Menopause & Confidence
by Leah Larwood, 24th August 2022
“With age comes wisdom and confidence, and I don’t feel like I’m seeking approval as much as I used to from other people.” – Terri Clark
Even though the menopause can bring about spells of low confidence, it’s always worth holding onto the fact that the next chapter that follows is worth waiting for. Welcome to the season of the wonderous Wise Woman. What’s she like, you say? Here’s a clue: She doesn’t take any c*%p, she’s learnt heaps and she’s living her best life.
But first…navigating menopause, armed and ready.
All Hail, the Wonderous Wise Woman
The professional body for HR and people development, CIPD, reported that many menopausal women can experience a lack of confidence at some point. Three out of five said they have experienced a negative impact on their confidence at work, with a third reporting embarrassment as preventing them from saying why they had to take time off and another third saying an unsupportive manager was the reason (2).
When we spoke to our beloved Clementine community, we discovered that many of you talked about lacking confidence during menopause too. Some of you felt your confidence in your abilities had dropped, especially when it came to career. There was also a real sense of not wanting to ‘disappear,’ to stay visible.
If you’re going through the menopause or perimenopause, and your self-confidence has dipped, rest-assured, there are ways to overcome its impact on your overall quality of life and career.
How Mind and Body Impacts Confidenc
Low confidence in perimenopause and menopause can occur for a variety of reasons. Firstly, changes to your physical appearance and the effects of ageing can have an impact. Loss of confidence can also result from the reduction in oestrogen and possibly testosterone associated with menopause.
Some of the other symptoms of menopause such as anxiety, low mood, depression, joint pain, bladder issues, fatigue, brain fog and memory issues – these can lead to dips in confidence too. Dealing with hot flushes can also leave you on the back hoof, as you’re not always able to predict when you might be drenched in sweat. This can be anxiety-inducing and sometimes knock your confidence, and rightly so.
As a result, some women stop taking part in their usual social activities or exercise routines. Things that were once important to your identity can change, and so, social anxiety, low mood, or both, can occur as a result. These things can make you withdraw which can in turn lead to feelings of isolation and low confidence. On top of all these changes life events, family changes, relationships and work issues can also have an impact, either directly or indirectly related to the menopause.
Most importantly, remember that everyone is different and you may entirely coast past any of these bumps in the road. Or if you do experience any of these confidence blockers you may feel able to cope with them. If you can’t, there are ways to overcome them. More about that in a mo.
Sane in a Crazy World
As mentioned, various things can impact confidence levels. Pressures at work and colleagues or line managers that don’t fully understand. The same applies to partners and family members – sometimes people just won’t get it because it’s never happened to them. So actually there’s a bit of an education job here.
Society and culture is one source that can impact how women feel about menopause. Quite frankly, society could do a bit better at honouring and embracing the flip side of big life events such as pregnancy, menstruation and menopause. A louder voice is needed about the challenges associated with these natural and part-of-life occurrences – to ensure there’s a clear voice, transparency, decent education, and most importantly, support.
Luckily, workplaces are increasingly becoming more supportive about the type of support women need during menopause, though, we still have a long way to go. So that’s the first thing to remember. You’re body and mind is going through a natural process. It’s just the world around you hasn’t caught up yet.
It’s also worth remembering that having confidence about your experience doesn’t mean being perfect. Actually, a big part of having confidence is knowing how to roll with the punches when they happen. That said, having confidence during menopause can make a big difference to your overall experience, especially when it comes to your career and relationships.
Hypnotherapy + Confidence = A Match Made in Heaven
It’s well-documented that hypnotherapy is an excellent way to improve self-esteem and confidence levels (2). Confidence is a state of mind that leads to us believing in ourselves and our abilities. When we lack confidence we can become stressed-out, anxious and unfulfilled. How we see ourselves during menopause can be impacted by our peers, friends, family, colleagues, media/social media and our community at large.
Sometimes though, you may or may not start to feel differently about your body and mind during menopause and the aging process. Your mood, memory, emotions and body can change, and these changes can feel unsettling, unpredictable and worrying, at times. We can start to tell ourselves that we’re not capable or able to do the things we’ve always loved.
So a dancer who believes deep in their unconscious that they can no longer dance in public, in case they have a hot flush or forget their routine, might avoid performing, regardless of people telling them they’ve got great moves.
Hypnotherapy gently accesses the unconscious mind using helpful suggestions to facilitate positive change and support. These suggestions or affirmations are positively-framed to improve confidence and self-esteem. Through accessing your unconscious mind in this way, you can take control of how you are feeling about yourself during menopause.
Ultimately sometimes it can be your inner voice that feels like your biggest critic, impacting how you feel about yourself, your thoughts or your actions. However, it’s possible to work with these negative thoughts, even if they have become deeply embedded. Hypnotherapy can help to re-teach your unconscious mind and help you to see things in a more compassionate way – it gives you the license to be you.
Affirmations and Confidence
The right mindset goes a long way. The famous quote from Gautama Buddha, ‘we are what we think’, is strikingly true for those who have experienced this phenomenon through the practise of positive thinking. Similarly, telling yourself beneficial things through the use of affirmations, can help shift negative thinking and overcome patterns you would like to change. They are also proven to lower stress levels, decrease anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and improve confidence.
Affirmations are most effective when you are relaxed, which is when your mind is feeling more open to change. One way to make the most of your open and relaxed mind is to practise some simple self-hypnosis techniques. Self-hypnosis is really just that - a fancy term for changing your mindset during a relaxed state. You enter natural states of hypnosis over the course of your day, and like hypnosis, self-hypnosis is simply about passing on helpful messages to your subconscious.
How to Boost Confidence Levels During Menopause
Taking action to boost your confidence and how you feel is an important first step. In addition to practising affirmations and our hypnotherapy sessions for boosting confidence during menopause, you might also consider exploring other ways that boost your confidence. This will be different for each of you.
Ways to boost your confidence might include doing more exercise, carving out time to re-connect with a hobby or activity you love, spending more time with people that make you feel good. In fact, research shows that exercise in middle-aged women can boost self-esteem and improve feelings around negative body image (3).
You might also have to have an awkward conversation now and then, to make sure your needs are being heard. Talk to those colleagues or a manager your trust. Explain simply some of the symptoms you’re experiencing. You don’t need to go into detail. Just explain what you need.
Put in boundaries with your children, partner, parents, other family members and people you have contact with outside of work. Learn to say no. Learn to put yourself first. Learn to listen to those inner signs that are signalling for support.
How Our Sessions Help
When interviewing women going through menopause, we found that many women feel negative about aging and that menopause was a trigger for these thoughts. When asked how they would like to feel instead, participants talked about wanting to focus on what comes next, and to feel excited and optimistic about the future.
Play The Confidence Ritual (4 minute morning session)
Designed to help you get excited and confident about the day ahead, to feel optimistic about what it may bring and ready to spot and grab hold of opportunities. Either using a menopause day cream or serum as part of your morning ritual. We will guide you through a soothing massage to relax and calm stress and anxiety and create a relaxed state of focus preparing the mind to absorb the positive suggestions. We’ll then invite you to repeat positive affirmations written to help you feel more confident, in control and more optimistic and excited about the future. You may feel the results immediately, although for a longer-term mindset change, we recommend listening to the sessions at least three times a week, for a month.