6 tips to stop mid-life hormones ruining your career

by | Aug 30, 2016

 How mid-life hormones can impact your work and life

Mid-life hormones

Mid-life hormones can impact your work

You’re smart, confident and you’re a high achiever. And you’ve worked damned hard to get to where you are in your career. And then you hit your 40’s. And suddenly things aren’t so easy. You’re more tired than usual, your moods are all over the place and your brain isn’t as sharp as it should be. This isn’t you, it’s your  mid-life hormones going into over-drive.
Hormones aren’t just about puberty, pregnancy, menopause and your monthly cycle. They totally rule your energy levels, mood, brain function, bone health, weight and sex drive, and if they are out of balance, you’re going to know about it.

Your hormones after 40

After 40, your hormones can go a bit haywire. These are the peri-menopausal years leading up to your periods finally stopping. It’s a bit like going through puberty but without the raging sex hormones!

 And these years can be particularly debilitating if you’re in a demanding job or a stressful environment. When you used to be super sharp, energized, confident and powerful, your mid-life hormones can make you feel the opposite. This is not good when you need to be at your absolute best all day long.

10 common symptoms caused by mid-life hormones

1. PMS – your periods may be irregular or they can be more heavy and painful than ever before.
2. Brain fog & memory loss – fluctuating oestrogen levels coupled with stress can fog up your brain.
3. Fatigue – finding it hard to get up in the morning, energy dips throughout the day or just plain exhausted at night, fatigue is a common symptom.
4. Weight gain – hormones can cause weight loss resistance in spite of all your efforts to control your diet.
5. Hot flushes (flashes) – these happen when oestrogen is fluctuating and messing with your thermo-regulation control. Cortisol (stress) can exacerbate this.
6. Mood swings – you can feel depressed, happy, emotional, angry, snappy – all for no apparent reason. Again caused by fluctuating hormones.3plus restricted diet woman-surrounded-food

7. Sex drive – declining oestrogen and testosterone, along with increased cortisol levels, can crash your libido.
8. Sugar cravings – stress and hormone imbalances can make you feel like killing for that mid-afternoon chocolate bar (or those after dinner TV nibbles).
9. Anxiety – sometimes you can feel anxious about something that never used to bother you. This is often due to an imbalance in your neurotransmitter hormones (stress, thyroid and oestrogen all involved here too!).
10. Adrenal fatigue – after years of a demanding job, your stress resilience can suffer. This is a sign that your adrenals are struggling to cope and you need to slow down.

What are the solutions?

Help and advice can be confusing or hard to come by, and going to the Doctor can also be frustrating. HRT seems to be the only option and can be very effective, but comes with risks and potential side effects.

 Luckily there are natural alternatives that really do work. Diet, lifestyle and supplements can be just as effective in getting your hormones balanced and under control.

My top 6 tips to deal with those mid-life hormones:

 1. Ditch the sugar (and white carbs) – Sugar raises insulin (our fat storing hormone), which raises cortisol (our stress hormone) and messes with our sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone).
2. A daily spoonful of seeds – The phytoestrogens, omega fats and fibre in seeds can help rebalance oestrogen levels. Include a mix of flaxseeds (milled), chia seeds, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in your diet – throw them in smoothies, porridge, yoghurt, salads, soups and stews.
3. Eat your broccoli – At least one portion of cruciferous veg (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussell sprouts, watercress, rocket) a day can help with the elimination of excess hormones.
clean food4. Daily relaxation – Reducing stress levels using deep belly breathing, meditation, yoga, walking, relaxation Apps – whatever works for you, schedule in regular sessions. Getting a good nights sleep is essential – get to bed earlier, turn gadgets off, make the room dark.
5. Resistance training – Metabolism-boosting weight training has been associated with increased testosterone, which helps to burn fat and increase brain health and libido. Look for high intensity and circuit workouts.
6. Supplement with a good quality multivitamin (with good levels of B vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin E), a fish oil (with GLA, EPA and DHA) and a herbal formula (helpful herbs include ashwaghanda, black cohosh, red clover, hops, sage). Get your Vitamin D checked too, and supplement if needed.  (Always check with your health practitioner before taking any new supplements or herbal remedies).
While general tips can be useful, every woman is different and has a totally unique experience at this time of her life. So if you are suffering, it’s really important to get help from a qualified health practitioner, who can test you and put a personalised programme in place.
Prior JC. Perimenopause: The complex endocrinology of the menopausal transition. Endocr Rev. 1998;19:397-428.
Albert K, Broadwell C, Newhouse PA. Estrogen, menopause, and mood regulation. Menopausal Medicine. 2011;19(3):S8–S12
Hays B (2010) Female Hormones: The Dance of the Hormones, Part 1. In: Jones D, ed. Textbook of Functional Medicine, USA, Institute of Functional Medicine.
Re-purposed from original blog at Happy Hormones For Life 

 If you want to reflect on your career use our Career Reflection Worksheets to guide your thoughts

Nicki Williams Contributor
Nicki Williams is a qualified Nutritional Therapist, speaker and founder of Happy Hormones for Life, helping women to get back to their absolute best – slimmer, energized, more productive and in full control of their hormones! After failing to find any medical help for her symptoms of exhaustion, weight gain and hormone issues herself in her early 40’s, she discovered that she could turn things around using diet, lifestyle and natural supplements. She went on to qualify as a nutritional therapist and hormone expert, and now helps women all over the world with her online programmes, workshops and individual and group coaching.
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