Hot flashes come out of nowhere; one minute you're watering your garden, and the next, a heat wave that could rival Satan's breath hits you. Curse you, menopause. Hot flashes can disrupt your life (and even your sleep); they could be over in a minute, or last for a half hour. Don't let your hormones take over. Take back control of your life with these simple tips.
1. Dress for success (successfully making it through the darn hot flash, that is). Wear clothes that are a little loose in order to allow air circulation. And, give your body options: Wear a short-sleeve blouse underneath your blazer, that way if a hot flash does rear its ugly head, you can casually strip in the office. Also, try wearing clothes that wick away moisture from your skin. Polyester blends, which wick away moisture, are also great for not showing pit stains!
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2. Invest in Cleavage Coolers®. One of the best ways to cool your body down is to start at the core. Cleavage Coolers® are little ice packs for your bra. Stick the packs in the freezer, and when you feel your body start to heat up, slide one in your bra, where it will be close to the thymus gland. If you don't want to dole out the cash, wet a washcloth and place it in the fridge to use later on your neck.
3. Regulate your environment's temperature. Help your body temperature stay on the low side by keeping your thermostat at a relatively lower temperature (in the high 60s or low 70s). It's that time of the year when it's 84 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night. Take advantage of that! Open the windows when you hit the hay, and use light blankets. Find shady spots during the heat of the day so as to not confuse your internal body temperature. When winter starts to creep in behind autumn and you still find yourself struggling with the overwhelming heat surges, take a breather outside.
4. Drink plenty of water. You should already drink plenty of water throughout the day, but guzzling down a glass straight from the fridge could restore your internal body temperature to homeostasis. Check out these easy ways to drink more water.
5. Breathe. It's easy to get worked up when you feel overwhelmed with heat, but try to relax. Anxiety over a hot flash can actually worsen it, says this Healthy Women article. Employ steady breathing techniques, which can help lower your heart rate and in turn, lower your body's temperature. Kate Bracy, an RN and menopause expert, suggests taking deep, slow breaths as soon as you feel the onset of a hot flash. Expanding the rib cage may trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which will help regulate your temperature.
6. Say no to spicy. As you probably already know, hot flashes can and will be triggered by the smallest things: a cup of tea, a not-even-that-spicy curry dish, even alcohol. And although Thai and Indian food are thrills for the tastebuds, it's best not to risk a hot flash by eating spicy foods. Pay attention to what kinds of foods trigger your temperature to rise, and then try your best to adjust how often you eat those foods.
7. Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking is directly correlated to an increased number and increased severity of hot flashes. Smokers are about twice as likely to experience hot flashes than non-smokers. Avoid an all around harsher menopause by saying no to cancer sticks.