This month this blog can't come soon enough, I'm seeing irritability levels around me rise in the last week or so and it's still a couple of weeks before the real Spring energy kicks in! In Chinese medicine the energies correspond to the seasons and though we're still in winter the energy of Spring starts to rise now. Snow drops are out and Daffodils are sprouting so we know it's coming. Spring energy is a thrusting energy so it's coming whether we or the winter weather want to acknowledge it. The earth is cyclical and with that comes this energy and the urge to get moving. This energy manifests as impatience, frustration and outright irritability leading to angry outbursts... Is this sounding familiar? In the years of menopause transition one of the noticeable symptoms is the ease with which you can get angry (oh, me too!) so let's delve into the wisdom that is Chinese medicine for this month's blog: Help me reduce my menopause irritability naturally!
Help me reduce my menopause irritability naturally!
This maybe new to you, it can be as if overnight you've turned into this dragon, with angry outbursts seemingly coming from nowhere and suddenly biting off your kids and colleagues heads and making your hubbie/partner run for cover. You may really not like yourself at this point and I get it. I feel so guilty if I've shouted at the dog, I spend a week trying to then be on my best behaviour; but once in a while it slips out. This uncontrollable shaking, instantaneous rage that takes over and you let loose with all your bile and then you feel a bit shamefaced afterwards? I've been there and a lot of my clients feel so bad when they first come for treatment as they say: My poor husband, he really gets it full blast from me and I don't know why I'm like it?
The great news is that a lot of this can be resolved physically because it's mainly a physical issue! I know right now that doesn't make sense: How can anger sprout from a physical imbalance in your body? That's what I'm going to explain and that then leads nicely to how to rebalance your emotions to lessen your irritability.
In Chinese medicine anger resonates with your Liver
Anyone who's followed me long enough knows that I keep coming back to this vital organ - Your Liver. And you may not have noticed but we talk about liver more so at a certain point in the year and this is Spring.
Spring energy is a thrusting assertive energy it's a time of year you're more likely to speak your mind than any other. Tune into how you feel at the moment, I bet it's not the nostalgic family-loving heart-warming feeling you had 2 months ago in the lead up to Christmas? Nope, the energy has changed into action, and on a positive note - creativity. You're more likely to start projects and see them through to the end at this time of the year and you have the energy to make changes and seek out new options. It's a great time of year for getting going on all that is good and seeing it through to the end; and it's a great time of year to combat your menopause symptoms.
This energy though, can bring along with it impatience and frustration, and so you lose it at any little annoying thing that happens whether it's your computer, your dog or a shop assistance; you can just snap! It can come as a bit of a shock if this is a new thing and you wonder where this new you has appeared from.
How to resolve your menopause irritability
You have excess energy bubbling up inside of you and it's become uncontrollable. You expend this energy by shouting at others or you take it out on yourself by trying to physically exhaust yourself to calm your mind, thoughts and irritation. None of this is good because it’s depleting you of vital energy you need to heal your body.
Looking at the image above there are a set of associations that link with Spring. In Chinese medicine (TCM) this is the season of the wood element and as well as getting ratty you may also find your eyes are fuzzier, that you're craving green veg or citrus fruits like lime. You may crave this sour flavour or you may even belch and it has a sourness to it. You may have low level nausea,, or get a ligament or tendon injury when you exercise; these can all be linked in TCM.
Think about a tree, a healthy tree can bend in the wind, it's strong but flexible; this is what I want you to be. Anger comes out of an inflexible state so it's about getting your mind back to being easy going and body back to being supple and bendy.
To relieve irritability completely will require you to work on yourself,, on multiple levels; but if you put in some effort the resuts are not only great but stand you in a very good position for your overall health from now on.
Here are my top tips for helping you relieve your irritability gently and holistically which will leave you feeling more energised and calmer which is the best possible outcome; and overall will help you have a far better menopause transition!
It’s no coincidence that roses are prevalent at this time of the year apart from the obvious I love you stuff. Rose oil resonates with the liver and softens/relieves anger. I find this in my practise that if a woman loves rose often she doesn’t realise she’s angry about something or may never get angry. Inhaling the scent of rose eases the tension and calms the spirit. Do you love the smell of rose? If so it maybe worth investing in a drop that you can have with you. It’s extremely expensive so invest in a hand cream that has real essential oil in it for starters! Remember to inhale first and you may not even need to apply but if you do just massage a small pea-sized amount into your inner wrist and let it do it’s job so you feel a relief.
I’m also a fan of rose water, I spritz it on my face first thing every morning. It balances the pH levels in your skin and kick starts your day with a beautiful scent. As long as the rose you’re sniffing comes from a real rose extract (i.e. not chemical) you will feel the therapeutic benefits from it.
Lime and grapefruit essential oils are also great for the liver. These are for physical cleansing of the liver and if you love the scent of them then your liver would appreciate a detox on some level. This is why it’s great to start with essential oils they indicate the next steps in your health journey. I was obsessed with lime and grapefruit for years. Since detoxing I’m not so fussed about grapefruit as the job is now done, but I still love anything that is lime flavoured so my liver is always asking for help. In fact most citrus oils will help your liver to some degree but their scent is also very uplifting and can work in a matter of seconds so have a sniff and decide your favourite and you have another tool in your kit for lifting your moods.
Inhaling essential oils and their physiological and emotional associations is called Pharmacognosy – using plants as your medicine.
Check out Jodi Cohen book – Essential oils to boost the brain and heal the body
Note: Grapefruit is often contraindicated with western medicine so please check before you use and consult a health professional if you’re unsure.
I developed Blossom cream from a tried and tested (on over 200 women) blend of essential oils to help relieve heat symptoms and calm anxiety down. It includes lime essential oil to help you keep your liver under control day and night and uplift your moods too. Blossom cream may help you get a better night's sleep, relieve night sweats, hot flushes calm anxiety and ease irritability.
The more you can do to detox and support the smooth running of your physical liver the more you’ll help calm your irritability. You’ll more than likely have some liver-associated symptoms if you’re really feeling the anger. These can be: night sweats, nausea, stomach issues/gas, migraines, tendon/ligament issues; a struggling liver is the root cause of a majority of hormone imbalances and even thyroid issues.
Your liver is a giant filter it’s the hardest working organ in the body and when it’s clogged up it let’s you know this by giving you symptoms. These symptoms are called Excess ones in TCM and are mainly heat or dry based. You’ll feel hotter if you have liver symptoms and in bed you’ll not want to lie on your right hand side as you heat up too quickly. The good news is that excess symptoms are easier and quicker to relieve than chronic deficient ones like fatigue.
The more symptoms you have, the more your liver is struggling. If you’re loving lemon and lime then this is your body trying to detox itself and these do help; like half a lemon squeezed into water first thing in the morning.
Your liver would appreciate a detox once in a while and daily support with liver herbs. A liver detox is when you reduce the load on your liver as much as possible so that it has a chance to recover. Then you support it with a liver herbal blend that helps it cleanse itself and then you start to feel the benefits. The good news is that because this is an excess condition, meaning you’re removing something from the body you can start to feel the benefits in a little as a week or two; depending on how much you eliminate from your diet. All sugar should be cut out and I’m surprised that people rarely understand that fruit is sugar! In cutting out sugar you’ll need to remove alcohol, sugar drinks, sugar, fruit, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread – they are all sugar. Plus lowering/cut out dairy can be really beneficial but not critical for a basic every day liver detox.
Liver herbs are greenery like artichoke, dandelion, milk thistle plus roots like liquorice. If you want to get a good blend then I have a Liver support in my free supplements guide here.
In helping your liver to filter freely again you’ll not only reduce your irritability levels you will be doing something incredibly beneficial for your health. Your liver filters out all the toxins removed from your body, if it can’t do this toxins recirculate and get stuck in places like breast tissue and this could lead to cancer. Help your liver health and you help your whole health.
Take the pain out of finding out how to do a liver detox - Get my liver detox guide here to take you through your detox step by step!
We’ve done the physical clean up to help your liver but maybe you’re still pretty snappy! This is where Qi Gong can help it’s like a meditation for people that can’t meditate. If you can’t sit and be present and tune into your inner calmness which I suspect many wound-up people can’t then this is a great way to do it; as you do it through movement. Qi Gong is a bit like Tai Chi but can be a bit more energetic, especially the warm up. Once you get into the flow of things you start to realise you feel calmer as you’ve had to focus on the movement. The outcome of Qi Gong is that you’ve done a physical exercise without exhausting yourself; in fact you may feel more energised! You will feel calmer and less likely to explode today and your Qi (Chee) will be flowing better as your liver has been massaged and this aids the detoxification process. You may sleep better just from doing Qi Gong.
Holistic therapies to help relieve menopause irritability
Most holistic therapies will help calm you down to feel less readily irritable but I would still do the liver detox to some degree anyway, especially if you have a list of menopause symptoms like night sweats,, hot flushes and more.
Therapies can help your body detox; my therapy Shiatsu certainly can! There are therapies that you receive like Shiatsu and reflexology,, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and reiki and there are those that you are taught how to do likke EFT (emotional freedom tapping) breathwork and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). EFT taps into the meridians literally whilst you say some mantras and it’s a therapy you really get or you don’t.. Breathwork is going to be very powerful in helping you get to deep seated anger issues and releasing them, often back to childhood where most anger issues arise from. CBT is more of a coping mechanism for everyday life but doesn’t get to the cause of the issue.
Bach flower remedies are a go-to to help support you emotionally. There are 38 remedies and a selection of these are blended together specifically for your needs and their aim is to bring you back to calm and emotional balance. There are a few in there for different types of anger plus high energy, fear, frustration and more making them a beneficial remedy to seek out root causes of your overall emotions and so bring your anger levels down gently.
You can see that with holistic therapies there is space in your life for more than one!
Help me reduce my menopause irritability summary!
No one thing on its own will do the complete task though a liver detox is a very good start and if you can keep on taking a herbal liver support then you’re looking at improving your overall health for life. Looking at your menopause from a holistic point of view adding in your preferred therapy, eating mindfully, choosing exercises that are restorative and calming plus having essential oils /Bach flower remedies will all help. You will find you have peace of mind that you’re not going to be so wound up and irritable; and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find you have reduced more symptoms than you originally intended as no one symptom is in isolation.
Would you like help reducing menopause irritability and other symptoms?
Andrea offers a holistic consultation to help you reduce your symptoms whether menopause or health related naturally and effectively. This is done with the wisdom of Chinese medicine which views your unique energy patterns and enables Andrea to create a plan with simple steps for you to follow to achieve your goals. If you’re ready to take action and would like to know how to go about this read more here
Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and for good. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an actionable plan to follow. Andrea is also passionate about doing workplace talks and is organising Gloucestershire's first Menopause Fayre on April 18th at Brickhampton Court.