This week, menopause at work has been in the headlines with experts saying employers need to do more to “normalise conversations” about the menopause in the workplace.
The comments came after a BBC survey found 70% of respondents did not tell their bosses they were experiencing symptoms.
Some firms have brought in menopause-specific policies but experts said for many it was still a taboo subject.
There’s no denying that menopause is tough, and for many women at midlife, they have to handle their difficult symptoms while working a full-time job.
With this in mind, this week’s ‘Weekly Wisdom’ is about how to cope with menopausal symptoms in the workplace.
In my Real Cost of Menopause survey, I found that 84% of the women interviewed, equal to about 8 million working women in the UK, believe their productivity at work was reduced because of menopause. Meanwhile, 75% feel that their productivity is reduced for over a week every month, which equates to 280 million less productive work days per year in the UK.
Yet only 20% admitted to taking time off to deal with their symptoms. This means that day after day, millions of women are working through tension headaches, fatigue, depression, foggy memory, mood swings, and many other menopause symptoms without saying a word.
Even though you shouldn’t feel as if you need to hide your symptoms, here are a few tips to help you deal with menopause at work…
- Eat a wholesome diet little and often
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re having a wholesome diet and that you’re eating little and often because unless you’re supplying your body with nutrients you won’t be able to function or concentrate at work.
- Consume naturally occurring oestrogen
You also need to have plenty of foods that contain naturally-occurring oestrogen, so soy milk, soy yogurt, edamame beans, linseeds or flaxseeds. All these things contain naturally-occurring oestrogen, which is so similar to oestrogen that you had circulating before menopause, so you can fool your brain to think you’ve got normal circulating oestrogen again.
- Pack nutritious snacks
You need a constant supply of good nutrients going through to your brain and your nervous system to keep your hormones functioning normally, so skip the vending machine or the cafeteria and pack your own, nutrient-rich lunches.
Another thing that you can do to help yourself to control your symptoms is to do some regular relaxation, as this has been shown to reduce your hot flushes by as much as 50 or 60%. Those are the things that really embarrass us in the workplace because everyone can see that you’re sweating and that you’re going red in the face, so you want to try and deal with that as quickly as you can.
- Layer your clothing
We can’t always control the temperature in the workplace so it’s important to layer your clothing so that if you go into environments where you’re feeling hot or cold and others are not, you can easily peel them off without drawing attention to yourself. Sometimes after a flush you can get chilled so you need to be able to put on another layer.
- Talk to your colleagues
Many women are afraid to bring up the ‘M word’ in front of their managers or bosses, especially if they’re younger or male. It’s considered an embarrassing, taboo topic, and women fear that their unavoidable situation will be linked to their performance.
However, you really do need to communicate to your manager and colleagues to let them know you’re going through a transition, just as you would if you were pregnant or having a bad day with your period. You have every right to have support in the workplace.
To find out more about what’s really going on in your body at the time of the menopause and how you can overcome symptoms without having to take HRT or any drugs. join me at my next free MasterClass.