The normalisation of the menopause conversation in recent years has been a vital and beautiful thing. As a result of the volume being dialled up, women are receiving more support both medically and in the workplace. But along with the increase in transparency and discourse, our inboxes and social feeds are being overloaded with menopausal symptom misery. Just as bossing it and self-care started out as positive concepts in need of communicating, menopause might have already crossed over into overkill territory. Instead of hearing yet more bad news of our inevitable decline, can we get some positivity about the menopause please?
Menopausal women know the realities all too well, intimately so in fact. We’ve been pinballed by the mood swings, forced awake by night sweats and become a human furnace of hot flashes for ourselves. Now it might be good for the soul to know what’s good about the menopause. “We cannot stop the menopause and neither should we want to,” says LYMA Founder Lucy Goff. “Rather than focusing on the bleak linear narrative of this transition, we can instead see it as our ancient biology doing exactly what it should do.”
Lucy Goff knows how to turn adversity into opportunity. From a time of extreme physical weakness, she mined her experience to build LYMA, now an award-winning Welltech empire. “By tapping into your symptoms and getting the right advice to understand what’s happening to your body, you can use this experience to become your best self. Rather than allowing it to overwhelm you; menopause can become your life force.”
Menopause is not a sickness, our bodies are wholly designed for it and although no one’s suggesting you get up every morning grateful for being in a huge transition, fighting and exerting energy resenting it doesn’t work either. Who knows, if we reframe it, it might feel easier? We look back at the turmoil of puberty and have the luxury of hindsight to appreciate it was a necessary journey to go through in our lives. Now we need to do the same with menopause by viewing it as an important milestone, one that’s worthy of respect.
If not just for our own sanity, we also have a responsibility to younger women to move away from the negative dialogue surrounding menopause. Emerging research is showing that those yet to go through the menopause, both fear and dread it. Just like with childbirth we need to educate future women without the scaremongering of horror stories. Our daughters should mentally and physically equipped for the changes to come rather than full of dread.
It’s also smart to remember that we only tend to hear about the most extreme and newsworthy cases of menopause, when there are plenty of women who go through perimenopause with few to no symptoms. Moreover, though you might experience many different perimenopause symptoms, the fact that perimenopause is most commonly a decade long process, means they do not hit all at once. The body is expertly designed to go through this slowly and steadily - we are not looking at a decade long dumpster fire here. What’s more, the delicate interplay of hormones fluctuate as they decline, so there will still be days when your oestrogen peaks and you feel incredible. That being so, it’s likely that you’ll have just as many good days as bad.
Even if you’re one of the unfortunate women who experience extreme menopause symptoms and life changes significantly, they won’t last forever. It will end and you will come out the other side. Getting past menopause is hugely liberating and empowering. According to Harvard Health, when hormones finally settle and stabilise, they enter a lower-level balance and stay there, which means you’ll start feeling calmer, less anxious, and more self-confident. Without mood swings, energy levels become more consistent and this can lead to more happiness and meeting personal goals more easily.
How to use the menopause to your advantage
1. Connect with your teenage kids
You are going through very similar experiences. The parallels of puberty and perimenopause are many. Confess to feeling like a head case half the time. Own up to feeling anxious and lost and you might find some common ground and something new to bond over.
2. Go forth and copulate
No more contraception and zero pregnancy risk means a much more ‘freestyle’ sex life. Also, new research suggests that hormones have less agency over libido than previously thought and in fact, particularly in women, sex drive is far more linked to confidence.
3. Use your irritability
So you don’t have the bandwidth for BS anymore - is that such a bad thing? Use your lack of tolerance to shed what no longer serves you. You don’t need to be rude or cruel but you can direct your agitation towards the right people and finally say what you mean. Stop apologising for everything, stop accepting nonsense and be more assertive; you will gain more respect from colleagues, especially from younger women around you.
4. Embrace the quiet evolution
Betterment is always a good idea, so use this time to be introspective, take stock and try what you haven’t yet dared to. Ask yourself what you like about yourself and what you want to improve. Reinvent your style, get curious, start knowing your body and yourself better than ever before.
5. Step into your power
With menopause comes a new level of confidence so be a force, shock people, own it. When we don’t have as many moments of self-doubt, we can achieve more. You don’t have to be ‘girlie’ anymore and you can leave the coquettish facade behind. Be outspoken, be unpredictable, be Helen Mirren, be Miriam Margoyles if you can manage it! You now have the perfect excuse for bad behaviour, just like your teenage children. You might even enjoy your partner being a little bit afraid of you.
6. Shift your sleep
Night sweats and menopause insomnia are the pits, no debate there. But do yourself a service and invest in wool bedding which is scientifically proven to be the best performing material at moisture wicking and thermostat control. There’s solid evidence that people sleep better under wool bedding, so night time waking will be lessened too. Read up on the benefits of effective napping techniques too; it’s not just for nannas, power naps can increase productivity.
7. Build your community
By 2025, there will be 1 billion women going through menopause globally so there are quite literally millions of people around you going through similar journeys. The increased focus on menopause and shaking off the shame means we’re all talking about it more, sharing our stories and helping each other to navigate it all.
8. It's over. Period.
Let’s not underestimate the power of being free of menstruation. It’s estimated that the average woman has 450 periods in her lifetime, no wonder we’re all fed up of them. No more cramps, no more surprise periods. You can wear white jeans whenever you damn like.
The incredible progress in menopause awareness over the last decade has companies tripping over themselves to deliver new ‘menopause in the workplace’ initiatives
and flexi-working has increased exponentially. Let’s continue to lead the way for other women to normalise working from home and to get valid support when they need it. You might not be able to outsmart the menopause but you will outlast it and maybe today, that’s enough. Nobody said change was easy but with LYMA, you can keep on riding the storm. Stay positive, embrace the change and more power to you.