Menopause is a normal part of life. It’s the time when your period stops, and you can no longer have children. Officially, menopause starts when you’ve stopped menstruating for a full year. There is a transition period leading up to menopause called perimenopause when you begin experiencing menopause symptoms.
When people speak of “menopause symptoms,” they are often referring to perimenopause symptoms, which can last several years. Common symptoms associated with menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, memory problems, depression, and sleep issues.
Though these symptoms can be difficult to manage in general, they can be especially challenging to manage while you’re working. Even though menopause is a natural experience, it can be awkward to talk about, making it difficult to manage on the job. Here are 10 tips for managing menopause at work:
Hot foods can trigger hot flashes. Try to avoid hot, spicy foods at work. Other known hot flash triggers to steer clear of, or reduce your intake, include caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods.
Regular exercise can help relieve many menopause symptoms. Getting your heart rate up for a period of time every day can help you sleep better, maintain a healthy weight, decrease stress, and boost your mood. Some ways to get exercise in during the work day include taking a walk at lunch and taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
Unfortunately, dry, flaky skin is another menopause symptom. Drinking water throughout the day can help combat the feeling of dryness and also help you with managing your weight. Drinking water before a meal can help you feel full and eat less.
Eating too many sugary and processed foods can make your sugar spike, and drop, which can leave you irritable and tired. Cutting and reducing your intake of these foods during the day can help you manage your moods and energy throughout the day.
Feel a hot flash coming? Take deep, long breaths. This can help shorten your hot flashes by calming your body and bringing your temperature down more quickly.
It isn’t uncommon to dress in layers to work these days. The office temperature is often drastically different from the outside temperature. Aside from making you comfortable during the workday, it can help arm you against hot flashes. Feeling hot? Take off a layer or two. Chilled after your hot flash? Put your layers back on.
Sleeping for seven to eight hours each night can help reduce mood swings, anxiety and depression, and memory issues. To help you get enough sleep practice healthy sleep habits such as going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day and also staying off electronic devices an hour before bed.
Another hot flash fixer is cold water. If you feel hot, you can help cool yourself down by drinking cold water and also holding a chilled glass.
Both caffeine and alcohol can trigger or exacerbate several menopause symptoms. Both beverages can interfere with sleep, increase bathroom visits, and trigger hot flashes. Additionally, too much alcohol can increase your risk of anxiety and depression.
If your hot flashes are keeping you up at night and interfering with your work, you may want to consider hormone replacement therapy. Some women can experience 15-20 hot flashes a day, which can make it difficult to focus on work. There are risks associated with HRT, so speak to your doctor or midwife about taking hormones, either naturally derived or synthetic products.
For more advice on managing menopause symptoms, call Holistic OB/GYN & Midwife, or make an appointment online.