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IWD 2024: Addressing Menstrual Matters at Work

Menstrual Matters at Work survey 2024

Happy International Women’s Day! At TOTM, we are championing menstrual comfort, wellbeing and dignity at work. We believe it’s important for employers to break down stigma and provide menstruation support in the workplace to foster a period positive environment where everyone can thrive.

We asked our community to share their experiences and thoughts on the topic of menstrual wellbeing at work. Our Menstrual Matters at Work 2024 survey highlighted the impact that periods have on how we feel, and the challenges that many of us face when dealing with PMS symptoms and menstruation in the workplace. You can take a look at the full survey results here.

Your top concerns addressed by a Period Coach

We always want to support our community in the best way that we can, so we took 3 key stats from the survey and ran these by Period Coach, Katherine Glyde, to gather her top tips.

When we asked our community what menstrual symptoms they struggled with at work,  low energy/fatigue (86%), menstrual cramps (74%) and mood changes (67%) were the top concerns.

Katherine’s top tips:

  • Consider how you’re fueling your body; stay hydrated and aim for nutritious food.
  • Prioritise sleep health by setting aside your phone and laptop an hour before bed. Creating a comfortable sleep environment is crucial for your overall wellbeing. Try a warm shower or bath before bedtime, and Keep a journal near your bed to clear your thoughts before drifting off.
  • Rest when you need to. You know your body best. Listen to what it’s trying to tell you so take time out when you feel like you need to.

80% of our community notice a difference in stress levels during menstruation, compared to other times of the month.

Katherine’s top tips:

  • Cycle and symptom tracking can be really helpful here. Being able to pre-empt your period starting can help you be more aware of what’s happening within your body.
  • Create your period toolkit by using the patterns and insights from cycle tracking. Consider how you can simplify your life during challenging cycle phases with strategies like meal prepping, journaling, and remote work (if possible).
  • Don’t hesitate to seek help – if you’re aware that stress levels can be challenging during menstruation, reach out for support. 80% of the TOTM community noticed this same pattern, so you’re not alone in feeling this way. Reach out to a trusted person, and simple actions like taking a walk and discussing your thoughts can help alleviate these symptoms.

Approximately two-thirds (66%) have felt hesitant or uncomfortable discussing period-related issues with co-workers or supervisors.

Katherine’s top tips:

  • Gather information about your cycle and your own experience; look at how it impacts you at work and what reasonable adjustments could be made to support you to thrive.
  • Speak to someone you trust in the first instance (even if it isn’t your direct manager) and come up with a plan together.
  • If you find it challenging to use technical scientific terms for the cycle, simplifying it is an option. As a coach, I have assisted employees and workplaces in adopting the concept of menstrual cycle seasons. This approach can make the cycle easier to understand for colleagues without direct experience, and it can facilitate open discussions about the cycle in a workplace setting.

(Seasons: menstruation = winter, follicular = spring, ovulation = summer, luteal = autumn and as a general rule of thumb, treating the menstrual cycle seasons like you would the weather can be a great starting point for support).

Thanks to our community for being a voice for change and to Katherine for sharing her expert tips. Join in the discussion by following us on socials, and if you want to champion periods in your place of work, take a look at our advice on how to approach this with your employer.

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