How to manage menopause-related brain fog and memory issues

Menopause and brain fog
July 11, 2023

Menopause can really mess with your mind when it comes to memory and focus. Brain fog and memory slips can be particularly frustrating when you want to give the impression you are on
top of your game at work. You may lose confidence in your abilities, even for challenges that have never fazed you before. Our friends at Stella, the online menopause clinic, have effective techniques for managing brain fog and memory issues at work. Read on for their top tips.

What to do when you keep forgetting things

Forgetting a password, blanking on a colleague’s name, losing a file you use everyday or missing an important meeting - it can be tough to keep on top of it all when your brain feels like cotton wool. Here are some practical ways to help you work effectively while managing brain-related menopause symptoms:

  1. Take detailed notes
    Start taking thorough notes during meetings, conversations and when receiving instructions. Writing things down helps you remember important details and gives you a useful reference point when you need to recall information later.
  2. Use calendars and reminders
    Schedule important tasks and deadlines on your calendar, digital or physical, as soon as you are told of the dates. Set reminders to prompt you about upcoming meetings or appointments. This can help you stay organised and keep you from missing critical information or commitments.
  3. Repeat and summarise
    Practise repeating or summarising when you’re receiving instructions or information to make sure you’ve understood. This technique reinforces the information in your mind and also allows your colleagues to confirm if you've correctly grasped the message. It helps prevent misunderstandings and keeps communication clear.
  4. Communicate openly with your colleagues
    Have open and honest conversations with your colleagues if you’re struggling to remember things. You can set realistic expectations and work together to find better ways to communicate and collaborate when you explain what you are going through.They can offer support and adapt their communication styles to help you. Menopause education is improving all the time and they may welcome the opportunity to learn more about your experience.
Manage stress

Stress and brain fog often go hand in hand. When you're overwhelmed and stressed, your cognitive abilities can suffer and you may find yourself forgetting things more often or struggling to focus.
Experiment to find what helps you feel more relaxed, whether it's a lunchtime walk, meditation, a creative hobby or perhaps something new like wild swimming! Here are some ideas that can help:

  1. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
    It’s easy to dismiss mindfulness as a bit woo-woo but it’s proven to help you regain focus and calm your mind. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are powerful practices that are proven to help relaxation and lower stress levels.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep
    Disrupted sleep may be another of your menopause symptoms and the knock-on effect can impact on how well you focus and remember things at work the next day. Try these tips to sleep
  3. Balancing work and play
    Finding a healthy work-life balance is crucial during menopause. If you feel that your performance isn’t up to your usual standard, it can be tempting to work longer hours to compensate, but this can actually make things worse. Prioritise your breaks, take part in activities you enjoy outside of work, and make time for hobbies and relaxation. Taking care of yourself allows you to recharge and maintain mental clarity, which will improve your productivity.
Find support and resources

Dealing with menopause-related brain fog and memory issues can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. Finding support and accessing relevant resources can make a significant difference in managing your symptoms and keeping that all-important positive work-life balance. Here are a few things you can try:

  1. Find a supportive community
    Connecting with other people who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly empowering. Look for communities, forums, or networking groups specifically created for people
    going through menopause. The Latte Lounge, Perimenopause Hub and Perimenopause Support UK are just three examples of active online communities where you can get support from others. These platforms provide a space to share stories, exchange advice, and gain support from people who really understand the challenges you're facing.
  2. Get help from your doctor and menopause experts
    Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and see what support they can offer. Here’s a useful checklist of questions to ask to get the most out of your appointment. They may recommend lifestyle changes to help your symptoms or suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Try Stella’s free online menopause assessment so you can find out what stage of menopause you’re at and if HRT is an option for you. Once you’ve completed the assessment you can take out a paid subscription which gives you access to online doctor’s appointments, HRT (if eligible) and a personalised plan on the Stella app. Use the code 2TO3DISC15 for a £15 discount.
  3. Talk to your manager
    If you’re struggling at work, it’s important to talk to your manager and make them aware. Share your experiences and challenges so that they understand your struggles. They may help you find suitable solutions or workplace adjustments that can support you. This could involve putting work requests in writing, being more clear when asking for something, or allowing you more time for certain tasks.

Brain fog can be a really frustrating menopause symptom, but there are ways to stop it affecting your confidence or questioning your abilities. You’ll feel more in control in no time by making small adjustments to how you work, getting support from those around you and making positive lifestyle changes.

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