Menopause in the expat workplace: the challenges
As mentioned, going through menopause as an expat can present a number of stressful challenges
. These can include (but are not limited to):
1) Adjusting to new environments
As an expat, especially if you have recently made the move, you may face additional stress in adapting to a new country, workplace culture, and support network while dealing with menopause symptoms. While you may want to ensure that your work performance is up to its usual standards, all of these changes at once can be overwhelming.
2) Language and cultural barriers
Asking for support with menopause symptoms can be embarrassing enough without the added challenge of language and cultural barriers. These may put a block to you effectively communicating your needs and knowing where to seek the right supports.
Strategies for navigating menopause in the expat workplace
While it may seem overwhelming, there are a number of ways to find the care and support you need while working and living abroad.
1) Seek supportive networks
Your first port of call should be connecting with other expat women or women's groups in your new country. Sharing experiences, advice, and coping strategies can provide a valuable support system and help you keep things in perspective, similar to seeking support at home.
2) Maintain open communication
Your employer and colleagues may not be aware of the challenges you are facing – the only way to ensure understanding and support is by communicating your needs honestly. Advocate for yourself and request the accommodations you need when necessary.
3) Educate yourself
While you may be experiencing symptoms daily, many women don’t know the background of how and why their bodies are going through these changes. Research as much as you can about the menopause, its symptoms, and treatments that might be helpful for you. Understand how your symptoms may show up and identify strategies for managing them effectively.
4) Practice and prioritise self-care
Try to maintain a healthy routine of self-care,
even when symptoms are overwhelming. Things like regular exercise, healthy eating habits, stress management techniques, and sufficient sleep all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
5) Investigate flexible work arrangements
Check with your employer to see if there are any flexible work arrangements available, such as remote work, adjusted schedules, or flexi-hours. These can help manage symptoms and even maximise productivity by ensuring you are well-rested and as comfortable as possible.
6) Advocate for menopause-friendly policies at your workplace
If there are none already in place, engage with your employer or HR department to discuss how they could implement policies for a more menopause-friendly workplace. Use the opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges women face during menopause and propose initiatives such as menopause education programs or support networks.
Supporting menopause in the workplace
Even if you are not experiencing menopause symptoms yourself, there are many ways to support other women who may be struggling in your workplace.
a) Cultural sensitivity: In your host country, cultural attitudes towards menopause can be very different to what you’re used to. Tailor your approach accordingly, and seek guidance from your HR representatives to ensure menopause support is a priority without offending anyone involved.
b) Utilise resources: Familiarise yourself with local healthcare providers, support groups and any resources that might be helpful to those dealing with menopause. Your colleagues will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
c) Educate your employers and colleagues: Insensitive comments and jokes have no place in a menopause-positive workplace. Share educational materials or workshops on menopause with your employer and colleagues, and promote an environment of empathy and menopause support at work.
Expat life brings its own set of challenges, and navigating menopause while adjusting to a new workplace and culture can be demanding. Prioritise your peace of mind as an expat with an international health insurance policy from Allianz Partners.
With round-the-clock digital supports, and cover available for mental healthcare as well as physical, you’re sure to find the right plan for you.