World Menopause Day reminds us why now is the time to support menopause at work

According to a recent BUPA and CIPD survey, an estimated 900,000 women have quit their jobs in the UK due to menopause symptoms. 

Here at Parent and Professional, we understand the importance of supporting women at work through key life transitions.  We know from personal experience how tough it is to have to manage physical and emotional challenges whilst trying to perform at work.  Not being able to feel you can have open and honest conversations with colleagues and managers is not sustainable; it affects our mental health and absolutely affects our commitment to stay with a company for the longer term. 

To recognise and celebrate World Menopause Day on 18 October, we have asked Menopause Coach, Laura Shuckburgh to share her thoughts on how coaching can help women cope with this huge life change:

When we start the journey into menopause it can be a massive shock to our systems. Especially when brought on suddenly or prematurely. The changes that our diminished hormones have on our bodies and our minds can be overwhelming.

Every woman’s journey is totally unique but there are symptoms that many women feel and can include feelings of anxiety, depression, loss of confidence, feeling like half of them is missing. “I just don’t feel like myself anymore” is a common theme, along with the physical symptoms. This potent cocktail can be debilitating for some and inconvenient for others.

And it is true, we have lost part of ourselves, our hormones, and this brings up so much for us as women. There can be a kind of mourning for our bodies heading away from our childbearing days and into a new phase. This new phase is something to be celebrated and embraced and yet for many women this feels more like a time for grieving and unless we acknowledge and allow these feelings to be felt we can become very unhappy and ‘out of sorts’

This is where coaching can be beneficial. A coaching session is a completely safe space, a confidential container where women are listened to deeply, can be open and talk frankly about how they are feeling in a non-judgmental place.

Coaching focuses on the future not the past. The emphasis is on the present and what is possible going forward. It is about finding solutions for what is not serving or working anymore. It is a place to grow, evolve and create.

Self-doubt can sabotage our dreams and goals. We can be our own worst enemy. Noticing our negative self-talk and creating kindness and self-care regimes can be extremely helpful at this time. For many women this is the first time they have had the time to give these ideas the space they need and to focus some much-needed energy on themselves.

Menopause can bring up many questions within us about life purpose and fulfilment. This can lead to confusion and internal turmoil. For most women thinking about what they want as opposed to trying to please and care for all those around them is something new and can be uncomfortable.

PwC has recently introduced workplace support for awareness around the menopause. What we like about their approach is that they are also inviting those employees who aren’t necessarily suffering from menopause symptoms. Marissa Thomas, a member of PwC’s management board says:

‘There’s a war for talent going on and, like most large professional services firms, we’re facing an increasing attrition rate.’ 

‘We need more talented people and we want to continue to have a diverse workforce. If women think we’re a better place to work in terms of providing support, we must have a better chance of attracting and retaining top female talent.’

At Parent and Professional, we are launching 2 new webinars to help increase workplace awareness around menopause – one for employees and one for managers.  Email helen@pandpcoaching.co.uk if you’d like to hear more.