The menopause is a natural biological process. It occurs when your ovaries age and naturally produce lower levels of reproductive hormones.
The menopause may have a significant impact on home life and work performance. This can be unsettling, particularly if a particular role carries lots of responsibility.
The hormonal changes in the body can also seriously impact mental and emotional health. Symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Low mood or depression
- Stress and anxiety
Changes to one’s emotional and mental health can be the first sign of perimenopause.
Self-help measures, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, taking regular exercise and practising yoga or meditation, may help. A GP can also provide advice and assistance. This may involve talking therapies, medication or both.
In recent years, employers have become much better at recognising menopause as an important workplace issue.
‘Employers need to break the stigma and taboo surrounding the menopause at work and create an inclusive working environment where employees and managers feel confident to discuss any practical adjustments that may be needed.’ – Chartered Institute of Professional Development
If you are living with menopausal symptoms, notify your line manager or employer. Let them know what you are going through and how it’s making you feel. If your line manager isn’t understanding, speak to another manager or even the human resources department. Talk to your colleagues, too. Many of them may well know how you feel or have experience of supporting others.
Take steps to manage your symptoms, whether through lifestyle changes or medical treatment. A healthy lifestyle helps to manage the symptoms of menopause. This means:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well and exercising
- Avoiding too much alcohol or other substances
You can also:
- Be open with your partner about how the menopause curbs your sex drive
- Use lubricants to help with vaginal dryness
- Try meditation to reduce stress hormones and increase production of happy hormones, like serotonin and dopamine
- Maintain your social connections by seeing friends and family on a regular basis
- Seek support if you feel low and need to talk to someone
However you feel about the menopause, you may find physical events, such as mood changes and hot flushes, hard to manage. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for help. Speak to your GP if the menopause is affecting your life. Help is available.
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