We talk to many people who feel their self-confidence has faded away, and this can have a real impact on their overall quality of life.
Many of these symptoms can contribute to the loss of confidence and self-esteem in ways you may not expect.
Anxiety, low mood and depression, brain fog and memory issues can all make you question your performance.
Changes to your physical appearance and the effects of ageing can be important for many people.
Hot flushes and sweats– not being able to predict when you might next be drenched in sweat – can also have an impact on how you’re feeling.
You may stop taking part in activities that were important to your sense of self. For example, if you get joint pains or bladder issues, these may stop you from exercising.
Anxiety or fatigue can stop you from socialising or seeing friends, while night sweats can keep you awake and leave you tired during the day.
All of these things can make you withdraw from life and feel more isolated.
What causes loss of confidence and self-esteem?
As with most symptoms of the menopause, loss of confidence may result from the reduction in oestrogen and possibly testosterone.
Life events, family changes, relationships and work issues can also have an impact, along with the physical changes of ageing. These factors may be either directly or indirectly related to the menopause.
There are some questions you can ask yourself to help you better understand what might be behind your loss of confidence or self-esteem:
Is it just loss of confidence or do you have other symptoms as well?
What is your mood like?
Are you sleeping?
Is there stress in your life?
How are the physical symptoms of the menopause for you, such as hot flushes, bladder symptoms and vaginal dryness? How do they make you feel?
Please don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor about how you’re feeling, as there are so many different options available that can help you feel better.
Many people find that getting on top of other symptoms helps them to get their confidence back.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)d
This can be an excellent way of getting on top of your menopause symptoms. You may feel anxious about taking HRT because of everything you’ve read in the media, which tends to highlight the risks and give less coverage to the benefits.
However, many menopausal women find that dealing with the symptoms can boost their day-to-day confidence, self-esteem and motivation while reducing mood swings. You can find out more about HRT here.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
If you’re struggling to pinpoint why you’re feeling the way you are, talking therapies can help. Working with someone to look at the positive areas of your life, or to help rethink and reset unhelpful negative thinking, can help you start to get your confidence back. Find out more about our CBT partners Sue Makin and Claire Lloyd.
Dealing with work issues
If it’s work that’s getting on top of you, there are a few things you can do that could help you get your confidence back:
Could you speak to someone at work about how you’re feeling – a colleague, your line manager or someone in the HR department? Many companies now have policies in place for the menopause. The Faculty of Occupational Health has good guidance that you could share, as does the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development
Are there changes to your work environment that could make you feel more comfortable – like having water to hand, access to cooling fans or windows?
Extra training or upskilling, coaching or counselling can be massively helpful to empower you to find the best way to thrive.
Sex therapy is a brilliant way to help you feel more positive about your changing body and can help you find a positive way forward in how you feel about yourself and/or your relationship. You can find out more about Sue Makin, our sex therapy partner here.
This is really important. Find a way to de-stress and get some headspace through yoga, meditation or just going for a long walk – whatever it is that you can find to help you switch off for a while.
Exercise can be a brilliant way of improving your body image, increasing wellbeing, reducing weight gain and boosting your self-esteem and energy.
These tips are not exhaustive and there will be ways of boosting your confidence and motivation that are more specific to you as an individual.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT SOMEONE THEY THINK MAY BE ENTERING OR IN MENOPAUSE
Take the following steps so you can sympathetically understand what’s going on and why.
Regular exercise can help them manage their weight, irregular periods and moods during the perimenopause and menopause.
Combining something you want to do (spend time together) along with something you need to do (exercise) can be a real game changer.
Partnering up to go for a walk, swim or to the gym is also more likely to help you both stay motivated.
ASK THEM TO EXPLAIN
Don’t assume you know what they feel like, even if you’ve had UTIs yourself. Gently ask them to explain the effect it is having on them physically and emotionally.
You may not be able to do anything to make them feel better. But they may not want answers, they may just need to talk – and be properly heard. Switch your listening ears on and give them your full attention.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO SPEAK TO A DOCTOR
If their symptoms have been going on a while or seem to be getting worse, gently encourage them to speak to a GP. You could even offer to go to the appointment with them to show your support.
If you'd like more information, we have put some further references below for you: