Mary's guide to menopause at work

There are around 13 million menopausal women currently in the workforce, and with people living and working for longer there are going to be more people working through menopause. But even now, it’s still either treated as a taboo subject or not taken seriously enough. So, as our Wellbeing Coach, I’m determined to make sure that every woman we work with not only can be open and talk about her experience, but have the support she needs to stay at work through menopause and after.

We’ve been working hard making sure there’s support and resources available, but here are some of my top tips for anyone going through menopause to get themselves off to a great start:

Talk about it

It’s hard to talk about sometimes but people are starting to realise there’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about menopause. Make sure you speak to a manager that you trust, or even reach out to HR and get some dedicated time to discuss what you’re experiencing and how your employer can help you. If you’re not ready or comfortable to talk about it officially, you can reach out to other women who are living through menopause for some real-life advice and help.

Request adjustments and accommodations

People often think adjustments at work are only available for people with a diagnosed health condition or disability, but they’re there for anyone struggling with mental or physical symptoms to help them safely do their job and protect their wellbeing. You may be able to change your working pattern, adjust your activities, make changes to your uniform or get extra flexibility around appointments.

Hydration is key

It’s always good to drink plenty of water for your health normally anyway, but for people going through menopause it’s easier to get hot, flustered and dehydrated so make sure you’ve always got a bottle of water to hand and drink regularly throughout the day.

Layer up

Even though menopause is a lot more than just hot flushes, they’re a very common symptom and people find them very difficult. And seeing as they can often spring up without a moments notice, wearing layers of cooler clothing so you can adjust your temperature throughout the day will make you feel more in control of your flashes and make it easier to cool down.

Plan your meals

When you’re having lunch at work it’s easy to just throw together a sandwich or get a takeaway, but being mindful about your food will help make menopause more manageable. Foods like soy, beans and tofu have phytoestrogens which mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body and having fresh fruits and veggies will help you keep your energy up and fight fatigue.

Plan your days

It’s not always possible to know exactly what you’re going to be doing at work every day, but trying to keep informed of what’s planned will help you figure out what you may need help with, plan your clothes and meals and be mentally ready for the day ahead.

Remember it’s different for everyone…

There is no definitive guide to how to get through menopause because everyone experiences it differently – just remember that if someone isn’t struggling, that doesn’t mean your worries aren’t valid, and in the same way there’s nothing wrong if you’re finding it easy. Just keep finding what works for you.

Consensus have been recognised as a Best Workplace for Women – and part of our commitment is to making sure that not only do we encourage conversations about menopause, but making sure there’s real support available including our menopause meetups for colleagues to offer tips and share guidance, dedicated wellbeing support to guide and advise and resources for mental health and occupational health to assist with adjustments needed for people to do their job safely.

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