We are all now part of the Zoom phenomenon as we attend several meetings a day via video conference. For those of you in menopause there is still the question of how to deal with menopause at work even though you may not in the office. Menopause can still impact women’s work performance both on and off-screen.
One current benefit is that discussions of menopause in the workplace have finally reached mainstream in the US. When the Harvard Business Review is running articles like “It’s Time to Start Talking About Menopause at Work” we can see that times are changing. In order for the workplace to really start acknowledging the need to deal with menopause as a policy issue women need to demand it by talking about the fact of menopause and the impact that it has on day to day functioning in a matter-of-fact way. Sharing your experience of symptoms with female co-workers, asking how they are managing them and offering some of your own tips can begin to normalize the conversation.
Here are some tips for how to deal with menopause at work:
When you are on-screen you may be able to avoid the appearance of a hot-flash by having an out-of-site fan helping you stay cool. As always, I recommend having a glass of ice water handy to cool you down. By holding an ice-cold glass in your hand and sipping the cold water your temperature will go down and a hot-flash can be lessened or avoided all together.
You can more easily keep notes handy and off-camera to remind you of important points in your discussion when you are in a meeting. This can help get around the all too common issue of fog brain and lack of focus. Get out and go for a walk if you can. Even a brisk five to ten minute walk can help to clear your head.
Anxiety is an issue for many women in menopause and this can be exacerbated as we cope with the on-going COVID-19 crisis. Doing deep breathing exercises is one of the best ways to address anxiety. Deep-breathing or belly-breathing is done by taking a slow breath in through your nose to the slow count of four, holding your breath for a count of four and blowing your breath out your mouth for a slow count of four. Breathe deeply into your belly so that it expands with each breath. Do this six to eight for breaths several times a day. Taking some quiet time for yourself and writing in a journal can be useful as can making a list of things that you are grateful for can also center and calm you.
Night sweats and general insomnia can cause daytime fatigue and can be one of the more difficult symptoms of menopause to deal with when you are working. Again, exercise during the day can help with getting some sleep at night. However, do allow yourself to take a short break and take a nap if you can. Try to avoid loading up on caffeine during the day as it can trigger hot-flashes and can disturb your sleep at night.
Your diet can help with symptoms as well. Eating a healthy diet of lots of fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods is a good way to support your body in dealing with your shifting hormones.
Dry eyes can be one of the more challenging symptoms of menopause to deal with at work especially as you may be staring at a computer screen even more than usual these. Invest in some high quality eye-drops and use them as needed to avoid irritation.
And, finally, if you would like to speak with a menopause specialist you can find one in your area by going to the North American Menopause Society website and entering your zip code in the Find a Practitioner area.
Would you like a list of the 40 typical symptoms of menopause? You can get that here!
I am Dr. Barbara Mark, an executive, career development and life strategies coach for professional women in their 40s, 50s and 60s - the prime of life and the most dynamic decades of your professional life! If you would like some support in you career and/or your life please feel free to schedule a free consultation with me or sign up for my newsletter.
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