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The peri-menopause and alcohol

Updated: Jan 13

Woman meditating

If you are a woman of a certain age, as I am now, you might be experiencing symptoms of the peri-menopause. Whilst some of us seem to sail through it unaided, I suffered from crippling anxiety, disturbed sleep, bloating, demotivation, depression and mood swings. It was absolutely horrific, and it almost cost me my job, my marriage and even my sanity. Like many, I drank to block out the anxiety and stress, and to block out all the bad thoughts in my head and feelings of inadequacy.

The issue here is alcohol has been shown to make symptoms much worse, and it has the added effect of the dynorphin cycle which causes more anxiety as your body tries to maintain equilibrium after a drink and come down from the affects of alcohol. No fun at all.

I was desperate for it all to stop, and I was unable to take HRT due to family history. I felt as though I was losing myself, and I just wanted to feel like my normal, bubbly self again. I needed my sleep, which had previously come so easily. And I was desperate to be able to handle the stress and pressures of my high flying job, instead of snapping at colleagues and bursting into tears at least twice a week over something fairly menial. I was the only woman in my team at work, and whilst they were sympathetic for the most part you could see they were tiring of my outbursts.

I would have tried absolutely anything to feel "normal" again, and one of the first things I tried was giving up alcohol.

The results were quite simply miraculous. The anxiety, whilst still around, had halved within days, meaning my emotional outbursts were a lot less frequent. For a few days my sleep became more erratic, but after that it was a lot better. I was waking up far less often, and my dreams were vivid and bright. I would wake up far more refreshed and ready for the day each morning.

My skin looked a lot better very quickly, and my eyes brighter. I had fewer breakouts and makeup went on easier. My eyelashes grew too. My teeth looked whiter and my ankles were less puffy, it was amazing. Like an expensive beauty treatment where I had received money back instead of spending a fortune! The amount of money I saved in just four weeks was fantastic - enough for an expensive treat. I chose a massage, a pedicure and to have my eyebrows done, which meant I looked and felt even better! I now book something every month as a treat for living a healthier life, and I love how luxurious this feels.

I became more motivated, both at work and at home, and took up a challenging study course to better myself. I walked more, and exercised, and appreciated the world around me as I walked, noticing the wildlife and the beauty of my surroundings. Previously I had trudged through fields, feeling I had to exercise, feeling like it was a chore. I played music more often, singing along loudly to euphoric tunes, and tidied my house more. I was a better work colleague, and I was better focused. I became a kinder human being. A better mum and wife.

It was not the cure-all for my peri-menopausal symptoms, but it was a fantastic, huge leap towards feeling so much better, and it was definitely the beginning of my journey back to being me. I am so grateful for being free from feeling like I need to drink every day, or at all.

I highly recommend you give a break a try, especially if you are suffering from peri-menopausal symptoms. Let me know how you get on!

Amanda x

Zero fierce & proud

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