27. Menopause and work: How uncertainty and stress impact women's career - Part 2 (COVID Series)

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This is part 2 of a 2-part interview with Dr Fatima Khan, a Menopause Specialist, discussing how menopause and hormonal imbalances affect women’s career from as early as mid 30s. I go into detail about Fatima’s training in my introduction on part 1, so please listen to that episode first (Ep.26) to learn more about her background, and  most importantly, to listen to her introduction to the issues we will be unpacking in this second half of our discussion.

After quite a few weeks of podcasts focusing squarely on COVID-19, the interview with Fatima turned out to be an absolute winner. Downloads have been massive, so thank you so much to everyone who has been listening, and I’ve also received calls, emails and messages of support. I love it when this happens: when I take somewhat of a risk – frankly I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to releasing an episode about menopause during a covid pandemic! – but it seems you liked it! It shows we are in tune with each other. And thank you for giving me the feedback. Good or bad, it’s important that we continue to communicate, so the episodes are always interesting and something you look forward to.

Before we continue with our interview, a quick reminder that for those who are finding us for the first time, Hi, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. The aim for this podcast is to help you nail your next job and have the career you want. If you are currently on the market looking for a new job or if you want tips on how to advance or change careers, make sure you follow this podcast on iTunes, YouTube or Spotify. Better still, sign up for Reset Your Career, and I'll send you the new episode by email every week.

And talking about feedback, I’d really appreciate if you could take a moment and leave this podcast a review on iTunes. iTunes reviews are super important for searchability of podcast episodes and shows. It’s what makes a podcast popular and easy to find for others around the globe who may be experiencing the same issues you are, and would really benefit from listening. So please, pay it forward. Give it a 5-star rating and write a review as well. It would mean the world to me, and would help a fellow job hunter. You may not know this, but we have listeners from all over the world. Less then half of my listeners are from Australia, where I reside. The rest is spread out on all corners of the globe, from Africa to the Caribbean Islands, Europe to Asia. It’s truly fascinating to get the statistics. It shows that career planning and job hunting are truly universal topics and, despite a few regional and cultural adjustments which I’m hoping you, the listener, know you’d need to make, there is a whole lot of techniques and strategies that are universal.

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In this part 2 of the interview with Dr Fatima Khan, we talk about the stress that comes from juggling career and family life, from deciding when/if to have kids, and considering if you will be able to cope with it all. It’s palpable how much Fatima is concerned about women’s wellbeing and her concern about how stress and anxiety is impacting not only our career progression, but our overall health. Fatima worries that right when we reach the career level that we aspire, we encounter the stigma of women not being effective leaders or decision makers. Her goal is to ensure hormonal inbalances are not affecting women at this time, that they are under control so women feel in control.

I interviewed Fatima at the very beginning of covid, so also I had the opportunity to ask her about the anxiety brought about by the lockdown and how it can impact us as well. Below is a list we prepared for you to help you maintain your wellbeing during these challenging times.

Dr Fatima Khan’s top advice for women’s wellbeing:

  1. Journaling: as discussed last week, this is the main framework suggested by Dr Khan. It helps bring awareness and consciousness on what is happening to our body before and after our menstruation.
  2. With the help of your doctor, take the proper supplements to help our hormones. Fatima mentions a few for as examples and for educational purposes: magnesium powder, fish oil, vitamin B, iron supplement, 1000 mg of liposomal vitamin C. If you’re finding you're getting a bit sick, you can take vitamin C up to three times a day.
  3. Seven to ten days before your period, change your workout routine into more calming rehabilitative workouts.
  4. Find purpose and meaning through connection and helping other people. It can be doing some volunteer work that is very helpful these days, or simply buying someone’s groceries. This will give us a sense of fulfillment and contentment, something outside of ourselves.
  5. Practice the act of Kindness: We have talked about taking care of our physical, emotional and mental well-being. Kindness is almost contagious when you try and do things for other people, without thinking of gain for our self and actually is food for the soul.
  6. Practice self-reflection: Self-reflection is one of the most fundamental things to do, because when we self-reflect, we get a better perspective of what we want to do or what we can change. And this will help us immensely in our careers as well.
  7. In this time of pandemic, it is important to know that feeling anxious is a normal reaction of our body.
  8. Stop listening to the news all the time. Only look at the news once a day, and go back to your normal routine. Do the things you would normally do.
  9. Do some activities that you love to take your mind off things and let you relax such as dancing, cooking, baking and puzzles. Legos are fantastic for mindfulness.
  10. Follow a good sleep hygiene. Refer to last week’s interview show notes.
  11. Finally, it is important to have compassion, not just in this time of pandemic, but also in our careers. We don’t know what each person is going through, and it helps to sometimes put ourselves in their feet.
  12. Don’t forget to be aware of symptoms and signs of perimenopause and menopause and get the proper treatment. See the links below.

Dr Fatima Khan is a member of the AGORA Medical Specialist Centre and Medical Education team, based in Melbourne. At the time this episode goes live, as we are in lockdown mode due to COVID-19, the Australian Government has enabled doctors to see patients remotely via telehealth. So this is a great opportunity, if you are based in Australia and would like to book an appointment with her. I will list the contact details for Fatima, and other Agora Medical Clinic in the episode show notes.

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Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 

If you are 1) an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, 2) looking to find your next job or promotion, or 3) you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running – then this podcast is for you. In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients. 

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Renata Bernarde | Job Hunting Expert | Founder, Pantala Academy

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