Supporting Women in Menopause in the Workplace
In an ideal workplace, every employee would have the necessary resources and support to comfortably navigate their personal and professional life, including their health and wellness needs. One area where help is vital for many employees is menopause, a natural biological process that often brings about physical and emotional challenges. By addressing the challenges of menopause, companies can help to create a supportive and inclusive environment for everyone. This, in turn, helps to enhance overall productivity, employee satisfaction, and workplace retention rates.
My special guest is Hatty McCafferty a highly experienced certified menopause consultant and coach who has dedicated her career to providing support and guidance for midlife women navigating the challenges of menopause in the workplace. As the host of the popular podcast Real Menopause Talk, Hatty has cultivated a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the complexities surrounding menopause and its impact on individuals and organizations. With a background as a 500-hour Hatha yoga instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition coach, she offers a holistic approach to menopause management that empowers both women and their supporters. Hatty’s passion for breaking down stigmas and initiating essential conversations in the workplace makes her an invaluable resource for midlife women everywhere.
In this podcast episode, Hatty McCafferty points out the significance of starting conversations about menopause in the workplace. This includes breaking down the basics of biology and addressing the concerns and challenges women face going through this stage of life. Hatty emphasizes the need for companies to recognize the importance of supporting and embracing the experiences of midlife women by providing resources and creating a comfortable environment, which ultimately leads to a better work-life balance.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
- Consult with Hatty McCafferty, a certified menopause consultant, and coach, for support and guidance on managing menopause in the workplace.
- Listen to Hatty’s podcast, Real Menopause Talk, for insights and discussions on various menopause topics and experiences.
- Educate yourself on the different types of menopause, including surgical menopause, and how they can impact individuals differently.
- Seek support from organizations that focus on menopause and perimenopause, such as those offering yoga, personal training, and nutrition coaching.
- Encourage open conversations about menopause in the workplace, making it a more comfortable and inclusive environment for everyone.
- Recognize the value of midlife women in the workplace, and work to retain and support them through their menopause journey.
- Explore resources and referrals for additional support, such as working with a trans man experiencing menopause or seeking specialized guidance for specific menopause scenarios.
- Normalize common menopause symptoms like forgetfulness and brain fog, reducing the stigma and fear associated with these experiences.
- Consider the financial implications of not properly supporting menopausal employees, such as the costs of replacing and training new staff members.
- Treat menopause as a natural life stage, not a taboo subject, and work to create a supportive environment for those experiencing it in the workplace.
Hatty McCafferty Bio:
Hatty is a certified Menopause Consultant with a unique ability to unify people from C-suite to most junior with her energy, authenticity, and humor. Having interviewed more than 100 people for her award-winning podcast, she supports all genders along the Perimenopause transition with a natural aptitude for including men in the conversation. Her strong background in TV and global experience teaching fitness makes her the perfect speaker and host inspiring clear communication, meaningful connection, and confidence. Hatty delivers simple, accessible strategies that boost the well-being of mind and body. Hatty has lived in Europe and the Caribbean and is well-versed in cultural differences. Her respectful, inclusive delivery ensures that everyone leaves uplifted.
If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.
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What You’ll Learn from this Episode
- Explore effective ways to navigate menopause symptoms and tackle surgical menopause challenges.
- Tackle menopause stigma and promote healthy conversations in the workplace.
- Discover the benefits of supporting menopausal women through exercise, nutrition, and stress management.
- Create menopause-friendly work environments with easy-to-implement modifications.
- Embrace the uplifting aspects of aging and enhance post-menopause self-assurance.
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Full Episode Transcript:
You don’t have to be an OB-GYN to understand your pregnant employees.
And equally, you don’t have to be an expert in your organization to explain the process of being pregnant and having a baby. It’s not that dissimilar with perimenopause and menopause. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to talk to your employees, ask them what they would like because they will know what they need.
You are listening to the Done With Dieting Podcast. The podcast for women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms and want to feel better like they did before their body started changing. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman, Master Certified Health, and Life Coach for women in menopause and perimenopause.
I’ve helped thousands of women manage their symptoms, get off the diet rollercoaster, and change their relationship with food, exercise, and stop fighting with their bodies. And I do it through a feminist lens, which means exploring how we are socialized as young women and how it impacts our current relationship with food and exercise. Our bodies, health, and ourselves.
What’s different about this podcast is that we’re exploring your health from all sides, not just food and exercise. We also address the mindset shifts that will make you happier and lead to better health. My goal in this podcast is to illustrate that the reason that diets don’t work long term is because your health doesn’t exist in a silo.
Your health and your weight are a symptom of other parts of your life and how you show up. I want to help you to feel good and live the life that you desire from a 360 degree approach, body, mind, and soul.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hey everyone, welcome to the Done with Dieting Podcast episode number 120. I am so excited to introduce you to today’s guest, Hatty McCafferty. What I love about Hatty is that she goes into corporations and helps them to be more accommodating to women in menopause. There’s data to show that women in menopause years leave the workforce, not because they’re not capable or that they’re bored at work, but rather because their work environment just isn’t accommodating to them.
This is a huge problem that’s costing corporations millions of dollars by not being able to retain qualified talent. So, without further introduction, here’s my interview with Hatty.
Elizabeth: All right everyone, welcome Hatty McCafferty to the show. Hatty, I am so excited to talk to you about menopause in the workplace. Tell us all the things. Who are you? Who do you help? What do you do? Tell us.
Hatty: Elizabeth, it is such a pleasure to meet you and so exciting to be here today. So. Thank you very much for having me, first of all. What do I do? Where to begin? First of all, I suppose I am a certified menopause consultant and coach and host of the podcast, “Real Menopause Talk.” I help as many people as I possibly can. So, as I’m sure you know, and your listeners know that anyone born with a uterus will experience menopause. Not necessarily perimenopause because going into surgical menopause eliminates that run up time to menopause, which is in basic terms, the cessation or stopping of menstruation.
With menopause and perimenopause, which is again just to clarify, the run up, to menopause, which can last from four to 12 years just in case anyone thinks it might be a few weeks. It’s much more than that. There are many symptoms and as a Certified Menopause Coach, I can confirm that there are around 72 recognized symptoms currently. And there may be many more, it’s all about having a discussion.
So, I help the women. It tends to be women experiencing the symptoms and those who support them, which should be everybody.
Elizabeth: Awesome. So, I love that you brought up surgical menopause because I just did a series of episodes on menopause and perimenopause talking about how our eating impacts and how they both impact one another. Menopause affects our eating, and our eating affects our menopause. Same thing with exercise, and then stress, recovery, and sleep.
Elizabeth: And I really left out all of the women who are in menopause due to surgical menopause. So, let’s talk about that for just a little bit. What are some of the reasons that someone might have early menopause or surgical menopause?
Hatty: To be clear right from the outset, I’m not medically qualified. I’m not a doctor. So, I can’t say with authority all of the reasons, but some may be fibroids, endometriosis, POI, PCOS. There could be tumors, it could be a personal choice. So, there is myriad. Oh, and of course, cancer. So, a reason, a good reason for the removal of the ovaries. Part of the ovaries, or the womb, or the fallopian tubes. There are so many different types of oophorectomy. In fact, oophorectomy is very specific itself, but reasons for the removal of the organs.
And this would plunge somebody straight into menopause without the run up. So, they would experience most likely a huge drop in estrogen and progesterone, literally overnight or as they wake up from surgery. Equally, there is the reverse. So, a trans man would experience menopause from having high levels of testosterone issued to them, and this again, influences the balance of the three major sex hormones. Of course, there are so many more that come into play with the symptoms. But for simplicity’s sake, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone play off each other like a dance when everything is good, and they work beautifully.
And then, surgical menopause, there is this dramatic plunge and reduction certainly in estrogen and progesterone. I’ve heard that it feels like being run over by a truck and you can experience extreme fatigue to the point of chronic fatigue syndrome. That tired, that you can barely walk upstairs, aches, joint aches, pain throughout your body. So, the symptoms that we might have heard of but a thousand times more intense because they’re brought on so strongly hot flashes, night sweats that most people have heard of. Itchy skin, crawling skin. I mean, I could go on but yes, those might be some of the reasons.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. And I also love that you brought up trans men because that’s even a topic that is probably even more taboo than just regular menopause because we don’t have a lot of people going through it. Right?
Hatty: Right. And certainly not so many that are feeling comfortable to talk about it publicly. I am very excited to say that I do have an interview for my next season with a glorious trans man who just radiates light and is wonderful and open and very honest about his experience so far. So, I’m excited to learn from him.
Elizabeth: Awesome. I can’t wait to share all of this information with my listeners because I do want to make sure that all populations are served. I don’t feel qualified enough to work with a trans man on menopause symptoms. And so, I’m glad to be able to refer someone to you.
Hatty: Well, thank you. I also don’t feel qualified fully currently, but I’m learning as I go and with my knowledge of menopause as it stands. I mean, we can always learn more anyway about everything. But being able to refer people on to resources that can be supportive is anything but is always good.
Elizabeth: Fantastic. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit more about the organs that they leave in the body and how those can impact our menopausal symptoms. So, we can have a hysterectomy, which gets rid of the uterus. And then, there are options to get rid of the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. But the ovaries, emits hormone. So, that option is going to have different effects for a woman than just having the hysterectomy. Is that correct?
Hatty: It’s going to be more intense and that is as far as my knowledge, really extends with authority. I can hypothesize and talk about some people’s experience, but that’s as much as I’m comfortable with.
Elizabeth: Okay. Great. So, let’s talk about how you support people who go through menopause and the people that support them, how do you do that? What are the modalities that you use for that?
Hatty: I have a background as a 500 hour hatha yoga instructor. Yes. So, 500 hour hatha yoga instructor, personal trainer, and I’ve done some nutrition coaching training and my certification as menopause coach. So, putting that all together and continuing to build on it. There are building blocks that I’m sure you know, particularly with your background that can help us all feel better, stronger, healthier anyway. And getting those building blocks in place, ideally before perimenopause is even going to enter your radar is ideal. And then, certainly during perimenopause and the menopausal years, there is nowhere to hide. So, it is absolutely the time to address those.
So, what I tend to do, rather than looking after individuals is go into organizations and start the conversation. Because for me it feels very much like this is the place to start. Certainly, in the UK, it has begun as far as I can tell in the US it has begun. There are lots of celebrities who are opening up the conversation. But I do live and work in my little menopause bubble where I think everybody’s happily talking about it.
So, when I do enter a company, it’s very interesting to see the reactions. Some people are delighted. Some people instantly feel uncomfortable because female biology is traditionally quite a difficult subject for some, depending on their background. But not depending on how they’ve been brought up, depending on the environment in which they are. And certainly, for companies, it’s often sidelined. And seen a little as irrelevant or distasteful or certainly something that is better covered up in a neat suit.
So, going in and opening up the conversation so that people feel comfortable. And by people I do mean everybody. But then, I tend to break it down into basic biology of female born, male born. It keeps it simple for everybody so everybody can understand. And once they feel comfortable and realize that you don’t have to experience perimenopause or menopause yourself to need to know about it. And at the same time, you don’t need to be an expert as say, a line manager. Then people begin to relax.
Everybody has been through puberty. Many of us remember it as quite a rollercoaster time. Many of us who have children, particularly teenage children can see that yes, puberty remains quite a rollercoaster time and the hormones fluctuate. So, one of the other things I really like to do is to show a graph where you look at the female cycle monthly and hormones go up, and they peak and they reduce, and it looks like a rollercoaster. But this is what we deal with monthly on a good month where everything actually ebbs and flows very smoothly.
And then, perimenopause is like an abstract Pollock painting with hormones flying all over the place in all sorts of different directions at irregular, erratic times. And then, so you have the science that clicks with some people and the more emotional side of everybody knows a woman. They might live with them. They might be their partner, their wife. They might have a daughter, a sister, a friend, even somebody who gives you coffee. When you go and get your coffee on the way to work every morning, that person might be going through or will go through menopause at some point in their life.
And therefore, you would want to support them. If you were to take menopause out of the conversation and just bring it into something as simple as your colleague is really worried that they’re experiencing early onset dementia or Alzheimer. Would you dismiss them?
Absolutely not. And this is one of the possible symptoms of perimenopause where you experience brain fog and anxiety begin to lose words. They fall out of your head literally. And the most simple words, it doesn’t have to be neuroscience. I think I lost the word for airplane the other day. And I’ve certainly spoken to others chair, avocado. These are words that are embedded deep in our brains that you suddenly lose, and you feel like you’re losing your mind.
And the other big thing is losing confidence. So, if you have to walk into a meeting and you’ve suddenly forgotten the name of your colleague, who you’ve been working with for 15 years, or lose your flow of conversation and you might have copious notes. Then, you feel as though you are losing your mind, or you are failing, or you’re not as good as at to your job as you used to be. And the lack of confidence creeps in that way, or just biologically when estrogen declines. Again, that affects our self-esteem. I think I’ve gone around, and around, and around the conversation there, rather than simply answering your questions. Sorry.
Elizabeth: No, no, no. I think that that was perfect because I know that for so many of us, base our capability on how well we can communicate. And when words fall out of our heads or we lose a train of thought that we have the question in our brains like, are we going crazy? Am I losing my edge? Am I getting old? Am I not relevant anymore? Like all of these questions come up for us. And I think that the majority of women don’t really feel comfortable talking to their colleagues about what’s happening in their bodies. Especially, if I have a male boss who is my age or younger, God forbid, I should have to talk to him about my menopause symptoms.
One thing that’s really interesting is that I had another guest on the podcast a while ago, and she works with women with A D H D, and it’s fascinating to me how women in menopause and perimenopause are being diagnosed with A D H D at just an alarming level. Forgetting words, I think is when we can normalize that, then we can maybe feel some acceptance and that we’re not going crazy.
Hatty: Absolutely. I think it all falls into the anti-aging conversation as well. The fastest growing demographic in the workplace is the midlife woman and the idea that we are supposed to sit in the corner probably in something faded and lilac. Apologies if you like the color, but faded and looking a bit drab, maybe a bit wistful into the corner is not something that any of the women I know or that I’ve spoken to feel a kinship too. None of them are faded. They are fiercely bright, intelligent, successful women.
Often, these are C-Suite women as well. They know what they’re talking about. They know their industry. They know exactly how to play the game. So, when they suddenly experience this loss of words, loss of memory, loss of focus, it can be genuinely fearful, or they can be genuinely fearful. Which is a new experience in itself for them. Given that they are the fastest growing demographic, and they have more financial power, more buying power than say the women in their twenties often do.
This is an opportunity to harness the midlife woman, they are capable. They have experience. They become more authentic with growing into themselves. There’s no pretense. They speak their mind more in a polite way, of course. If you’re in an organization, you’re not just suddenly going to let the F-bombs fly, even if you might think them, well, maybe you do that in the company of your friends.
But losing these women to home or many of them starting up their own businesses is not something that most organizations want to do. It can also cost them 325% of one single woman’s salary to replace them, which doesn’t make financial sense. So, approaching it either from a scientific point of view, which a lot of analytical thinkers like or from a more approachable point of view saying, look, this is not niche. This is half the population. Please look after them because you win, they win, and you don’t have to be an expert.
Most people are very comfortable in a working environment talking loosely about pregnancy. So, you have your maternity leave, you have various forms that you might needed to hand in to your employer. You are allowed to go for your doctor’s appointments. And then, it’s very clear cut, you have the baby. Hopefully all being well, you have whatever leave you have you probably come back to work. So, you don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to be an OB-GYN to understand your pregnant employees.
And equally, you don’t have to be an expert in your organization to explain the process of being pregnant and having a baby. It’s not that dissimilar with perimenopause and menopause. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to talk to your employees, ask them what they would like because they will know what they need.
So, if you’re in a factory, maybe looking at shift work and how that affects them. Is there a reasonable adjustment to their hours that they’re working. Perhaps their uniform could be adjusted Nylon. If you’re having hot flashes is going to be a misery. So, perhaps that could be adjusted. Flooding is extremely common, so please can they have a change of uniform or a number of uniforms just in case that happens, and you need to go and have a change of clothes. Be allowed toilet breaks.
Equally, if you are in an office environment, perhaps a desk fan or being near a window that can open. Again, being allowed toilet breaks. If you are that in tune with your body, and I’m sure many of your listeners know that periods and cycles can be intensely erratic, certainly during perimenopause. But if you are that in tune, maybe scheduling big pitches or meetings at different times of day or even different times of months is just gonna work better for you. And if you are able to do that, It feels like reasonable adjustments.
So, nobody’s asking for a new building or first class flights everywhere. They’re very simple, little details. And even for somebody like an ambulance worker, a paramedic, or an emergency first responder, everybody has different terms for them. Allowing them to perhaps have access to a fridge so they can bring their own nutritious food rather than relying on the sugar spiking vending machines and chocolate bars and chips and snacks might make the world of difference to them. So, it’s simple, tiny adjustments, largely coming down to good food, sleeping where you can, moving when you can, and then obviously medical intervention should you wish to have that included in your package.
Elizabeth: Yeah. So, something that I had heard and maybe you can validate this or not, that women who are entering the menopause midlife years are exiting the workplace because it’s not a friendly place for them. Is that true?
Hatty: It’s exactly what I’ve heard. Yes. We’ve got one in ten as a statistic here of women leaving the workforce because they can’t cope. Because they don’t feel they can address their symptoms. Either they don’t know what’s happening to them, which is a whole another issue on educating the generation coming up behind us or they don’t feel comfortable talking about it at work and unable to cope either with the mental symptoms or the physical symptoms. And so, they leave, they quit their career.
Elizabeth: Wow. Yeah. What you were just talking about then is making the workplace a more friendly, inviting place so that we can keep those employees on staff and just make it better for everybody.
I think that the next question I have is you work with in companies to help companies navigate this for their workforce. But not everyone has you. So, what are some of the things that women who are going through this can do without feeling like their company is getting all up in their business. Because I know that probably a lot of women are like, I really don’t feel comfortable talking about my menopause symptoms with my colleagues or my boss.
Hatty: Then unfortunately, it’s going to come down to their own management of it and taking control of it for themselves until they feel hopefully in a position where perhaps they are managing better and that gives them the courage or the confidence to go and talk to somebody in HR or head of talent. Again, depending on the term that they prefer to use, or their manager.
So, they would then need to do what they can to support themselves. There are portable fans. It depends on their symptoms obviously, what they need. I for one have never had a hot flash to date. So, I’m hoping that that stays that way. There are plenty more symptoms. But not a hot flash. However, there are millions of women that do, so maybe even a portable fan, if that feels as though they are drawing too much attention to themselves, then dressing in a way that they feel comfortable removing layers.
So, I know not everybody feels comfortable stripping down to a vest top in the work environment. But perhaps light thin cotton or sort of breathable fabric layers. A scarf, a large, draped sort of square or rectangular scarf, if it’s a really fine material, can be a very, very useful tool in that it can look chic and glamorous and you can wear it any which way you like when you walk in, but you can wear it over you and around you to hide or not hide to preserve your modesty of shoulders and the tops of your arms. If you have a vest underneath, say, a cardigan and a jacket, depending on time of year, depending on your environment.
So, layering your clothes, wearing fabrics that are going to make you feel more comfortable working out strategies of removing those layers when you need to. And then putting them back on because conversely, after a hot flash, I’ve heard that you can often have a hot super icy chill. So, you then need to redress without obviously making it like the dance of the seven veils when you are right in the middle of a meeting. Carry extra clothes with you or dark clothing as well if you are prone to flooding. Just being prepared and there is very little that prepares you for having stains of blood on your clothes in the working environment.
I remember that from school as much as anything else as well. But making sure that you have strategies to hide that. And it pains me to say hiding it, but it is what we will tend to do. It’s not something we want to display. So, rather than hiding in shame, it’s just making yourself feel more comfortable. Taking in food that agrees with you, that helps support your digestion because often digestive issues flare up at this time, phytoestrogens. So, lots of dark green, leafy vegetables.
And with this, I also want to respect cultural food because certainly in the UK, the Western diet is touted as being the be all and end all, and it is wonderful. But if you break it down into its components, the Caribbean diet, Ghanaian diet, Japanese diet, there are so many other diets around the world that actually fulfill all those criteria. It’s just very easy to say, oh yes, the Western diet. But lots of dark green leafy vegetables are going to support the phytoestrogens. So, you can break that down because you’ll be better equipped to explain the estrogen receptors and the phytoestrogens.
Colorful vegetables with antioxidants so that you keep the whole cycle moving because even though you are producing estrogen, if it’s not enough, if it’s too much, you still want to flush out what you don’t need. So, keeping your digestive system moving is got to be really important. Drinking lots of water, making sure you have a water bottle. Maybe that’s not part of the culture in the office. Maybe you could introduce that to make yourself feel more comfortable getting in movement where you can. And I know people work incredibly long hours. But even being able to get up, go and walk around the block or do a few squats while you are making a cup of coffee.
Again, walk around the block, get some fresh air, see some greenery if you can for your mental benefits. It’s going to be taking control yourself and then while you are not at work, working on your sleep patterns, your sleep hygiene, making sure that you get as much rest, quality rest as you possibly can.
So, again, looking at food, making sure you get plenty of protein in it every single meal. Starting your breakfast well to keep your blood sugar stable. Which all feeds into brain health, cognition, as well as looking after your skin and muscle tone, and all the things. There are so many components, but I suppose the basic’s basics would be move well when you can. And I’m not talking about loads of cardio, not, not at all. Walking fantastic. Good foods, whole foods. I suppose that’s really the key. Eat a food that your great-grandmother would recognize is a food. So, no processed or minimal, maybe 90% real food, 10% in inverted commas, treat food. Sleep, hydration, and yes, clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
And one other tiny note on the clothing. And I’ve fallen into this trap myself as well. I tried on a pair of jeans recently that I’ve had for about 15 years, and they barely go over my knees anymore. That’s okay. I’m not 15 years ago, me. I am today, me. And when I wear clothes that fit me well and I’m comfortable in that make me feel good today. That’s what matters. So, please dress for you now because you now is amazing and dressing for you now will make you feel the amazing that you are.
Elizabeth: Well, and I think that that is such a brilliant thing to say because I don’t know how many women, I talk to who have this idea that they need to be the weight that they were in high school. Like, who told us that as a 50 year old woman, I need to have the body size and shape and weight that I was 40 years ago, 25 years ago.
Hatty: Whoever came up with that really should be put back in wherever they came from.
Elizabeth: Well, that so many women still hold that idea that I should be this size, or I should be this weight, or I should be this, right?
Hatty: And old habits, old, ingrained indoctrination dies really hard, and I am the first to put throw up my hands and say, yeah, I’ve really, really struggled with that. My body composition has changed. I mean, I’ve been every shape and size you can imagine over 50 years. But my body composition now is much better, much healthier than it has been. I have more muscle, much less fat. I am bigger in size, but I’m healthier. I’m so much stronger and I have a much more positive outlook. And that really should if we’re going to go into any ‘SHOULDs’ be enough.
There are still days where I might think well, I should be able to fit into a teeny tiny jean. But I don’t really care. And nobody else does. Nobody else does at all. And why should a 50 year old woman, 40 year old woman be the same size as she was when she was 15? It doesn’t make sense. Smaller is not always better.
Elizabeth: Yeah, I love that. So, since we’re talking about being in your body and you are a yoga instructor, tell us a little bit about how yoga can actually help menopause and menopause symptoms.
Hatty: It comes down to being able to focus on the moment and also sleep strategies are actually. So, if you’re trying to balance on one leg, you can’t really think about your to-do list. So, being very present and focusing on what your body is able to do is actually a really positive thing. It’s clearing headspace, which I think everybody needs, whether they’re perimenopause or not. Having something to do that is physical will take you away from the stresses of everyday life, and that could be running.
My real passion these days is lifting weights. There is very little you can think about when you’ve got to get something off the floor or push it away from you and it’s heavy. And then, coming into the sleep strategies, certainly yoga can work wonders. I teach a range of schools of yoga. And my favorite really comes down to the yin.
It’s very complicated in some ways, but in others, it’s basically like having a nap. There are positions that you get into, and you hold them for three to five minutes, which sounds terrifying if you’re thinking you’re balancing in one leg, but these are not. They are largely floor based. The challenge is mental. The challenge is to stay still and focus on your breath and let those thoughts go.
And I know I’ve done my job properly if there’s somebody snoring in the corner at the end of class. So, allowing them to wind down to completely activate their parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest and forget all the stresses of the day. As well as stretching and manipulating the fascia or getting the aches out of the body. So, many of us find ourselves in a slightly hunched up position a bit like a turtle over our computers, over our desks, over our phones, or even cooking, or doing the washing. It’s very easy to hunch up, certainly in colder countries. And this doesn’t do us any good either for our posture or for joint takes or for our mental wellbeing.
So, opening up the body just gives you much more peace of mind and better mobility. Because I would like to be able to be moving and walking as well and as smoothly as possible for as long as I possibly can.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I love that you talked about strength training and running, because I know that for myself and for many of my clients, we have lots of moods. That’s another symptom of menopause and perimenopause. Right? We have rage, we have anxiety, we have depression. And I know that for myself, I don’t suffer from a lot of depression, but I do have anxiety and a little bit of rage. And so, when I can run or lift weights, it really like, just lets off that steam.
Hatty: Yes. That’s so important. It’s actually my non-negotiable. If I go to the gym, the barbell doesn’t care. I do, but it doesn’t. I can take it out on the barbell if I’ve got the rage or it is just one of those simple, well, this is all I can do. This is my time. Nobody can call me; nobody can ask me to do something. Nobody can tell me to do something. I’m just going to do my exercise. And it obviously builds into muscle maintenance, which is crucial for women around midlife because muscle begins to decline just naturally over time. And maintaining that keeps us more healthy, builds stronger bones. And again, I’m such a big believer in the mental health aspect of exercise.
Elizabeth: So good. So good. Okay, so let’s see, what else do we want to talk about?
Hatty: Oh, the other side. Because I haven’t experienced it yet. I’m still in the trenches. But the positives that are to come and the negative aspects that everybody talks about. But actually, it’s not all bad. It’s not, oh my God, perimenopause and menopause are coming for you.
First of all, it is manageable. And secondly, on the other side is the best. People talk about post-menopause as the second spring in Chinese medicine. And most of, if not all the women that I’ve spoken to who are in their sixties and seventies say absolutely the best is yet to come. You settle into yourself and your authenticity.
And there’s this lovely quote I heard the other day of “I spell old with a B and sometimes a G.” So, bold and gold. You just have this innate confidence in yourself. You have zero Fs to give and not in a rude way, but it’s clinically proven that as estrogen declines, you care less about giving to others and caring for others. That doesn’t mean you stop caring particularly about the people you love. Of course, you love them. But you don’t care about what somebody in the street thinks. You don’t care about people’s opinions. And so, you can just become your real, true, bold self and I think that is the greatest gift of all.
So, getting older, aging, at home for yourself, with your friends, just as much as in the workplace. I think it is actually more valuable than anybody has ever recognized at all.
Elizabeth: I would 100% agree with you that the zero Fs, it’s not about other people. But I think it’s realizing that the consequences to your decisions, affect you and you, only. And so therefore, I am responsible for my own life and what comes of it in the end. Do I want to spend the rest of my life people pleasing or do I want to do what I know is going to be best for me in my life?
Hatty: Absolutely. And how am I going to get the most fun out of it?
Elizabeth: Yeah. And I’m so glad that you brought that up because it is 100% true that society sees women as aging as being washed up or not relevant or whatever. But I think that there’s also a freedom in that also because when eyes aren’t on me, I can do whatever I want. Right? No one cares.
Hatty: I love that. Love that so much. Yeah. I remember walking into a room as a 20 something and feeling incredibly self-conscious in case anybody might see me, or you have to present this sort of young, vital, attractive persona. Whereas you can choose when you get to be a certain age, you can present all whatever you wish. And yeah, absolutely the freedom and if everybody’s busy looking at the 20 year old, good for them. Because yeah, that means you can do anything you want. And if they are looking at you, you can still do anything you want and just enjoy it.
Elizabeth: That’s so good. Thank you for being on the podcast today. So, where can people find you, Hatty? We’ll have all of this in the show notes, but just let everyone know. And if someone’s interested in having you come present to their company, how would they contact you? So, tell me all about that.
Hatty: I’m on Instagram. Which is very much the podcast resource I suppose at the moment. Real Menopause Talk. The website, realmenopausetalk.com. And if anybody wants to get in touch even with any questions, it’s Hatty which is email@example.com. Always happy to have questions. I will answer them. It might take me a little bit of time occasionally, but I will answer any question that is put my way.
Elizabeth: Awesome. Thank you for being here.
Hatty: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been terrific.
Elizabeth: All right, everyone. That was such a great interview. I’m so glad that you got to listen to that. Reach out to Hatty if your organization is looking to make accommodations for women in menopause as well.
Have a great day, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the Feel Good Sisterhood. It’s my small group coaching program where we take all this material, and we apply it. We figure out what works for us, and we don’t ever look at another diet ever again.
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