Qualified Psychologist, Reflexologist And Inventor Of Menomagic Steven Crumblehulme Ask The Expert

StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert
edited June 17 in Ask the Menopause Experts
Steven Crumblehulme, Qualified Psychologist, Reflexologist and Inventor of Menomagic
Joins the Community to help you live better when coping with stress and anxiety

Ask your Questions Now

My name is Steven Crumblehulme and I am a Psychologist, Reflexologist and creator of Menomagic, a natural, paraben-free and vegan-friendly cream with a blend of essential oils to help maintain your wellbeing in the menopause.

I am here to offer advice and provide strategies to help minimise the feelings of stress and anxiety, through breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises and neuro-linguistic programming exercises to help you feel more resilient.

Having started my journey as an Assistant Psychologist in 2002, working with Professor Maggie Snowling in her Centre for Reading and Language at the University of York, I then fell into lecturing and taught Psychology for 17 years.  It was during my time teaching that I trained as a Complementary Therapist, with a particular interest in Reflexology.  This training led me to run my own private practice in Cheltenham, Sole Therapies, and run my own Complementary Therapies School, delivering the ABC Awards Diploma in Reflexology, for many years.


During my time as a Psychologist and Reflexologist, Stress and Anxiety have been at the forefront of what I’ve taught about and an issue faced by most of my clients – and there is a difference between these two words. Stress is the body’s physiological response to a stressor, or trigger, in the environment, due to a release of adrenaline (such as an increase in heart rate, pupil dilation, decrease in digestive function). Its effect is usually short-term but constant stress can leave us feeling exhausted. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the psychological effect of that stress, and this can be experienced long after the stressor has gone.  Symptoms of anxiety include fear, panic, anger, frustration and nervousness.

Ask Steven a questions about

Stress, Anxiety and Menopause below

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Comments

  • KazKaz Posts: 482 mod

    Welcome @Steven ,

    It's lovely to have another expert onboard to help us 😊

    I've been a fan and have used Menomagic for a while now, and it's really interesting to see everything else that you do.

    Lots of us talk about the stress and anxiety (as well as all the other symptoms!) that can come along with the menopause. It's brilliant that we have someone who can offer suggestions either as an alternative for those who can't or don't want to use HRT, or strategies to work alongside HRT.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the questions that come your way! 🙏

  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert

    Hi @Kaz,

    Many thanks! I'm so pleased you're a fan of my Menomagic cream. Stress and anxiety are such common issues and, often, there are some simple strategies that can be very effective, so I'm hoping to be able to help in any way I can.

    Enjoy your weekend,

    Steven 😃

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
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  • Char20Char20 Posts: 1

    My problem is I get so anxious about every situation or event,thinking up all these different scenarios that could go wrong to try and prepare myself for the worst and then it doesn’t happen anyway! I’ve always been a worrier but since I’ve been peri menopausal it’s got a lot worse and it’s really affecting my life! Have you any tips that could help?

  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert

    Hi @Char20

    This is more common than you may think, so you're not alone. And, with the start of hormonal shifts of peri-menopause, any thinking pattern you've developed will, no doubt, be exacerbated.

    One tip is to follow an exercise that can help to re-programme how you negatively interpret information, and focus your mind on an alternate train of thought. Try to identify three things a day you are grateful for - initially, this may be a challenge, but it gets much easier each day. They can never be the same things, but can be anything as simple as seeing a blue sky, hearing the birds, seeing a friend for lunch, etc. I find it is even more effective if you write them down, then you can look back on them often. Research shows that, after 21 days, the neural pathways in your brain 'change track' and you start to have a shift in perception. So, you may not consider, or think about, worst case scenarios. If you see a difference, but you still get these thoughts creeping in after 21 days, just keep going with the exercise until these thoughts get less and less. Essentially, you're training your brain to think differently and, just like going to the gym to tone up and lose weight, it won't happen overnight - but this is one of the most effective strategies you could test out.

    Do let me know how you get on :)

    Best wishes,

    Steven :)

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
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  • Max1968Max1968 Posts: 3

    Hi Steven

    I'm tapering off my sertraline slowly,as gp advises, and my anxiety is getting stronger and flushes worse too

    any advice on how to cope with these side effects on top of Perimenopause?

    I have a hormonal 15 year daughter, so call this the house of hormones 😔

    I have ms And find meditation my saving Grace, but determined to get off the sertraline...I'm natural all the way except that

    I find Cbd oil helps too

    thanx in advance

    Maxine x

  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert

    Hi @Max1968

    Thanks for your message - as you're coming off Sertraline, you will become more aware of your shifting hormones, which can trigger anxiety, which can then, in turn, make your experience of hot flushes worse.

    Meditation is a great strategy and I'm pleased to hear you're finding this effective. Related to this is a breathing technique known as 4-7-8. This has come from yoga and it is believed to act as a natural tranquilzer for the nervous system because the fresh oxygen you get into your body can help to kick start the parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and digest state). This can then calm your anxiety, which can help to calm your hot flushes.

    To use this technique, you need to place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and at the back of your front teeth. You then breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and breathe out of your mouth (making a whooshing sound) for 8 seconds. To begin with, it is best to repeat this only 4-5 times sat or lying down. The more you practice this, the more powerful it becomes, and you will also be able to repeat the sequence up to 8-10 times (the optimum to aim for).

    When you feel your anxiety developing, you can use this breathing technique to help calm you and, with repetition, you can condition yourself to do this automatically when you register anxiety building.

    Another tip is the one I posted above your comment about identifying three things you're grateful for each day for 21 days, which helps to re-programme how your mind thinks (see above).

    Hope this helps - best wishes,

    Steven :)

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
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  • Max1968Max1968 Posts: 3

    Wow!! Would you believe I already knew about 478 and had forgotten to use 😔 thanks!!!

    And for your explanation on sertraline effects🙌🙏

    would meno magic be helpful for me atm???

    THANK you

    Maxine

  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert

    Hi @Max1968

    You're welcome, I hope it helps 😃

    Yes, Menomagic could be helpful for you - the cream is aimed at cooling your skin down during a hot flush, with many saying that the flush is taken out within a few seconds. If you experience flushes starting at your feet, it is best to apply the cream to the pulse points on your wrists, rub together and release. If you feel them more in your head/upper body, then it is best to apply the cream behind the ears to help cool you. The essential oils are also great to aid relaxation and reduce anxiety, so many clients will apply cream to their pulse points and breathe in the scent, which they find very calming.

    Best wishes, Maxine 😃

    Steven

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
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  • HugojackHugojack Posts: 2
    This phase is very emotional in every woman's life.I hope everyone suffering from this phase is doing well now and has not been a victim of depression.
  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert
    Very true, and many GPs often mistake the menopause for depression as depressive like symptoms are very common at this time. I'm hopeful that, with all the education that is coming out, GPs will be in a better position to distinguish between the two. 

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
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  • Casper123Casper123 Posts: 4
    hello Steven. I am suffering with the menopause with low mood mostly, I have started HRT but not sure if I should be taking anti-depressants too as I have an on going health issue which is tormenting me too and making me very anxious. I do try and meditate and relax but feel uptight when I’m doing that!.. any suggestions would be gratefully received 😊
  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert
    Hi @Casper123,

    What strategies are you using to meditate? With any technique, it can sometimes take a bit of practice until you feel the calming effects. A couple of suggestions I've mentioned previously involve a calming breathing technique, called 4-7-8, where you breathe in for 4 seconds (through the nose), hold for 7 seconds and then breathe out through the mouth (with your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth and against the back of your top teeth). Doing this for a minute or so can calm you because it can alter the level of oxygen in your body, and focuses your attention.

    Another great strategy for improving mood is an NLP strategy, which has been really effective with my Reflexology clients that either want to reduce their dose of anti depressants or don't want to go on them, but struggle with their mood. 

    The aim is to re-programme how you negatively interpret information, and focus your mind on an alternate train of thought. Try to identify three things a day you are grateful for - initially, this may be a challenge, but it gets much easier each day. They can never be the same things, but can be anything as simple as seeing a blue sky, hearing the birds, seeing a friend for lunch, etc. I find it is even more effective if you write them down, then you can look back on them often. Research shows that, after 21 days, the neural pathways in your brain 'change track' and you start to have a shift in perception. So, you may not consider, or think about, worst case scenarios. If you see a difference, but you still get these thoughts creeping in after 21 days, just keep going with the exercise until these thoughts get less and less. Essentially, you're training your brain to think differently and, just like going to the gym to tone up and lose weight, it won't happen overnight - but this is one of the most effective strategies you could test out.

    Hopefully, whatever your other ongoing health issue is, this sort of technique might help to distract your mind from focusing on it. 

    Let me know if you have any questions about this. 

    Best wishes, 
    Steven

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
    Instagram Menomagic


  • Casper123Casper123 Posts: 4
    Thank you Ian. I shall take your suggestions and try them and keep at it, what I don't always tend to do.
    I practice mindfulness, most days and concentrate on the anxiety part. 
  • Casper123Casper123 Posts: 4
    Steven sorry
  • Kaka2837Kaka2837 Posts: 2

    Hi Ian

    I wonder if you have any suggestions to help. I will randomly get an overwhelming feeling of anxiety run through my body that increases in intensity. This feeling can come mainly in the evening/night. I can be sitting without any feeling or thoughts of worry then it’s like a small bomb in the pit of my stomach explodes and the anxiety feeling appears and intensifies. I will then have an underlying feeling of fear for the rest of the night. I also get this very intensely wired feeling as I am falling asleep that comes from nowhere. Preventing me from sleeping and leaving me with racing heart. These episodes come out of the blue and don’t appear to have triggers or any regularity but are very unpleasant to experience. Any ideas or tips to help?

    Many thanks

  • StevenSteven Posts: 9 Menopause Anxiety & Stress Expert

    Hi @Kaka2837

    I suspect that these random periods of anxiety are being triggered by physiological shifts in hormones during the menopause, which temporarily put your body into a state of fight or flight. This means that your body feels stressed, which your mind then interprets as something wrong. Whilst the physiological change won't last long, it is the perception you have that makes the feeling of anxiety persist. My overall suggestion is to see if you can acknowledge to yourself that the anxiety you feel is simply due to shifting hormones and your body is rebalancing, but may need 10-15 minutes, but that this is normal and nothing to worry about. Also, during one of these periods, you can try a couple of exercises to help take your mind of it so that once your internal state has returned to normal, your mind will also be calm. For example, you could try mindfulness, where you focus on things in the present. If you were sat on your sofa when this happened, for example, you could focus your attention to how your feet feel on the floor, then move up to how your back feels against the sofa, or how your arms feel resting on a cushion. You could also practise deep breathing to help calm the mind, such as breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 7 and then breathing out for 8. This helps to change levels of oxygen in the body and calms it rigtt down.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes,

    Steven :)

    Check Out Menomagic to find out more about tackling hot flushes
    Follow Menomagic & Sole Therapies on Facebook
    Instagram Menomagic


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