We interviewed Nicola de Burlet, beauty guru and founder of The PR Studio, about her experiences of menopause and how she juggles brain fog with running a business...
How has menopause affected you?
It was a gradual slip for me, I didn’t realise what was happening! It was the small things, like getting extremely hot at night or waking up at 3am in a blind panic about something that I wouldn't have thought twice about before. I remember sitting down at my desk some days and not knowing where to start! But the worst thing for me was the overwhelming feeling of dread that I started to experience. Instead of waking up feeling positive and excited about what the day would bring, I started to feel as though I couldn’t handle stuff. I became panicky, sad and anxious. I went to the doctor, who told me I had postnatal depression even though my son was 10! It just didn’t add up and I knew there was something much deeper going on.
How did you deal with all of that whilst running a business?
Once I got my HRT sorted I knew I had to do more exercise. I started doing the Joe Wicks 90 day plan after my business partner recommended it and it has really helped my concentration. Vitamin D has also been brilliant for me, as well as making sure I plan my day the night before so I can get straight into it in the morning.
Do you have any other top tips that have helped make this shift easier?
I went to see a gynaecologist to get a full picture and that helped a lot. I also saw a nutritional therapist who advised me I had a dairy and wheat intolerance which might have been contributing to my crippling migraines. Apparently food intolerances can become more common as we get older as our gut lining thins. Limiting sugar is also key in midlife, as I find it just sits around your middle! I started following some great doctors on social media where there are no taboos and you can ask questions and hear like minded women speaking about their experiences. I recommend Dr Louise Newson, Dr Shahzadi Harper, the Postcards from Midlife gang and the Mpowered women.
Do you think there is enough research and advice given to women to prepare for menopause?
Nope! But my generation is changing that. We are much more informed on topics of beauty and wellness and speak openly about what we use and what we love. Now that we are all hitting menopause, this will be the next thing that we tackle by being open and honest about that too! There isn’t enough training for GPs on menopause because they are generalists. It isn’t their fault, but fobbing peri-menopausal women off with anti depressants when they should be having HRT just isn’t good enough!
What do you wish you’d known before reaching menopause?
I just wish there’d been more information out there. I asked my mum about it but it was different for their generation, they weren’t juggling madly like we do now – running businesses, raising kids and looking after ageing parents. They didn't have the information overload from social media and their stress levels weren’t comparable so they experienced it very differently. It wasn’t the done thing to talk about it, so no one did!
Find more from Nicola over on Instagram: @silverstylepages