Menopause should not be the end of your career, yet its symptoms often force people to quit their jobs. According to Biote’s Women in the Workplace Survey, “1 out of 4 women felt that their symptoms negatively impacted their career development or work-related opportunities, while 17% have actually quit a job or considered quitting.”
Post-Covid, millions of women around the world have quit work. While analysts have identified causes like women juggling more childcare and housework than men, they have failed to acknowledge menopause. Even Terry Weber, the CEO of Biote, was stunned by its widespread impact on working women. She stressed the importance of normalizing conversations around it, particularly as “menopause occurs when women are most likely to move into top leadership positions. Our way of the future is attracting and keeping the best talent across all life stages.”
It will probably be years before the average workplace supports perimenopausal and menopausal employees. What must we do—individually and collectively—to ensure that we thrive at work anyway? Check out what these experts have to say.
- Adopt radical self-care
“Self-care is often mistaken for self-pampering. Its primary objective is to look after one’s physical and mental health. Dr. Susan Lovelle, the founder and CEO of Premiere Wellness, explains how you can adopt radical self-care.
“Get at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep at night. This time is crucial for our bodies to reset and renew, and without it, we risk being chronically tired, inflamed, and overweight. The next step is to look at nutrition as a personal journey. What we could eat without consequences is often off the table. Focusing on fresh, whole foods that support our gut health and energy levels is critical.
Self-care is about learning how to move in a way that increases strength, mobility, and flexibility. There is no need to spend hours in the gym to achieve a level of fitness that supports us and improves our productivity. Finally, knowing your numbers is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Knowing the levels of six hormones—cortisol, thyroid, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—is necessary to make decisions to improve your life at home and work.”
- Audit your workplace and join support groups
Since it is the responsibility of your workplace to help you navigate life challenges, you are well within your rights to audit it. Then, join support groups to replace stereotypes and misinformation with knowledge and wisdom. You will need support and solidarity to combat discrimination.
Linda Greenfield, career counselor and founder of Essential Career Counseling, clarifies the importance of both.
“Do a workplace audit to assess if your employer is providing adequate support. If not, request that the company wellness program educates employees. Make sure to ask for mental and physical health benefits as well. The idea is to assist menopausal employees through their rigorous transition. If you get a negative or placatory response, it may be time to join an inclusive workplace with flexible hours and remote options.
If changing jobs is not possible, seek out or start support and advocacy groups inside and outside the company. Awareness is key. We can break the menopause taboo when we get together to share our stories, difficulties, and insights.”
- Regulate hormone imbalance and know your worth
With guidance and support, menopause can usher in the second spring of our lives. That said, it can be challenging to navigate. Thankfully, as we know what is happening to our bodies during this time, we have tools to aid us. Menopause and sexual health expert Dr. Anna Cabeca describes this in detail.
“Hormonal imbalance is the trademark of menopause. It is the root cause of most symptoms, like hot flashes, irregular periods, digestive issues, weight gain, tiredness, brain fog, etc. These symptoms can inhibit satisfaction and productivity in the workplace. A healthy diet can have a massive positive impact on regulating hormone imbalance. If the workplace incorporates Keto Green™ foods (aka replace carbohydrates and sugar with leafy greens and healthy fats) and eliminates snack times, people can practice intermittent fasting without temptation. Thus, one can reduce the blood sugar fluctuations that wreak havoc on their hormones.
Incorporating a designated place and time for meditations and belly breathing sessions will help reduce cortisol levels and keep stress to a minimum. Doing these things will smoothen your menopausal transition and help you maintain your stellar role at work. And finally, as a person undergoing the change, it is crucial to be aware of your worth. You are prone to be singled out because ageism is an insidious yet unresolved workplace problem. Research has made it clear that women are more affected by ageism than men, to the extent that it affects their job security and financial future. So listen to Dr. Anna, and never forget what you bring to the table.
“Women grow more valuable with age. We are wiser, calmer, and more confident. Many of us have raised a child or two, so we have the seasoned ability to deal with various personality traits and emotional differences. In the right environment, older women can thrive, not just survive. Once she gets those hormones balanced, she is a force to be reckoned with!”