One of the fascinating things about our landscape during lockdown has been the new paths that 1000s of individual journeys have made. The new tracks that have appeared in parks, where we’ve left the concrete to explore new ground. Where we’ve stepped around individuals to find more space. Or discovered a more efficient route from A to B.
And we’ve established new routines too. We may have had to juggle home learning (or ‘unlearning’ as it became known in our house!), dedicate more time to active support of relatives and neighbours. We learned what Zoom ‘is’. We changed our buying habits. Ecommerce saw purchases increase by 40% in 2020.
And mental health became front of mind. According to a national health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40% of adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder during January 2021, a 300% increase versus a baseline pre-covid situation in the first half of 2019.
Many of us took wellness into our own hands for the first time too. Headspace, the meditation app, has seen a 100% increase in registered users in the last 12 months.
We learned to journal.
And we learned to talk. Across our community many have reflected that conversation patterns shifted. We stopped saying ‘fine’ or ‘good’ when people asked; ‘how are you’? A new world allowed a new etiquette. Where honesty trumped manners. Because we were able to see, regardless of background, lifestage, job title...affluence, we are all vulnerable humans.
Last week we hosted a workshop on cognitive behavioural therapy with the wonderful Emma Persand, co-founder of Lemur Health and a specialist in supporting women in menopause in the workplace. And one of the biggest insights she shared was the impact that mindset has on our experience of menopause symptoms. CBT works because it helps us to break the ‘vicious cycle’ that exacerbates symptoms in the moment. It helps us find new narratives by encouraging us to question the ones we carry.
But we also know that simply realising you’re not alone helps significantly too. It’s why our business is built community. We feel better when we share. And women are wise. We learn from each other. Infact, during menopause, our trust in each other is at its highest - because women ‘know’ - and the other institutions we’d normally turn to, often...don’t.
So, as the world continues its slow unlock, can this new sense of connectivity extend to give us, as midlife women, permission to be honest about our life stage more broadly? Will we feel we have permission to say ‘today is not a good day. I didn’t sleep well last night’? Or ‘I’m here, I have value, but assessing this piece of work will take longer because I’m struggling with brain fog right now’.
Because, if we take this moment as permission to have agency, then we go one step further towards squashing the menopause taboo. We change the pathway for others too. We stay in the job we love because we can be honest about what we need without feeling that our value has decreased. We stay out and social, because we can share. We stay vocal because our voice is heard. That is when change happens. And where the real adventures begin.
With love, the MPowder Team.
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