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Keeping Your Cool on the Job

No matter your occupation, it can be a daunting challenge to deal with menopausal symptoms at work. At its worst, menopause can gift you with depression, mood swings, weight gain, incontinence, memory problems, and of course, hot flashes. This list doesn't even include the additional symptoms that test some women's mettle at home: night sweats, loss of libido, vaginal dryness.

The goal at work is to keep your cool—physically and emotionally. Easier said than done, you say. But you can have a pocketful of tools to whip out at a moment's notice.

HotFlash Network offers you this list of "cool" tools:HFN 016 KeepingCool 1 18126106

  • Wear layers of clothing from the waist up so you can nonchalantly remove your jacket during one of your "power surges," and voilà! You have a tank top or short-sleeve blouse underneath. If your job calls for a uniform, look for undergarments made of moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Find a private nook to stop and take some gentle, but deep breaths. If you're stuck in a meeting, do it in your seat.
  • Fill a large, preferably BPA-free, water bottle with ice and water in the a.m. so you have quick access to a cool drink all day long. 
  • Wear one of those "cooling scarves" around your neck. They come in both sporty and fashionable styles and can make a difference during one of your "surges."
  • If night sweats have been disrupting your sleep and you feel zombie-like most mornings, talk to your doctor about possible medications. And make an investment in nightwear and sheet sets made of moisture-wicking fabrics. There's even a pillow designed to keep your face cool.
  • Joke with your co-workers about your "change," or just tell them outright that you're having a tough time. If you can do that, you won't have to expend energy on hiding what's going on. Find the loveliest paper fan you can, and fan away!
  • If you can have a small battery-run or plug-in fan at your desk, use it!
  • If you're having memory or fuzzy-thinking issues, start a list of notes and to-do's and keep it in sight.
  • If you're experiencing depression or mood swings, it can be very helpful to start your day with five or ten quiet minutes to yourself to meditate. Just sit and concentrate on your breath, without trying to breathe deeply. Follow the rhythm of your natural inhales and exhales and just let all thoughts—last night's fight with your teen or today's upcoming meeting with your boss—fly gently by you. Just relax into your breath and whenever you notice your mind wandering, come back to the breath. You can do this while in traffic, too. You'll be surprised how it mellows road rage!

These are just some ideas to start you thinking about how to successfully navigate the bumpy menopause highway on the job. You can share your own thoughts and tools with other HotFlash Network friends by visiting the "Your Stories" section of HFN. ♀

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