I am supposed to be writing an article for our website but what with feeling exhausted from yet another bad night’s sleep, aching bones troubling me today accompanied by some good old fashioned brain fog I can’t think of what to write so instead I’ll give you a rant about the menopause.
It seems everyone is now talking about the menopause, but maybe I am just suddenly aware of it as I am perimenopausal. Gone are my days of layering up and wearing a big coat until the end of Spring. Hot flushes are well and truly here. I am now more likely to be fanning myself down and hoping the fact that most of my workdays are still spent on zoom means I have got away with turning into a hot sweaty mess without anyone noticing.
Oh and the weight gain– right after all those lockdown pounds is an absolute nightmare, it’s like my body has found the right time to well and truly make me suffer. A full night’s sleep is now a faint and distant memory – being totally exhausted is now the new norm.
I read recently that many women retire early due to their menopause symptoms and how difficult they can make working and I can believe it when they say 900,000 women have stopped working because of the menopause. But I’m not even 50 yet! I still like to think of myself as middle-aged rather than of retirement age! Surely there must be some semi-decent days ahead of me still.
Exercise they say – that helps with the symptoms, great – but it’s not easy to drag yourself out for a run when you’ve had three hours sleep and would just like a little nana nap on the sofa. Cut down on caffeine and cut out alcohol they say. Seriously – do they want us to zap every remaining piece of pleasure out of our lives?
When you google long covid symptoms they look pretty much the same as those for the menopause. So am I getting loads of menopause symptoms, do I have long covid – or do I have both!
HRT is a huge topic – and not one that I have managed to get my head around yet. There are lots of pros and as many cons but with my current brain fog I can’t work out if I should or shouldn’t opt for it and it seems there is a real postcode lottery with regards to having a local doctor that took the optional module that covers menopause.
Fortunately, my Doctor does seem to have heard of the menopause, which I think is a great starting point, and is working with me to help me survive, I mean easily manage, my symptoms. I read that as women used to die not long after they had had the menopause so it is only since we all started living longer it has become such an issue. (So we are supposed to just be grateful we are not dead?)
We are fortunate at TheGivingMachine that we can be very open about any symptoms we are suffering (probably helped by the fact around 50% of our team are either peri menopausal or menopausal) which certainly makes working easier. It is ok for us to announce at the start of a meeting we are exhausted, in a raging bad mood, or on the edge of tears. But not everyone is so lucky.
Hopefully, now there are more conversations being had about the menopause and more awareness of it we can all hold our hand up and scream “I can’t do that today my brain is on strike and my body hates me” (whilst mopping the sweat from our hot flushes from our brow) without feeling we have no option but to retire.
Workplaces are bringing in Menopausal Policies and changing the workplace and taking steps like providing fans and providing access to cool drinking water. Small but impactful changes.
Read more about the Menopause Workplace Pledge and other helpful resources here
Right – now I’ve finished the last task of my working day it’s time to head off for a little run, or possibly time for a little nana nap on the sofa.