Menopause affects each woman in a different way, but it almost always affects their work. Dealing with it in a professional environment is difficult. However, there are some things that can make it easier.
Here’s how to prevent menopause from affecting your work:
- Take Breaks
- Communicate With Your Boss
- Minimize Stress
- Don’t Dwell On Your Mistakes
- Take Notes
- Do Something You Enjoy Every Day
- Don’t Skip Meals
- Seek Advice From Your GP
- Don’t Be Embarrassed
Aside from things you can do directly at work to prevent menopause interfering with your day, there are other elements of your life you can work on to make this period easier for you. Read on to learn some useful tips that will help keep menopause symptoms at bay.
Problems You May Experience
Menopause comes with several staple symptoms that may prevent a woman from doing her best work. Here’s more about them:
- Hot flashes. Each workspace has a certain temperature that may have worked for you before, but now that you’re going through menopause, it may be too high for you. Hot flashes don’t seem like a big problem, but they get very distracting, and you might even feel embarrassed. If you have to work in uniform or outside, this can increase the hot flashes as well.
- Tiredness. Fatigue and dizziness are common symptoms of menopause that are going to prove annoying. Some workplaces have a complete lack of breaks, which can further increase these symptoms.
- Frequent urination. This is another common symptom that can leave you suffering if you have no breaks. Some workplaces do offer more breaks, but if yours doesn’t, it can be a big issue.
- Stress and mood swings. Menopause symptoms are PMS symptoms on steroids, and you can expect mood swings to be the same. This can make your day at work terrible, especially if things get too stressful. This can be further increased by other people judging you or anything similar.
These symptoms often appear with some other, less noticeable symptoms like nausea, irregular periods, etc. Menopause is definitely not an easy process, but there are some things you can do to fix how you feel in the workplace.
How To Deal With Menopause Symptoms at Work
Ignoring the issues that come with menopause is not the best route to take, especially if you want to have an easier time. This is a real health problem, and just like any other, it deserves cooperation from your workplace. Here are some tips.
Not all workplaces have this option, which will make taking breaks a lot harder for you. Still, if you can steal a brief 5-minute break from your busy day every couple of hours, that would do wonders for you.
The best thing to do is to use the Pomodoro method and work for 25 minutes, after which you would take a 5-minute break. It doesn’t have to be special — you can close your eyes, stretch for a bit, or just sit or stand somewhere quiet.
This will help you fight off fatigue and stress, making the remainder of your day a bit easier.
Communicate With Your Boss
This is the most important step in making your menopause easier at work. Communicate with your supervisor, let them know what you are going through and what you may need. For instance, if your workplace doesn’t have breaks, you can ask them to allow you at least some. If you need a bit less workload for the next month or two, you should also ask them about it.
Menopause is a health problem, not something that can be brushed off, so you should be open about your needs, and your boss should allow you at least some benefits. You can also talk to your coworkers and let them know what’s happening. There may be more women with the same issue, or they may be able to help you go through this by taking on more work, covering for your breaks, etc.
Even the smallest improvements you can get, like lowering the temperature on the thermostat or opening the window during your office hours, could make your day easier. You might just be surprised by how people respond — most of them have a woman in their life that went through the same thing, so they could be more understanding than you think.
Strive to reduce the amount of stress. This may sound hard, but some things can be easy to avoid. For instance, avoid office spats or any gossip that could result in a bigger problem. Do your best work on time, to avoid getting stressed out over deadlines.
Discuss your workload with your manager and reduce it if possible.
If you can’t completely avoid stress, try to adjust your response to it. For example, step away and take ten deep breaths before you do anything else. Try to let go of anger or anxiety by reminding yourself that it’s not a life-or-death situation and that you can solve it if you calm down.
If someone tries to fight with you or say something bad, remove yourself from that situation and focus on something positive, whether it’s your hobby or your family waiting for you back home.
Another useful practice to substantially reduce overall stress is morning meditation. It doesn’t have to be very long – 20 minutes per day could be enough to rip the benefits of it.
Don’t Dwell On Your Mistakes
One of the triggers for stress and mood swings could be making a mistake. However, instead of focusing on it and overthinking, try to let it go.
Ask yourself whether you can do something immediately that can fix that mistake. If not, then it’s time to move on. If there is something you can do, do it. Mistakes happen to everyone, no matter their age and health, so keep that in mind and let go of any bad thoughts whenever possible.
A common symptom during menopause is bad memory. This can cause issues both at work and at home. This is why you should take up journaling. Write down anything of importance, or even the things that are not that important. It’s not just good for remembering things; it’s also great for stress relief and positivity.
Of course, it only works if you have it on hand all the time and if you check it every day. If a leather-bound journal seems too serious to you, you can also have a simple notepad and pen to write things down, or even type it in your notes app.
The important thing here is for these notes to help you and make your life easier.
Do Something You Enjoy Every Day
If work takes over your life, this can cause even more stress and make your symptoms worse. So, find an activity that you enjoy and do it every day. For example, this might be running. You can try to squeeze it in before work or do it later in the day. It might be knitting or writing, painting, playing music, or even taking a long bath.
As long as it makes you happy and excited, it works. You can look forward to it all day, and it can make it easier for you to go through the day.
Don’t Skip Meals
People often skip meals when they work. While this is not healthy, it probably wasn’t a big problem for you before. However, with menopause, eating properly is paramount. Skipping a meal can make you even more tired, anxious, and moody.
This is why you should carry snacks with you. Make sure that they are healthy, full of vitamins and minerals that you need. Don’t eat junk food or drink carbonated drinks. While these provide a quick solution and they can pick up your mood, they will make you crash later. So, stick to healthy things that will give you a boost.
Seek Advice From Your GP
It’s very important that you work with your doctor in handling menopause. They may be able to help you with some symptoms by giving you medication or personalized advice on what to do.
As soon as you start noticing the change, check-in with your GP and ask them about available treatments.
Don’t Be Embarrassed
Once you start going through menopause, it might be a bit embarrassing for you, even in front of your closest friends and family. But it’s crucial to remember that this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Menopause is perfectly normal, and it happens to every woman.
Even if you do show symptoms in front of your managers or coworkers, it’s not a big deal. It’s a health issue, and there’s not much you can do about it.
How To Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Aside from dealing with your symptoms directly at work, there are some things you can do every day to make your life easier during menopause.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight gain during menopause is very common, but it can only worsen the symptoms and make your life harder after menopause. However, there’s evidence that losing weight can help you alleviate the symptoms like hot flashes and cold sweats.
In fact, losing weight can also help you prevent heart issues and many other health problems later in life. Research has found that even losing 10lbs (4.5kg) can help relieve the symptoms.
Eat Healthy Foods
Good food is an essential element in keeping your symptoms under control and staying healthy as you age. For one, you should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. These can help you prevent heart disease and bone loss.
Next, you should drink enough water. Being dehydrated makes menopause symptoms even worse, and drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight and prevent weight gain.
It’s also important to take enough protein. For one, it can help you lose weight or, at the very least, prevent weight gain by making you feel fuller. It can also prevent muscle loss, which is important if you want to keep exercising and working without issues.
There are some crucial vitamins that could help alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Here they are:
- Vitamin D and Calcium. Both of these can help you reduce bone loss that happens during menopause. You can take them in supplements or through food like kale, spinach, fish, nuts and seeds, eggs, etc.
- Phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that have similar effects on the body like estrogen, and they can reduce hot flashes. Consume soybeans and other soy products, flaxseeds, tempeh, tofu, etc.
Finally, don’t skip any meals. It’s best if you have three full meals and two snacks to keep you fed and satisfied throughout the day. This can prevent fatigue and mood swings.
Avoid Unhealthy Trigger Foods
Just like there are great foods for you to eat during menopause, some can have adverse effects. For one, avoid refined sugars. There’s evidence that they can increase the risk of depression after menopause. Processed foods can also have a negative effect on your bones.
Certain foods and drinks can increase hot flashes and mood swings — alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeine. Anything too spicy might also be bad for you. This is not to say that you should completely avoid these foods, just that you should take them in moderation and avoid them whenever possible.
Exercise can not only help you have a healthier, longer life, but it may also alleviate some symptoms of menopause. Here is what exercise can do for you: it can…
- …help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- …boost your energy levels and speed up your metabolism
- …keep your bones, joints, and muscles healthy
- …lead to better sleep
- …protect you against different diseases
Other Useful Tips
Other than living a healthier lifestyle and dealing with menopause at work through communication, you can also do some things to make your overall life easier, and especially your life at work. Here are some nifty tips and tricks.
Keep A Diary
To figure out what your triggers are — for hot flashes, cold sweats, stress, migraines, and other menopause-related issues — you should keep a diary. For example, you just had a glass of wine, and a few minutes later, you get a hot flash, or you start feeling anxious. This is the type of thing you should write down. Certain food or events are going to have a stronger effect on you, and making notes on what it is can help you avoid it.
Especially so at work, where you want to keep your symptoms under control the most. Don’t disregard regular food items or events, either. Everything counts, and you should make a note of it.
Cool Down During The Night
Sleep is crucial during menopause since it can prevent fatigue, stress, and moodiness. Remember to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. However, sleep can also be hampered by menopause, especially through cold sweats and hot flashes.
To avoid them, switch your pajamas for something lighter or sleep only in your underwear. Next, use lighter sheets. Finally, put a bag of frozen peas under your pillow to keep you cool through the night. One side of the pillow will always stay cold, and you can flip it to get to the colder side.
Instead of one heavy blanket, use several layers and take them off as needed. Put a fan in your room and turn it on during the night to make your sleep better.
Reduce Stress Through Exercise
Exercise was already mentioned, but it’s worth noting that there are some forms of exercise that are specifically targeted at stress and providing better sleep. You can do yoga or tai chi, which are both very gentle yet effective in stress reduction. After you take a few lessons from a professional, you can easily repeat those steps at home, as soon as you wake up and just before bed.
It doesn’t have to last a full hour. Even 10 or 20 minutes of yoga or tai chi can help. You should also incorporate some form of meditation and mindfulness into your life. Perhaps before you exercise or after. It can even happen during a bath or while you wash your dishes.
Care For Your Body
Menopause can lead to some distressing effects on your look. Your hair might thin out, start falling out more and lose its volume. You might even get zits, even though you didn’t get them for years.
While all of this is superficial, it can cause additional stress and hurt to most women. To make it all better, spend a bit more time caring for your face and body. Purchase natural, gentle products for your face, come up with a skincare routine that works for you and be consistent with it.
You should also consider coloring your hair with a more gentle hair color, without all those harsh chemicals or even use henna.
Try to give yourself one day a week to care for yourself. Throw yourself a hot bath, put on face and hair masks, use homemade treatments for your legs and arms, and just enjoy.
Menopause is difficult, but it will pass. The best you can do is apply these tips, communicate with the people around you, especially your bosses and your GP, and do your best to stay positive.
Another great recommendation is to talk to other women that are going through menopause, whether at your job, among your friends, or even in online groups. Don’t be afraid to share your experience.
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