Having hot flushes or brain fog in the midst of a presentation or during a meeting with a client is not a pleasant experience. They can happen anytime, without warning throughout the day, making women very stressed and uncomfortable.
A recent survey presented at the 2022 annual meeting of NAMS (North American Menopause Society) revealed that 13 per cent of more than 5,000 women ages 45 to 60 reported at least one negative work experience due to menopause symptoms. Eleven per cent of the women surveyed said they had missed work during the previous year due to menopause. Those who had to take off missed an average of three days, typically because of psychological symptoms (such as anxiety or depression), but also because they were having night sweats, and sleep problems.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to make you feel at ease during those particular days, but some very simple strategies can help you reduce the intensity and frequency of your symptoms – like hot flushes- making you feel a bit more in charge of your body, especially when you are at work.
One simple thing you can do is to make sure you stay hydrated by keeping a bottle of water with you at all times. It’s also essential to keep yourself cool whether dressing in layers, having an office fan nearby or simply sitting next to a window. Turning down the heating in the room might be also a good option.
However, according to NAMS one of the best techniques to help women manage menopause symptoms is mind-body relaxation exercises as they can relieve both stress and the severity and frequency of hot flushes.
Word repetition, meditation as well as paced respiration have been shown to help peri and postmenopausal women relax and work through some of their symptoms.
Paced respiration, in particular, can be very effective with hot flushes. It is slow, controlled, deep, rhythmic breathing that is sustained for a specified period of time. The basic technique is to breathe in while slowly counting to 5 and then release the breath for 5 seconds.
Ideally, once you master this technique, you should continue to practice it every day for 10-15 minutes (some recommend a morning session and an evening session). This way you will be able to control and beat the heat at work.
Above all, never be embarrassed by your symptoms. Just take a break, use the facilities, get some coffee or stretch your legs, whenever you need it. This is sometimes the easiest way to help stop yourself from stressing over when hot flushes or even brain fog will strike next or whether they will occur in the middle of a meeting.