vacation style.
If your hotel has a gym, that makes things nice and easy — hit the stationary bike or elliptical for a half hour each morning, and reap the rewards for the rest of the day. Alternatively, plan a hike, walk, swim, or other activity in the mid afternoon, when you may feel your energy start to drain. A little boost of endorphins can keep you awake and comfortable for the rest of the evening.
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8. Take Along Some Helpful Supplements
There’s no firm evidence to support that herbal supplements can take care of menopause symptoms completely, but some women find certain natural remedies to be quite helpful.
Iron supplements can be a smart idea, especially if you’re prone to anemia and you expect your diet to lag a bit during your vacation. Magnesium spray is another handy addition to your arsenal: as you age, your body doesn’t absorb magnesium quite as well, and supplementing with a diluted spray can reduce cramps, restore energy, and improve your sleep.
Your comfort should be your number one concern on your vacation, but now is not the time to try new medicines or drastic dietary changes. You know your body and how it responds to different conditions, so work with that knowledge and give yourself time and space whenever you need to regroup.
Don’t let the occasional hot flash or mood swing ruin your time — try to go with the flow, and don’t expect too much of yourself.
Learn more about the fabulous herbs for menopause symptoms over at NewLifeOutlook.