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    Fight, Flight and Hot Flushes

    Before you read this remember you are unique. Your response to stress, and to the menopause will not exactly match anyone else’s experience. So, I won’t bore you with my symptoms in detail. That is frankly a waste of your time.

    What I will share because it might help you, is how I made things more difficult for myself. I suffered more than I needed to because I wasn’t unwilling to accept that I was getting older.

    When in my late 40s I started finding things more and more stressful over a period of months I believed it was just purely job related. I believed the job was getting more stressful. There certainly was some truth in that, working on global IT projects is never without stress.  However it wasn’t the full story, and because I let things escalate I suffered much more than I need have. 

    Looking back now I can see that some of the symptoms of stress and the menopause overlapped. That made it easy to misread them:

    • Not sleeping well consequently feeling exhausted
    • Poor concentration
    • Memory issues, brain fog or what ever you want to call it
    • Anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Low confidence and self esteem

    I found I was much more likely to experience the fight, flight or freeze stress response - that happens under extreme stress.  In short, I thought my stress was getting worse and I was getting less able to cope. Resulting in my confidence and self-esteem hitting rock bottom.

    If I’d been tuned in better to what was happening to me, I could have coped much better.

    What helped - once I’d realised what was going on - was trying to live a healthier life, being a little kinder and more understanding when I felt I needed a break and I couldn’t cope. I've put together a first aid list below. 

    • Maintain a healthy work life balance
    • Make time to do things that help you to stay in the moment, this will allow your head to clear. Maybe walking, yoga, reading, painting – anything.
    • Don’t hide from it. Talk to friends, family or a life coach.
    • Do what it takes to get a good night’s sleep, go to bed early, stop watching tv or going on screens earlier in the evening. Don’t overindulge in alcohol.
    • At work – get used to writing stuff down and don’t be afraid to say – I’m going to have to check and get back to you. You may not retain all the information like you did before.

    Tune in and notice what is happening to you. Prioritise what you need to do to feel better. When you know - you can respond in the right way. 

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