Yes, that‘s right, this blog is all about HORMONES! Let’s face it, not that many of us are comfortable talking openly on this subject with colleagues or bosses. Yet behind the scenes, many women are suffering in silence, putting a brave face on whilst experiencing a wide variety of symptoms at different stages of life. And I don't want to ignore the fact that men can also experience hormone related challenges too. Some men experience hormonal imbalances and fluctuations themselves, which can have a huge impact on their physical, mental and social wellbeing. And most men, at some point in their life / career, will have a partner, family member, friend, colleague or team member who is struggling with their hormones in some way. When that happens, I think it's fair to say, more often than not, men don't feel adequately equipped to handle those situations.
I am really delighted to see the topic of Menopause in the Workplace getting more attention these days. Menopause will impact most women in some way at some point. Yet I am surprised, and rather disappointed, that no one’s been talking about another big hormone topic, (if not even more so considering how many years women have a monthly cycle), Pre-menstrual Tension / Stress in the Workplace.
So rather than waiting for someone else to get this conversation started, I’m going to be brave and do it. I’ll be totally honest, I’ve been considering this topic for a long while, but because it’s quite personal to me, I‘ve definitely been putting off talking or writing about it. Numerous clients have been bringing hormones into our conversations of late so you could say I‘ve had the nudge I needed.
In some way shape or form, I have experienced some level of PMT with every cycle since my mid-twenties and although I now have many tools and remedies that help me feel equipped and able to manage every month, that hasn’t always been the case. In the past there were times my symptoms were so severe I dreaded the idea of interacting with the world. Even getting up and dressed felt like a challenge, let alone facing work and life. This may come as a surprise to some of you who know me well. I’ve rarely spoken about it in the workplace, and I definitely learnt ways to hide what was actually going on.
Of course, there are many personal topics we decide to keep private and none of us should feel obliged to discuss anything personal inside or outside of the workplace. But likewise, feeling we have to hide what's going on for us because talking about periods and hormones is so taboo, especially in the workplace, might not be very constructive either. I know from personal experience, it added a huge amount of pressure and anxiety to an already stressful situation. Like so many illnesses and conditions, stress is often a big contributing factor to hormone imbalances and issues. So what would it take for us to feel more comfortable about discussing our hormones - whether it be related to PMT, pregnancy, menopause or men's health, as part of the overall wellbeing at work conversation?
If this is a subject you’re interested to explore, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org. I feel very passionate about getting this topic on the agenda, and would like to better understand the hormone challenges being experienced in today's workplaces, what's on offer (if anything), and finding effective ways to offer support and education to remove the stigma. No matter which stage of life‘s journey you’re on, or whether this is your personal challenge or one you have witnessed in others (and perhaps not felted equipped to support on), I'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to share your thoughts in a confidential manner, I've also put together a short survey. Please share this with anyone you know who has been or is impacted by hormones at work in some way.