This month we talk to Karen Finn, a menopause wellness & weight loss coach who’s passionate about helping women get their old selves back – the ones who felt vibrant, fun, sexy and had a zest for life – by using simple intermittent fasting and self-care strategies.
Tina Turner’s recent passing got me thinking about confidence and menopause. I was only at the beginning of womanhood when I saw her at my first-ever concert in 1984, aged 16, and her powerful presence blew me away. Looking back, I now realise that Tina would have been in her mid-40s and, most likely, smack in the middle of perimenopause.
Wow. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all channel some Tina at this stage in our lives?
The reality for many women is much different, unfortunately. Every day, I hear from perimenopausal and menopausal women who say they no longer recognise themselves. Even the most self-assured of us can find ourselves wondering what happened to that person who used to be the life and soul of the party, but who now prefers a date with Netflix.
This can happen for various reasons. For some women, it may be physical changes, such as weight gain/redistribution, signs of ageing or unpredictable hot flushes, and for others it might be mental, like brain fog, memory loss or anxiety that affects job performance. Indeed, research by the Fawcett Society reported that 52% of the women surveyed had lost confidence at work.
The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to this fate and there are plenty of things you can do. Below are five ways to start regaining some of that self-assurance:
- Self-advocacy: Being well informed about menopause by getting information from trusted resources like Menopause Matters and The Menopause Charity can be incredibly empowering. When you take responsibility for your own health instead of giving away all your power to your health care professionals, it can shift your mindset. You are now in control rather than letting menopause just happen to you.
- Community: It’s important not to suffer in silence. Having a community where you can talk openly with a group of non-judgmental, like-minded women who understand what you’re going through is invaluable. Sometimes we feel like we have nobody to talk to who really gets it. Safe spaces like my Facebook group that are dedicated to supporting menopausal women on this journey can be a life saver.
- Releasing worries: It takes practice, but actively working on not caring what other people think is truly liberating. And this is a silver lining of our declining reproductive hormones: suddenly it becomes much easier to get rid of toxic people and refuse to put up with unacceptable behaviour from others without worrying what they think. This is a time where we can stop putting everybody else’s needs ahead of our own.
- Stretching yourself: Stepping outside of your comfort zone, however small, is a great way to build up your self-esteem. It’s scary, but the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is second to none. Every time you push yourself a little, you grow a little more, whether that’s taking yourself out for lunch alone or giving a presentation at work.
- Self-care: Last but definitely not least, the importance of looking after yourself should not be underestimated. If you don’t treat yourself with the respect that you deserve, it can knock your self-worth. This encompasses many things like getting proper nutrition, regularly exercising, sleeping well, taking time every day to reduce stress levels and incorporating fun into your life. When you’re pumping out ‘feel good’ hormones, your whole outlook on life will start to shift.
It’s a journey that takes time, but starting with small, consistent steps to boost your confidence will get you there in the end. Choose one new step each week and see how you feel in three months’ time. It can be helpful to track your feelings in a journal so you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
If you’re interested in ongoing menopause support and camaraderie with like-minded women, Karen invites you to join her free private FB group, Fasting4Menopause & More. Website: www.karenfinn.net Instagram: @karenfinnhealth.