Everyone experiences menopause in a different way.
Not only is menopause a major life change for women, midlife can be busy, complicated and tiring. Women are often the main care giver for elderly relatives alongside being a mum, wife, friend and co-worker. This cognitive load combined with brain fog (70% of perimenopausal women say they experience brain fog) can leave women feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Lack of sleep adds to this heady cocktail and it is no wonder why women tell me they feel anxious, have self doubt and lose confidence. Many end up leaving work because of their symptoms or because they feel unable to speak to people at work about their experience.
I love this take on midlife by Brene Brown:
'It's an unraveling - a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you're "supposed" to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are.'
I work with women on achieving a healthier and more positive mindset, encouraging them to be curious about what is happening to them and through curiosity people make brave choices to live more purposefully. I use a variety of tools based on positive psychology to support a healthier mindset through building confidence, courage and resilience that feels sustainable and authentic.
Coaching is a completely confidential and safe space enabling women to find quiet time to think and breathe; to look at things through a different lens; to understand what is happening to them more; to take back control over their lives and have choice about what they do moving forwards.
I specialise in mind health, working with women experiencing psychological symptoms as they move through the menopause transition.
Up to 50% of women with menopause experience anxiety. Whether this is because of the chemical changes which take place in the brain through hormonal fluctuations or as result of the impact of physical symptoms on mental
well-being; anxiety can lead to a loss of confidence, identity, self belief and a sense of overwhelm.
Coaching is an opportunity to untangle the myriad of emotions, thoughts and feelings to uncover what is happening now, and what you want instead, creating momentum towards greater confidence, calm and happiness.
I started experiencing perimenopause in my mid 30's. This is atypical, however 1 in 100 women will experience perimenopause before the age of 40. I started to notice that I was feeling anxious more often- an edgy, restless, creeping anxiety that I couldn't find a reason for. Then along came waking up in the night drenched in sweat, and then insomnia; waking up at 3am and not being able to get back to sleep. I felt a bit wrecked. Alongside this my periods seesawed between disappearing for 3 or 4 months or materialising every other week. The latter felt like I never escaped from the intese highs and lows of hormone fluctuations.
I went to my GP but it wasn't the most useful experience as I was basically told that I couldn't be going through the menopause as I was too young. I am in a privileged position to afford private healthcare and sought out a specialist in menopause. I started HRT and saw an immediate improvement with many of the vasomotor symptoms.
I've also been working with my own coach on mind health and understanding how to deal with anxiety more effectively. It's one of the reasons why I trained as a coach and why I mainly coach women experiencing menopause symptoms.
My experience helps me connect and coach from a place of genuine compassion.
Women who experience menopause are the fastest growing demographic at work, often at the peak of their careers, and for many they experience isolation during the menopause transition, resulting in 1 in 10 women leaving the workplace as a result of menopause. (Report by the Fawcett Society called Menopause And The Workplace, 2022).
I advocate for conversations about menopause in the workplace to be mainstream, to enable women to share their personal stories without embarrassment or fear of repercussions and receive the acknowledgement and support needed to continue to bring their best selves to work.
I work with organisations to raise awareness of menopause through training, education, coaching and advisory services. Here is an example of training provided in the workplace:
For employees experiencing menopause
For leaders and managers
Menopause refers to the time when you stop having periods and can no longer get pregnant naturally. This occurs because your ovaries stop producing eggs and, as a result, levels of the hormones they produce (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) fall.
Although many of us use the word ‘menopause’ to describe the period of time when we notice our periods begin to change and we experience typical menopause symptoms, it actually refers to a single day: when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row.
The average age of menopause for women in the UK is 51. If you reach menopause before the age of 45, this is known as ‘early menopause’. In women under 40 this is sometimes referred to as Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI).
POI or early menopause can be triggered by surgery involving the ovaries, treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, an underlying condition such as Addison’s disease or Down’s Syndrome, or an autoimmune disease like type 1 diabetes.
If you’ve had a hysterectomy you might have had your ovaries removed at the same time. If this happens, you’ll immediately reach menopause. This is known as surgical menopause, and can happen to women of any age.
For most women, the menopause doesn’t happen overnight. This is because, unless you’ve had a surgical menopause, your ovaries don’t suddenly stop working. Instead, they gradually slow down over a period of time as part of the natural menopause. This transition period leading up to the menopause is known as the perimenopause, and it can last for a few months or several years – the average is around four years, although some women can experience perimenopause for ten years.
During the perimenopause, periods get lighter or irregular, and you might also experience symptoms including hot flushes, mood swings, brain fog and fatigue. It’s common to start noticing these changes around the age of 45, but you might notice them earlier or later. It’s easy to ignore these symptoms and put them down to the everyday stresses of your busy life.