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  • Writer's pictureLauren Chiren

Winter Self - Care Tips for Menopausal Women: Guidance for Coaches and Supporters

An interview by Susie Kriss, with Lauren Chiren, CEO & Founder of Women of a Certain Stage on Winter Challenges and Menopausal Symptoms.


Lauren, I have heard it said that winter presents distinct challenges for women going through menopause. Is this true? 


Menopausal symptoms, for some are intensified by the cold, can range from hot flashes to joint pain.


It's essential to acknowledge the unique impact of winter on women's well-being during this transitional period.


In reaslity, each season brings it's own challenges. Some of us are plagued with hot flushes and night sweats, and for others, it's the shivvers!




So what can we do to improve our experience? 


Creating a menopause savvy and supportive workplace


To make the workplace more menopause-friendly, we advocate for temperature-controlled environments. 


Providing adjustable thermostats, creating comfortable spaces for breaks, and offering flexible work attire options accommodate the fluctuating body temperatures and provide a supportive atmosphere. 


Awareness campaigns that normalise menopausal challenges during winter contribute to a workplace culture that understands and supports women in this stage of life."


So what might this look like? 


For example, tailoring support initiatives for the seasons


Menopause Champions play a pivotal role in tailoring support initiatives to address the specific needs of women navigating menopause throughout the year


Training programmes and toolkits should include season-specific modules. 


By educating both employees and managers about the seasonal impact of menopause, certified Menopause Coaches and Champions ensure that support is empathetic and effective. 


Resources and good signoposting, such as tips for managing differnet types of symptoms symptoms contribute to a holistic and tailored approach.


Guiding people through menopause with personalised strategies


There is no one size fits all with menopause, which is why is can be tricky to navigate.


We train Menopause Coaches who can step into the narrative with individualised support, through our signature programme ' The Menopause Plan' both for people going through menopause and those supporting them. 


Recognising that winter can contribute to seasonal blues, Coaches incorporate mood enhancing and stress management techniques into their support. 


Hydration and nutritional advice from approprioately qualified individuals tailored for the seasons ensures that people receive the nutrients needed to combat challenges from winter to spring, summer to autumn.


Exercise plans consider winter weather constraints, promoting physical well-being and mental health.


Creating a Supportive Environment


Acknowledgment is the cornerstone of creating a supportive environment. There really is nothing like the feeling of going through this alone! It is terrifying.


Employers can communicate openly about menopause, making resources easily accessible. 


Flexible work arrangements, including remote options during harsh weather, demonstrate a commitment to accommodating menopausal women. Obviously, different roles and industries need to get creative with their solutions.


Mental health


Winter's influence on mental health, including feelings of isolation and seasonal affective disorder, requires proactive measures. 


Employers can introduce wellness programmes that include mental health resources. All movement, activity or exercise - whatever you prefer to call it is beneficial - the key is finding something you love and our Coaches and Champions can help you do that.


Creating a culture of open communication helps women navigate the winter blues with support from colleagues and management.


Enhancing Knowledge and Support


As the Founder of Women of a Certain Stage, I always emphasise the importance of education for employers.


Comprehensive year round training programmes, toolkits tailored to seasonal challenges, and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding around menopause are paramount. 


Employers should recognise that knowledge is a powerful tool in creating a supportive workplace for people navigating menopause, especially in the colder months where people can ofter find themselves feeling more cutr off from others than usual, especially if they live alone.


And in your experience, how does this manifest?


It is so important to celebrating the success stories and best practices


I often share the wins my clients have on my Linkedin profile, so that is a good place to hear who is doing what!


Success stories abound though when employers embrace a menopause-savvy approach thorughout the year, not leaving it to International Women's Day on 08 March and World Menopause Day on 18 October!


Prioritising menopause support leads to improved morale, higher productivity, and a more inclusive workplace. 


I have been leading on this for a decade now, right across the world, before most people were even comfortable saying the word 'menopause' out loud!



And what might that include?


Implementing flexible policies or guidance, engaging in ongoing dialogue, and highlighting success stories contribute to a thriving, supportive work environment that recognises the value of women in every stage of menopause.


In navigating menopause in the workplace, the role of Menopause Champions becomes increasingly vital. 


By addressing the unique challenges of the seasons with empathy and warmth, employers can create environments where people feel supported and empowered through every stage of menopause. 


The winter narrative is an opportunity to showcase the commitment to women's well-being and those impacted by menopause symptoms, to foster a workplace culture that celebrates the strength and resilience of people navigating menopause.


What else?

Can you be more specific?


Menopause Coaches play a crucial role in helping people to create strategies to help people navigate the challenges posed by menopause. For example stress management techniques tailored for the winter season.


Or, practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help women manage the added stressors that often accompany the colder months.


Nutritional guidance for seasonal wellbeing


Offer nutritional advice that aligns with the nutritional needs of menopausal women during winter.


This may include recommending foods rich in vitamin D to combat the reduced sunlight exposure, as well as suggesting warming and nourishing meals to support overall well-being.


Checkout our Veganuary blog with more dietry information.


Winter specific exercise plans


Develop exercise (some of my cleints find the word activity or movement more palatable) plans that take into consideration the challenges of winter weather.


This could involve recommending indoor workouts, providing resources for at-home exercises, or suggesting winter-appropriate outdoor activities like snowshoeing or indoor swimming.


Addressing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Winter often brings about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), impacting mood and energy levels.


Menopause Coaches can signpost information on recognising SAD symptoms, encourage exposure to natural light, and suggest activities that promote mental well-being, such as winter walks during daylight hours.


Creating warmth in the workplace


Advocate for workplace adjustments that make the environment more comfortable during winter.


This could include ensuring adequate heating, providing options for layered clothing, or establishing designated warm spaces where employees can briefly retreat to alleviate symptoms like hot flashes.


Encouraging connection, compassion and communication


Recognise the potential for increased feelings of isolation during the winter months.


Menopause Coaches can encourage women to connect with colleagues, fostering a supportive work community.


This could involve organising winter-themed team-building activities or virtual social events. I encourage people to join the private Facebook group The Menopause Social Hangout to connect with others who are keen to change the narrative on menopause.


Educating on winter specific symptoms


Ensure that menopausal women are informed about how winter weather can impact specific symptoms.


Educate them on potential exacerbation of joint pain due to cold temperatures, increased fatigue, and the importance of maintaining hydration even in colder weather.


Flexible work arrangements


Advocate for flexible work arrangements, especially during severe winter weather.


Menopause Coaches can work with employers to establish policies that allow employees to work from home when commuting in harsh conditions may exacerbate menopausal symptoms.


Promoting winter savvy self care


Emphasise the importance of self-care practices that are particularly relevant during winter.


This could include indulging in warm baths, using heating pads for comfort, and incorporating winter-specific aromatherapy or complimnetary therapies for relaxation.


By tailoring support strategies to the unique challenges posed by winter weather, Menopause Coaches can empower women to navigate this season with resilience and well-being.


These personalised approaches not only address the physical aspects of menopausal symptoms during winter but also contribute to the overall mental and emotional health of women in the workplace.


In your experience, Lauren, how can employers create a supportive environment that acknowledges and accommodates the winter-related challenges faced by women in various stages of menopause?


Acknowledgment is key. 


Employers can communicate openly about menopause, making resources easily accessible. Additionally, flexible work arrangements, such as remote options during harsh weather, can significantly ease the burden on menopausal women.


Can you share insights on how the deep winter season may influence women's mental health during menopause, and how employers can proactively address these concerns


Yes, I think as I mentioned before it can impact mental health, exacerbating feelings of isolation and Seasonal Affective Disorder.


Employers can introduce wellness programs, mental health resources, and foster a culture of open communication to support women navigating menopause through the winter blues.


As the Founder of Women of a Certain Stage, what advice do you have for employers aiming to enhance their knowledge and support for women navigating menopause, particularly in the colder months?


Education is paramount.


Employers should invest in comprehensive training programs, using current toolkits that address seasonal challenges, and foster a culture of empathy and understanding around menopause.


Even if there is no apparent budget, employers can use the FREE Menopause The Basics course. It runs every two months live via ZOOM, 30 mins / day over three days.


Just click HERE for more information.


Each year more and more people are using this as their starting point. IN the year ahead we are aiming for 50k people to register and join us to learn the fundamentals!



In the spirit of warmth and empathy, could you highlight success stories or best practices where employers effectively embraced a menopause-savvy approach during the deep winter, fostering a supportive workplace culture for women in this life stage?


Success stories abound. As ever, do check out my Linkedin profile for our latest good news!


Employers who prioritise menopause support witness improved morale, higher productivity, and a more inclusive workplace. It is a journey; each year new people join the organisation and there will be people beginning to recognise signs of peri menopause week by week.


Implementing flexible policies and engaging in ongoing dialogue with menopausal employees can lead to a thriving, supportive work environment.


As we navigate menopause in the deep winter, or in any season for that matter, the role of Menopause Champions and Menopause Coaches becomes increasingly vital. 


By addressing the unique challenges of menopause with empathy and warmth, through well trained, certified individuals who care about supporting others, employers can create environments where people feel supported and empowered through every stage of menopause.


Thank you Lauren.


In this insightful interview with Lauren Chiren, CEO and Founder of Women of a Certain Stage, we explored whether there was a seasonal impact of menopause symptoms in the workplace. 


Lauren, CEO & FOunder of Women of a Certain Stage, highlighted that each season brings its own challenges, emphasising the need for tailored support. 


Strategies for a menopause-friendly workplace, the crucial role of Menopause Champions, and personalised approaches by Menopause Coaches were discussed.


Acknowledgment, flexible work arrangements, and proactive measures for mental health throughout hte year emerged as vital components of supportive environments. 


Lauren underscored the importance of education for employers and celebrated success stories, emphasising that a menopause-savvy approach fosters improved morale and inclusivity, aiding individuals to feel empowered through every stage of this transformative journey.


Contact


To discuss anything in this article, contact Lauren, CEO & Founder of Women of a Certain Stage.


Women of a Certain Stage support employers to become menstruation to menopause savvy & supportive through training, talks and toolkits and certify Menopause Champions and Menopause Coaches.


Follow Lauren on LINKEDIN

R​ead the latest on the BBC​


Checkout the courses


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