3 ways the vagus nerve can help with stress during the menopause
One of the most important things you can do as a woman in your 40s and 50s who is reaching menopause is to learn how to switch on your stress reset button, aka the vagus nerve.
Well, the decline in your progesterone and estrogen levels can affect your nervous system. So, managing your stress levels and building the resilience of your nervous system goes a long way to improve your overall health during menopause and can help to alleviate mood swings, interrupted sleep, and brain fog.
The vagus nerve is the main part of your parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that controls your body’s ability to relax. And by helping to “activate” the vagus nerve we can help to move our bodies away from stress and towards rest and relaxation.
And how do you “switch on” the vagus nerve? By sending it signals of calm and safety.
Get outside in nature
Green spaces have been shown to help our parasympathetic nervous system, both whilst we are in nature and for hours afterwards. So try and get out in nature daily. This could be walking in a park or forest, sitting in your garden, running on the trails, anything that gets you outside amongst the trees and plants.
Build your community
Being with other people, whether that is a partner, family or friends, and even spending time with your pet, releases oxytocin. This hormone engages the vagus nerve and helps bring that calmness to our lives, leading to less stress and a general feeling of wellbeing, which is so important during the menopause transition. And you can combine spending time with your friends and family outdoors in nature to get double the benefit.
Breathe in, Breathe out
Breathing techniques, especially those with long exhales, help to activate the vagus nerve and lower our stress levels. It doesn’t have to be anything very complicated and can be done any time you start to feel stressed. Try a 4, 7, 8 breath where you breathe in for 4, hold for 7 and exhale for 8.
Allowing ourselves to destress, relax, rest and recover is so important during the perimenopause to menopause transition that it is a foundation of Flourish, my 12 week positive menopause programme. We start with rest so we can build that foundation of good health for now and for our future selves.
So if you want to feel realxed, vital and thrive during this time, then Flourish may be just the thing to help.