Approximately seventy percent of women between the ages of 40 and 55 are employed. Many of these women are in a period of peri-menopause, which is the preparatory phase prior to menopause during which a woman’s estrogen levels rise and fall dramatically. These fluctuations in estrogen levels can cause many symptoms, but one of the most common, and arguably most troublesome, is hot flashes. The period of peri-menopause can last up to ten years. Because much of a peri-menopausal woman’s time may be spent at work, it is important to learn tips and tricks that can help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes so that the work day is not so taxing.
One of the first lines of defense against hot flashes at work is proper attire. Avoid wool, silk and synthetic fabrics. These fabrics trap in heat and can increase your body temperature. Choose clothes made of cotton, linen or rayon. These fabrics “breathe” better, releasing heat and helping to keep you cooler. Avoid turtlenecks and dress in layers. That way, when your body temperature starts to rise, you can remove layers to help cool yourself down. Since a hot flash is often followed by a cold chill, you can easily put the layers back on to warm yourself up again.
Lower the Temperature
The simplest way to lower room temperature is to lower the thermostat. This is not always possible in the workplace, especially if you work with several other people who are not experiencing hot flashes. If you work at a desk, bring in a small fan. The fan not only helps cool you down, but it also helps circulate the air in the room. If you are lucky enough to work near a window, open the window a crack to let some cool, fresh air inside.
Consider Your Diet
What you eat and drink plays a big role in your core body temperature. Hot and spicy foods increase your body temperature, exacerbating hot flashes. Avoid spicy foods and hot foods, like soup. Allow hot foods to cool down considerably before you eat them. Better yet, when you’re at work and don’t have full control over the room temperature, eat cool foods. Choose salads, sandwiches or cold pastas for lunch. These foods can fill you up without increasing your body temperature.
Choose your beverages wisely, as well. While it may be tempting to start your work day with a hot cup of coffee, choose iced coffee or sip on iced water instead. You can actually use cold drinks to your advantage in two ways. Sipping on a cold beverage throughout the day can help cool you down, but it’s also advantageous to place the cold cup or glass against your forehead or your neck.
Be on Time
Give yourself adequate time to get to work and to get to work meetings. The stress of rushing around can raise your body temperature, triggering a hot flash. When you have adequate time, you remain at ease which can help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.