What the Fog? It’s all about peri-menopause, forget the menopause.

Can anyone tell me where my ability to think, juggle, remember and make quick decisions has gone please? The perils of peri-menopause in work and life.

The inevitable transition into peri-menopause was a slow burn for me, a gradual realisation that things were changing accompanied by a total lack of understanding about the process my body was forcing me through.  My mum had told me she entered ‘the change’ at 39 and it was all over by 41.  She made it sound really easy so I naturally thought I’d be the same and never bothered to find out about it!  Sadly by the time it was my turn she was no longer around to ask so I’ll never know if that was really the case. 

In the early days, I spent a lot of time wondering if I was having a hot flush or whether it was another failure of our ‘air balancing’ system at work.  I’d arrive at work on a Monday morning wearing man-made fibre (big mistake), full of optimism about what I would achieve that week and find myself struggling to identify my priorities or to remember where I had left a particular conversation, project or task.  Systems that I previously had in place to manage my workload no longer served me well as I’d invariably decide doing it differently would help me more, then forget what I had started!  Once a pretty focussed, organised worker now finding myself flailing at times and wondering what on earth was going on? The impact on my self-confidence in the workplace was real and I began to doubt my abilities.

Hello peri-menopause. What?

Let’s be honest if we’ve even heard the term (and that’s not a given) peri-menopause is awkward and confusing…  Is it menopause? Is it real? How do we know if we’re experiencing it? (All questions that we’ll look at in future Blogs) In the workplace it can be even more awkward and confusing.


– to talk about (especially at work)

– to identify the less obvious physical symptoms

– to admit we are maybe not functioning as productively as we used to in the workplace

– to admit we’ve got brain fog and sometimes lack clarity!

– to admit it might actually be happening as ‘surely I’m not old enough for this’

– to get people to be sympathetic towards the symptoms and not just find it funny


– as there are a host of symptoms, many of them psychological

– and yet we’re still having periods, albeit perhaps sporadically so we can’t be menopausal?  

– there’s no obvious start point

– and no one ever talks about it anyway so how are you meant to know!?

Awkward and confusing

And then there’s brain fog….who knew that was a thing?

And leading a team or an organisation, juggling partner, teenage kids, home, ageing parents, pets, Pilates whilst trying to hold down that job that you love and have always been great at…..

Going through peri-menopause can be hugely challenging.  It can certainly feel like the process is undermining us. Peri-menopause is generous in the menu of symptoms it offers; extensive, subtle, humiliating, painful (emotionally and physically) and just down right annoying!  

It can cause us to question our ability. Cause us to lose confidence in a job that we once loved, felt fulfilled in and performed to a high standard. Cause us to feel low and even depressed. Cause us to wonder if we’ve got early onset Dementia. Cause us to wonder ‘Who is this woman? that’s emerging through mid life’ as we don’t recognise some of our own characteristics any more. 

For me my saviour came in the form of a Sister at my GP practice who, when I told her how I was feeling and what was going on, said I didn’t have to just tolerate these feelings or put up with my symptoms and that I should chat with my GP (a menopause specialist thankfully). 

Fast forward 5 or so years and my experiences, coupled with discovering there is a distinct lack of good information has led me to start a private Facebook Group called ‘What the Fog? Understanding menopause & peri-menopause” which offers great information, advice and support. 

Alongside this I’m passionate about supporting women so that they don’t become undermined by their symptoms in their work life and career. Women aged 45-55 are the fastest growing workforce demographic in the UK today (Source: CIPD 2019). If we want to see more women on Boards, in senior leadership and leadership roles there’s work to be done to ensure organisational culture changes, confidence is built and women are able to successfully navigate this very natural life transition whilst leading and working. 

To that end I’ve developed the “Leading through the Fog” coaching programme seeking to address some of this; giving women the time to work out what they are experiencing, signposting them to good evidence based information about those symptoms and possible solutions, providing a confidential space to explore the impact of their symptoms on leadership, work and life, and time to identify changes and strategies for moving forward. 

This is a resource for workplaces seeking to offer the best support to the women in their workforce, is a great addition to your wellbeing strategy and could increase retention and presence at work.

There’s workplace training available too for managers and line managers so that everyone is better informed to tackle the taboo around menopause at work. 

For women whose workplaces are perhaps not there yet, the “Leading through the Fog” programme will give you the confidence to seek good solutions and enhance your leadership and life.

If you would be interested in finding out more about any of the Fog services, details can be found on my website. If you’d like to discuss your peri-menopause and the impact of your symptoms, please do contact me direct for a complimentary conversation or send a request to join my Facebook Group What the Fog?’.

Oh and in case you’re wondering why it’s all about peri-menopause?

Because menopause is just one day. 

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