I have been a news anchor for the past 20+ years. Some days are harder than others depending on the types of stories or the lack of sleep, with long hours and short deadlines.
But none of those years prepared me for the night that it turns out helped me find my true voice after all these years. A voice that has changed my midlife in an incredible way.
It’s still hard to describe the terror I felt that night, as the words on the teleprompter scrambled into nonsense. I could see the words but not recognize them.
Central to my self-assurance, though, had been my ability to ad-lib and think on the fly. I was only half-joking when I used to say, “Give me a pothole, and I can talk for an hour.” Now I had to plan my “impromptu” speeches, which fell flat. Add hot flashes and anxiety attacks, night sweats and sleep deprivation, and you have a recipe for disaster. It made me timid on the job, which only worsened the problem.
I hit menopause. Primetime in my career quite literally. And I realized that it was the one subject I (and millions of other women) knew very little to nothing about. Menopause is not only stigmatized, it’s also disruptive to our professional lives in addition to our personal ones.
This set me on a path to roar with my voice in a way I had not before. I found this would soon be the one story of my career that changed me forever. Midlife + menopause helped me find meaning. Today, I am a menopause advocate. I spend my days talking to communities of women on social media so that they will be prepared for menopause.
I want to make sure they are not terrified when they can’t find the right words. I want to make sure that midlife is their time to THRIVE, not simply survive. I want them to desire new things, make their wellness a priority and to be a part of the changing cultural patterns that make up the new midlife. Think about this…
- Loss of confidence happens because of reduction in estrogen and maybe testosterone
- Two thirds of women are negatively impacted by menopause symptoms in the workplace
- One in every five women has left or considered leaving a job due to menopause symptoms
- Menopausal women make up over 20% of the workforce (that’s 27 million women)
- Women 50 and over are the fastest growing segment of the workforce
You can’t treat brain fog with a pill, but you can manage it in midlife. Here are the things that are working for me:
- Getting organized so that when you are forgetful, you have installed some ways to recall quicker.
- Less is more – prioritize issues so you are making fewer decisions which makes me more productive.
- My multitasking has come to a screeching halt: the only way I can get something done is to limit what I focus on
- Marie Kondo your home, desk, email, and car
- Take mental breaks. (I walk a lot these days, and not with my air pods on. I just walk quietly to allow things in my head to reconnect.)
- Stop dissing the need to take time out of your schedule for yourself. And be realistic. Eighty percent of what we are worried about doesn’t happen! I try to remember that to reduce the stress.
And what can we do in the big picture, because we shouldn’t have to solve this alone? ROAR is every way that you can – not just for yourself but for the next generation of midlife women coming up behind you.
By Tamsen Fadal, News Anchor