The elephant in the room!
Our life cycle is like the 4 seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, one season blends into the next. Notably, this creates a steady progression of growth and change. Nothing stays the same. Why is it that so many women struggle with the season of life known as menopause? Menopause is not commonly discussed with women who are climbing the career ladder! With this in mind, stigma still surrounds menopause! For this reason, it is time to talk about the elephant in the room!
Recently a client of mine, Sylvia came to me distraught. At the age of 52, her life was in turmoil. She was “all over the place”. She had gone from being a highly driven, functional, organised, and effective senior leader to one who struggled to manage her time and think clearly. Fatigue had consumed her. Every task that she tried to do seemed to need so much effort.
No longer did she feel in control. Fear had crept in. Feeling like she was losing control despite having a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Sylvia works as a senior manager in the corporate world. With a hugely competitive nature. Setting her sights on a C-suit position. She always has her “game face on”. Always overachieving to make sure that she gets recognised for her work.
However, it seemed like overnight something had changed, she felt different, and her life had become very difficult. Sylvia’s thinking was clouded and that in-turn was impacting her confidence. Leaving her fearful about disclosing her menopausal symptoms to her boss for fear of it impacting her career. She worried that she would be judged1
“At her first bleeding a woman meets her power.Lucy H. Pearce
During her bleeding years she practices it.
At menopause she becomes it”.
The stigma around menopausal symptoms still exists, and the fear is real with executive women. Fear around the consequences they may face if they disclose their menopause symptoms, how it may affect their career progression. Women represent 25% of c-suit roles, and only 6% of CEO roles are held by women.
In effect, Sylvia had turned into a person, she no longer recognised. Her temper became short, and she was “snappy” with friends and colleagues for no reason. She put it down to the fact that she was not sleeping well, waking up several times throughout the night saturated in sweat. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg. Her mind was “foggy”, she was anxious, and her irritability was worsening.
So what’s going on?
It is common for executive women to ignore the signs and symptoms of menopause. Either because they are too busy or just don’t want to deal with the changes that are happening in the body.
Well, we all know that menopause is a natural event in life. It can occur around 50 years of age, or earlier if you have had uterine surgery, chemo, or pelvic radiation. As the oestrogen levels drop and cease in the body, many changes occur. Changes such as weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, menstrual changes, sleep disturbance, night sweats, and hot flushes to name a few
- The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51.
- Of these, three out of four experience symptoms; one in four has serious symptoms.
- One in three of the UK workforces is over 50.
- Around eight in ten menopausal women are in work.
- According to the Office of National Statistics, menopausal women are the fastest-growing workforce demographic.
Some tips to move forward to address the elephant in the room:
- To begin with, start having conversations in the workplace around menopause, normalise this season of life
- Next, encourage holistic health and wellbeing as part of leadership training
- Equally important, find a highly regarded holistic health professional that you resonate with to support you on your journey through menopause
- Complete your weekly health barometer over 4 weeks so that you get a baseline of where your health is at
- Review your diet and remove refined and processed foods, cut out all sugar
- Finally, Include weight-bearing exercise in your daily activities to support bone mass
This season of life, called the menopause should be celebrated. In essence, this is a time where the wise woman stands in her power, shares her wisdom and knowledge. Ultimately, this is a time to stand in her power to enjoy the changes that are occurring in her body.
To sum up, the wise woman is born to lead personally, professionally, and spiritually. You have earned your right of passage, and now it is time to create the change that you are here to do.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts?