The Hot Flush Rapid Response Kit

How to get though a hot flush during the peri/menopause

Simona Stokes – Counselling Psychologist, Menopause CBT Specialist 

Do you feel that your sleep has been ruined by night sweats and hot flushes? Have you found yourself saying ‘No’ to things you’d love to do, because you worry about sweating too much? Are you feeling that your life is ruled by the hot flushes? Hot flushes and night sweats are one of the main symptoms’ women experience when going through the menopausal transition and they can be very disruptive to our lives. You might have tried various remedies to reduce their impact on your life, but you probably are still getting them and not sure what else you can do to get though another round of sweating when you least expect it.

You may have wondered ‘How can psychology help with the hot flushes?’ and ‘How reading this pamphlet is going to help me?’. The truth is that hot flushes are a reality for most women going through the menopause and I wish I can wave a magic wand to cure us all of the pain of having to go through this experience. But as I don’t have a magic wand, the next best thing I can do, is share with you 6 amazingly simple strategies that can help you change how you react to hot flushes so you can set yourself free from the struggle with the menopause ‘Sweaty Monster’.

The 6-point response guide to hot flushes

The guide below gives you the step-by-step approach to set yourself free from the emotional suffering inflicted on you by the Sweaty Monster. 

1. Breathe – To activate the natural body calming response, breathe slowly and deeply, in through your nose, and out through your mouth in a steady rhythm. Make your out-breath twice as long as the in-breath. To do this you may find helpful to count slowly “one, two” as you breathe in, and “one, two, three, four” as you breathe out. Aim to get counting to 4 breathing in and count to 7 as you breathe out. 

2. Notice the thoughts as they arise but don’t get caught into them – our thoughts and feelings are real, but they don’t have to dictate what we do, they are not directives. If you notice your mind judging the symptom, take a deep breath and return to notice with curiosity the experience of having a hot flush. This step ensure that our thinking does not add the stress of having a hot flush 

3. Recognise the stories your mind tells you about the symptom and the stage of life you are at. Notice how the mind makes these stories the centre of your identity, but recognise, they are just stories, they don’t need to define you. You don’t need to believe them, spend time with them or take their lead. 

4. Redirect your attention to the activity that you were doing before the hot flush. Consider what is the priority in that moment and what matters most at that time (self-care, family, work) Allow yourself to let go of any other thoughts, park them and give yourself permission to focus on the current task or priority. 

5. Be compassionate and kind towards yourself when dealing with difficult feelings associated with hot flushes. Recognised and acknowledge the impact the hot flush has on you and provide yourself with validation, reassurance and kind words. 

6. Allow the hot flush to unfold and avoid judging the experience – notice the hot flushes, explore them with curiosity and watch them as they change. We don’t need to pretend that they feel good, or that the symptom is meaningless. We just need to allow them as it’s not possible to get rid of them while we are in a middle of one.

 

Using these tips does not mean the symptoms will go
away or they will feel good. The whole point of using
these strategies is to ensure that our thinking does not
add to the stress of having a hot flush and we don’t end
up in a struggle with a symptom that will take its course no matter how much we want it to go away.

For more information and resources on hot flushes during the menopause please see:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/hot-flushes/

Hot Flushes Night Sweats on amazon

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