Farah Kariamburi introduces the 3M Framework – Mentality, Microcosm, and Methodology – to help with your menopause journey
Once you enter menopause, whether with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or not, it’s a journey that you will embrace forever. Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, and it’s here to stay. Rather than fearing it, let’s embark on this journey with knowledge, acceptance, and determination to make small yet transformative changes. Let’s take control of our lives, health, and well-being as we navigate the perimenopausal to postmenopausal transition.
In this article, we’ll introduce the empowering 3M Framework – Mentality, Microcosm, and Methodology – that will guide you through this phase of life, helping you understand the profound impact of hormonal changes, manage relationships, regain your confidence in the workplace, and take practical steps to elevate your overall quality of life.
1. Mentality: The Foundation of Transformation
The first pillar of the 3M Framework is Mentality, which encompasses three critical elements: Educate, Embrace, and Elevate.
Educate: Understanding hormones and their impact
The journey towards elevating your life during perimenopause and post-menopause begins with knowledge. Educate yourself about the crucial role of three essential hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – in your body. Understanding how their decline affects your physical and emotional well-being is pivotal, not just in the present but also in the future. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and well-being.
Estrogen is often considered the cornerstone of female hormones, as it plays a central role in regulating the female reproductive system and has widespread effects throughout the body. It impacts reproductive function, bone health, heart health, vaginal health, and even mood and cognitive function.
Progesterone, often known as the “pregnancy hormone,” is crucial in regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting pregnancy. It also influences mood, sleep, and breast health, and plays a role in maintaining bone density.
While typically associated with men, testosterone is also present in smaller amounts
in females and plays a significant role in vitality. It influences libido, energy levels, muscle mass, mood, and even cognitive function.
Understanding the roles of these hormones in female physiology is crucial for women going through perimenopause and menopause. As these hormones fluctuate and decline, they can lead to a range of physical and emotional changes. Being informed about these changes allows women to make proactive decisions about their health and well-being and seek appropriate medical guidance when necessary.
Tips for Elevating Your Life at Work
Prioritize self-care at work
Make time for short breaks during the workday. Use these moments to practice deep breathing exercises, stretch, or simply relax. Self-care at work can help you manage stress and improve focus.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that affect your work performance, don’t hesitate to communicate with your supervisor or HR department. Discuss possible workplace accommodations that can support your well-being.
Set realistic goals
Menopause can bring physical and emotional changes. Set realistic goals at work and don’t hesitate to delegate tasks when needed. Prioritizing your well-being is essential for long-term success.
Embrace: Accepting the natural transition
Once you’ve educated yourself about hormonal changes, it’s time to embrace the reality that perimenopause and menopause are natural phases. Embrace the idea that these transitions, with their unique challenges, are intrinsic parts of your life journey. Accept that menopause isn’t a brief chapter but a lifelong phase.
Tips for Embracing Change at Work
Seek flexible work arrangements that accommodate your changing needs. Flextime, remote work options, or adjusted hours can make your work-life balance more manageable.
Join supportive networks
Look for women’s networks or affinity groups within your workplace that focus on health and well-being. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide emotional support.
Mentorship and coaching
Consider seeking mentorship or coaching from experienced colleagues who have navigated menopause while maintaining successful careers. Their guidance can be invaluable.
Elevate: Rise to your full potential
With a foundation of education and acceptance, it’s time to elevate your life. This is where you take control and make strategic choices. Begin with a comprehensive audit of your current lifestyle, examining your habits, health markers, and overall well-being. Approach this assessment from a place of determination to improve. The journey is not about standing still; it’s about progressing.
Tips for Elevating Your Career and Confidence
Invest in skill development
Consider taking courses or workshops that enhance your skills or introduce you to new ones. Lifelong learning keeps your mind sharp and boosts your confidence.
Don’t shy away from leadership roles. You have the wisdom and experience to excel in your chosen field. Showcase your abilities and seek leadership opportunities that align with your goals.
Prioritize your mental well-being. Techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help you manage stress, boost confidence, and maintain focus at work.
2. Microcosm: The Impact of Relationships, Environment, and Purpose
The second pillar of the 3M Framework is Microcosm, which encompasses three key elements: REP (Relationships, Environment, and Purpose).
R for Relationships
The journey through perimenopause can significantly impact various relationships, including those at your workplace, with your partner, caregivers, and teenagers. Hormonal changes can affect mood and well-being, leading to potential misunderstandings. Open and honest communication is key to navigating these changes together.
Tips for Enhancing Workplace Relationships
Maintain open and honest communication with colleagues and supervisors. If you’re facing challenges due to hormonal changes, discussing them can lead to better understanding and support.
Cultivate empathy and understanding towards your colleagues’ needs and challenges as well. This creates a supportive work environment. If conflicts arise, use effective conflict resolution strategies to maintain a harmonious workplace. Seek mediation or guidance if necessary.
E for Environment
Ensure your home environment supports your changing hormonal needs. Create spaces for relaxation and self-care. Communicate with your family about your needs and the importance of a supportive atmosphere. Additionally, evaluate your work environment. Do you have opportunities for breaks and stress management? Is there understanding from your boss and support from your team? Open communication about your health needs at work is crucial.
Tips for Creating a Supportive Work Environment
Design your workspace
Personalize your workspace with elements that promote well-being, such as plants or calming artwork. A comfortable and inviting workspace can positively impact your mood.
Encourage stress-reduction practices at work, such as mindfulness sessions or designated relaxation areas. Collaborate with your employer to create a stress-free workspace.
Advocate for workplace flexibility that accommodates your needs. Flexible hours, remote work options, and supportive policies can enhance your work environment.
P for Purpose
Consider your sense of purpose during this phase of life. Can you continue to excel in your career without worrying about age-related biases? Embrace your experience and wisdom to excel in your chosen field. Seek mentorship or support networks if needed. Pursue personal goals and interests without feeling limited by your age or life stage. Continue to climb the ladders and stay at the top of your game, embracing your life’s purpose with confidence.
Tips for Finding Purpose at Work
Set meaningful goals
Define clear and meaningful career goals that align with your values and interests. Pursue projects and roles that resonate with your sense of purpose.
Mentorship and networking
Connect with mentors or peers who share your professional aspirations. Their guidance can help you navigate challenges and achieve your career goals.
Embrace opportunities for continuous growth and development in your career. Attend workshops, conferences, and training programs that expand your skillset.
3. Methodology: Practical Steps for Transformative Change
The third pillar of the 3M Framework is Methodology, represented by the word FIT (Food, Invigorate, and Training).
F for Food
One of the common challenges women face during perimenopause is the struggle to maintain or achieve their desired weight. Hormonal changes can lead to slower metabolisms. It’s essential to learn how to nourish your body for the long term because menopause is here to stay. The ethos here is simple – no diets and no deprivations. Embrace a balanced approach to eating by including foods from all groups with simple portion controls. Practice mindful and slow eating. The goal is not just to manage your weight but to fuel your body optimally for this phase of life.
Tips for Nourishing Your Body at Work
Healthy office snacks
Keep nutritious snacks like nuts, fruits, or yogurt at your desk to avoid unhealthy workplace snacking. These snacks provide sustained energy throughout the workday.
Prepare balanced lunches at home to bring to work. This ensures you have control over your food choices and can avoid less healthy office options.
Stay hydrated at work by keeping a reusable water bottle on your desk. Proper hydration supports overall well-being and can help manage menopausal symptoms.
I for Invigorate
Creating space for rest and rejuvenation is crucial during perimenopause. If you’re working from home, consider going for a walk during your lunch hour or incorporating stretches and deep breathing throughout the day. Booking time off from work and home responsibilities to give yourself space is essential. Prioritize self-care and relaxation to support your physical and emotional well-being.
Tips for Self-Care During the Workday
Take short breaks during the workday to stretch, practice deep breathing, or simply relax. These mini breaks can help you recharge and stay focused.
If possible, use your lunch break for a brief workout, yoga session, or even a short walk. Physical activity during the day can boost your mood and energy levels.
Allocate moments for mental breaks. Step away from your desk, close your eyes, and engage in mindfulness exercises to reduce stress and improve concentration.
T for Training
Exercise is a cornerstone of health at any stage of life, but it’s especially important during perimenopause and beyond. The methodology for effective training in this phase is simple yet highly effective – focus on lifting weights with progression. As you develop muscle mass, your metabolism will receive a boost. Aim for at least three sessions per week, ideally lasting 30 minutes each time. Strength training not only helps with weight management but also supports bone health, improves mood, and enhances overall vitality.
Tips for Effective Exercise at Work
Incorporate desk exercises into your work routine. Simple stretches and strength-building exercises can be done discreetly at your desk.
If your workplace has a fitness facility or offers lunchtime workout classes, take advantage of these opportunities to stay active during the workday.
Suggest walking meetings with colleagues when discussing less formal matters. Walking and talking can boost creativity and overall well-being.
With the completion of the third pillar, Methodology, the 3M Framework is now fully integrated. This framework empowers women to navigate perimenopause and post-menopause with knowledge, acceptance, and practical steps for transformative change. Embrace this journey and take control of your life, health, and well-being. You have the power to thrive during this phase and continue to excel in all aspects of your life.