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For millions of women all around the world, today is 'Bring Your Menopause to Work Day'. As is tomorrow and the next day, and the next day...you get the gist. But with more women than ever now bossing in high profile business roles, it was way past time the corporate world got with the programme. Through hard campaigning and effective change, in just a few years, the menopause conversation has been brought to the forefront and in many cases, wonderfully accepted and normalised.
In the UK, there are nearly 5 million women working aged between 50-64 years. The majority of these women will be experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms, whilst simultaneously at the peak of their careers and need to be at their most productive. It's hardly an understatement to label it the worst timing ever.
Not only does this situation limit immensely capable women from performing at their best, hitting the workforce hard but in many cases, the struggle can result in them feeling forced to opt out altogether. In 2019, a UK parliament committee found that 900,000 women in the U.K. left their jobs over an undefined period of time because of menopausal symptoms. To the women concerned, that was no great surprise but now it was time for those in power to implement supportive working conditions for women experiencing menopause because when you’re not firing on all cylinders, you don't feel able to show up from a place of confidence. No one, male or female, can be dynamic and innovative in their job role when they're suffering from stress, anxiety or persistent low-mood.
As a result of the spotlight being shined, thousands of companies have now signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge supporting female employees through instilling menopause benefits at work, so they can continue smashing it, building their careers and the world reap the rewards of their success.
Sam Simester was one of many knocked sideways by the perimenopause. “I was running a global supply chain at the time, travelling a lot every month throughout Asia and the US, but I was all over the place and woefully unprepared for the stresses and overwhelm of menopause,“ she confesses. “It got to the point where I was experiencing anxiety attacks, heightened stress and a huge loss of confidence.”
Sam was struggling to keep it together at a time when the business needed her most and so she resigned. “For those of who know me well, that was just not something you would expect to see in the same sentence as Sam. I've always been fully dedicated to my career, so it was only when I sat down and had a truly honest conversation with my very compassionate CEO, that we managed to come up with a solution." They identified she needed support and deserved some essential time out, “and the great news is, I'm still working.”
Together with a fellow female CEO, Heather Jackson, Sam founded GenM. Now GenM is a platform that endeavours to enable brands to better support women going through menopause and normalising the menopause conversation in the workplace.
"We have a responsibility to the 1 billion women who will be going through menopause globally by 2025 - to cultivate greater understand and awareness, ” explains Heather Jackson, the other half of the GenM dynamo.
“It starts with saying it out loud, showing your vulnerability and helping yourself take control - this is a symptom, it's what I'm feeling and there might be consequences. I didn't know what was coming next but what I wanted to be able to do was to feel comfortable saying, I don't feel great today or I'm feeling a bit warm, I'm just going to go outside or I might just need a little bit of time out here or I'm sorry I can't quite remember that.”
Owning your menopause symptoms and opening up the conversation not only allows your colleagues and management to better understand your circumstances, but creates the environment for you to work in the best way to fit your life and maximise your productivity, creativity and drive. "That may be working from home, having more flexible hours, being able to respond to work developments over email or set essential boundaries. Braving that initial vulnerability also sets the standard for the other women in your team. This, in turn, helps to create a stronger, more supportive female workforce for the future," Jackson explains.
1. Honesty and openness is a superpower
Trying to suppress your menopause symptoms will only cause further stress and heartache. Instead, communicating them in a professional manner will only strengthen your position, gain you respect and promote understanding around you.
2. Establish a flexible working set-up
The working world is a different place post-covid and the benefits of flexi working have been well proven. Menopause symptoms like anxiety, fatigue or low mood can create mental barriers to being office-based, so working from home might well be the most productive approach that day.
3. Take a walking lunch
Fresh air and movement are powerful tools for alleviating menopause symptoms. Get up and out of the office at lunchtime to gain a new perspective and get the creativity flowing. Not to mention physical activity also helps with mental load and brings a health boost.
4. Invest in your sleep
One of the biggest menopause symptoms is disturbed sleep due to hot flushes and nighttime waking. Establish a positive evening routine to give yourself the best possible chance at good sleep and investing in wool bedding can be a sleep game changer for the dreaded night sweats.
5. Support your body with evidence based nutraceuticals
The LYMA Supplement contains ten patented, peer-reviewed ingredients that support every element of mental and physical wellbeing. Scientifically proven to reduce inflammation, dissipate anxiety, boost mental agility and aid restorative sleep, it's the ultimate supplement to see you safely through menopause and out the other side.