Kate Stevens

Kate Stevens, Life Coach

Welcome to your Perimenopause! (And why if you’re in your 30’s and 40’s you NEED to know)

5 min read with lots of resources.

My latest blog post is about the perimenopause and menopause for 2 main reasons;

1.  I am in it and had no idea until it got too much for me and I then realised my hormones were a possible factor
2.  I’ve realised that many people I’ve worked with over the years (and perhaps even you reading this), have been or, are in perimenopause and may not even realise it


Quick Facts About the Perimenopause

1.   Perimenopause – what is it?

Peri means ‘around’, so around the time of menopause (when ovulation stops). The lead up to menopause can take years and many will feel the effects years before their periods actually stop.

During perimenopause, hormones fluctuate and decrease, our ovaries slow down and at the same time, we may experience health issues or changes in our minds and our bodies. These are potentially clues that we may not even realise.

2.  When does the Perimenopause start?

The perimenopause can start in your 40’s or earlier in your 30’s.

A sequence of seemingly small health issues ‘going wrong’ or changing, both mentally and physically – this is how I’ve experienced the perimenopause.

3.  My perimenopause story

I got my first clues aged 44 when I started to realise I wasn’t happy, but had no idea it was perimenopause – I didn’t even know what it was. My mental health worsened in perimenopause and anxiety and stress increased and eventually I got anti-depressants. I then sought further support from a Life Coach and made an epic career change. I wrote a blog post here a few months back about career change in my 40’s.

I’m now on HRT and my mental health is currently strong – hooray!

4.  What are Perimenopause Symptoms?

There are MANY perimenopause symptoms, including; digestive issues, anxiety, mood swings/poor periods of mental health, loss of confidence, poor sleep, brain fog, low libido, vaginal dryness, weight gain/loss, joint pain…Some websites list up to 40 different symptoms.

In isolation, these symptoms might not make you think ‘ah – the perimenopause!’, so it’s useful to notice changes to your physical and mental health over a period of time, to then be able to investigate more. Of course seek medical help if you’re unsure or you are finding life or managing symptoms difficult.

So having knowledge of what to expect in your mind and your body in your 30’s and 40’s can raise your awareness of perimenopause symptoms, how you can handle them and that you’re not going mad.


A list of perimenopause symptoms
Credit; https://www.instagram.com/themenopauseroom/

5.  Help for you in your Perimenopause – 🚩 warning 🚩

Medical help for your perimenopause is not as easy as it could be…

For any health issue, talk to your GP, YET for the perimenopause and menopause and from personal experience, it’s worth finding out as much information as you can before making an appointment; GPs in the UK are not required to have training in the menopause and perimenopause in their medical training.


In a 2021 Freedom of Information request, #MakeMenopauseMatter campaigner Diane Danzebrink, found that 41% of UK universities do not have mandatory menopause education on their medical school curriculum. So, many doctors leave their medical training with no formal education on the perimenopause and menopause. They are expected to receive it on the job.

You see the issue?

In a survey published in 2020, Balance (a website and app dedicated to all things menopause and perimenopause) said;

36% of those who sought help from their GP for perimenopause symptoms, and 26% of those who sought help for menopause symptoms, say they visited their GP three times or more before being prescribed appropriate medication or help

Two things come up for me here and make me cross;
1.  You might have to push and push to get help from your GP for the perimenopause – ie HRT
2.  The onus is on YOU  – You have to initiate and equip yourself with good info and have the confidence to ASK for help or for HRT, in order to have a satisfactory outcome from your GP appointment

Before I asked for help from my GP, I joined the Facebook Group, Caution! Menopause at Work and asked the question, ‘what to read about the perimenopause’. This book came up repeatedly, ‘Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (but were too afraid to ask)’ by Kate Muir. It’s cracking – accessible and informative. It will make you angry, feel scared but will motivate you to do something about how you’re feeling.

The author is I believe the Producer on the now infamous Davina McCall documentary “Sex, Myths and the Menopause”, on C4.

6.   How to ask for HRT

Your periods don’t need to have stopped to start HRT. AND at the age of 44 you are ‘old enough’ to start HRT – contrary to what my good friend’s GP told her.

And you of course might want to manage your symptoms with alternative treatments rather than medicine.

I started HRT because although I was doing all the ‘good’ things in my extensive toolkit for my mental and physical health, it still wasn’t enough.

4 months after starting HRT, I felt a whole lot better, particularly with my mental health.

7.   Looking after yourself in perimenopause

It goes without saying that taking care of your health, food, exercise, alcohol consumption etc is vital – you have to look after yourself. You may need to change your approach.

I got help from Nutritionist Kirsten Brooks with some good quality vitamins and a useful conversation about food, supplements and pointers to tweak my diet. She told me,

“This is a time of life where self-care is also critical’.

Oh YES, so true. We have to look after ourselves and realise that our mental health and physical health must move further up the list of priorities. And only you can do this.

And I started that midlife woman thing of cold water swimming. I began last Winter to get; a boost of adrenaline, the right amount of challenge, pride (that ‘I could do it’) and probably a whopping dose of serotonin (mood and sleep). You’ll see me at Beckenham Place Park in the lake. And my continuing netball – being in a team, being in flow, playing outside in the summer has been brilliant for me.

My first cold water swim – for my mental health and it’s what Midlife women do, right?! Feb 2022, Isle of Wight

8.   Perimenopause help in the workplace

Support from those who you spend time with is essential – can you share your situation with your loved ones and your workplace?

Sarah Wilsher Mid Life and Menopause Coach, runs that funny and warm Facebook Group I mentioned earlier. She said something to me that sounded so familiar;

“Looking back, my perimenopausal symptoms really derailed me at work. If only I’d had more knowledge about what was happening to me, and more support from my colleagues and managers, I’m sure I would have thrived not just survived through the early years of perimenopause”.

My symptoms have definitely derailed me this year, so I took a little bit longer off at the end of the summer – I needed to stop and reset and luckily I could.

Sarah Wilsher now offers training and workshops to organisations to develop awareness of the perimonopause and menopause in the workplace so that others can thrive rather than survive . Does your company know and understand what happens to people in  perimenopause? Who can you talk to at work about your symptoms and get the help you or others might need?


9.  I think I’m in perimenopause: what do I do now?

  1. Read and find out more information – I’ve listed a great book, apps and resources
  2. Track your symptoms – here’s a good one from Balance
  3. Track your periods – are they changing? I used my FItbit until it died (oh, the irony!) and now in my Google calendar. I’ve heard people use apps too
  4. Talk – to your trusted friends or someone ‘not involved’? What are they experiencing? Do they notice changes in their mental or physical health that might suggest the perimenopause? What do you need?
  5. Basics – keep fit, get outdoors more, eat healthily, drink enough water, create a healthy sleep routine
  6. See your GP or health practitioner if you have concerns about your health
  7. Stay or get connected to those who can and will help you (friends, groups who share your cause etc)

I’m keen to hear if this resonates with you; email me here.

This could be something I come back to another time.


I’ve listed A LOT of resources here that I think are useful and been helpful for me so far;

Client agreement - ground rules.

1. Bring my whole self to this process; professionally and personally.

You cannot separate your professional and personal ‘lives’.

2. Be present in the moment and connected.

… to the coaching; what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing. And…to nature if and where we are outdoors. If we’re on headphones, I’ll invite you to be descriptive of your environment too.

3. Bring the agenda to each session and keep your overall objective alive.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Be goal and action orientated – bring what you want to discuss and achieve to the session; OR
  • Talk and see what lands – exploratory and intentional.

I will bring the process, tools, ideas, resources and best practice to best support you towards your goal/intention/objective. More in your pre-coaching questionnaire. 

4. Give feedback and be responsive.

Coaching is collaborative. Neither of us should guess where we stand. I ask you to give me feedback and respond – you can rely on me to give and do the same.

I aim to get back to you within 24 hours of you emailing me, even if it’s just to say ‘I received your message’ before I respond properly. If it’s over the weekend or holiday, this may take longer.

5. Do the work in the session and in between sessions.

…so that you get the best value, even when it’s challenging. I might suggest a piece of work based on what you brought to the session. Mainly you will decide your course of action.

Whichever way, I’ll invite you to:

  • Reflect more; through walking, writing and whatever else fires you up, to help you achieve your objective.
  • Explore more; be curious and follow those trails of thought, intentionally
    Practice more; habits? Actions? Keep trying/tweaking.
  • Note what’s coming up that’s important or interesting to you in the session. I may share a few bullet points with you after, via Google Docs.

6. Session duration and timescale.

Generally a session is an hour but happy to shorten or increase session lengths, as and when we both can, that day. Where either of us thinks it appropriate, let’s say in the session. Timescale – let’s keep to the timescale agreed in the contract.

Additional information...

  • Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate the development of personal or professional goals and develop a plan/strategy for achieving those goals.
  • It is comprehensive; it may involve other areas of your life beyond what you may have originally intended. It is your responsibility to choose and decide how to handle this, or even whether to.
  • It can be challenging; digging deep, creating better habits, becoming more self-aware, changing unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself to something more helpful. There will be ups and downs. You will gain new insights, learnings and perspectives to help you achieve your goal.
  • You – the Client, are solely responsible for creating and implementing your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results arising out of or resulting from the coaching relationship and your coaching calls and interactions with me – the Coach. As such, you agree that the Coach is not and will not be liable or responsible for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by me – the Coach. 
  • You – the Client, understand that in order to enhance the coaching relationship, you agree to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and to create the time and energy to participate fully in the program. I will do the same.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.  If you are in any kind of therapy, please tell me.  Tell your practitioner (medical or therapeutic) of you working with me.
  • I ask you to agree to commit to the coaching sessions to facilitate the required change.
  • I will treat you as the expert regarding the subject matter, which is…YOU.
  • I will allow time and space for you to explore your thoughts and think for yourself, no interruptions. There may be long pauses or silence sometimes to elicit more.
  • What goes on in your sessions is confidential. I do not discuss it with anyone. There may be occasion when it is my duty to break confidentiality:
    > If I feel you or I are at risk of harm.
    > Criminal / illegal activity.
    > A safeguarding concern or something else so serious that warrants concern.
  • I may talk to my coach or supervisor about issues arising in our sessions without ever naming or giving away you as the client. This is to ensure I am following professional and ethical guidelines and delivering my best. I subscribe to these by the ICF; https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics
  • Qualifications and CPD; I am an accredited coach. This means I have trained, practiced and qualified with Animas Centre for Coaching (Nov 2020). I hold a ‘Diploma in Transformational Coaching’. This is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
    > I have my own coach and group supervision
    > My CPD includes –  Outdoor Intelligence for Online Coaching (Oct 2020) -Positive Psychology (Feb 2021

My accreditations


My story

I’d been trying to work out ‘what else’ I could do with my career and life.

After 20 years in HR and with the children getting older, I wanted to change careers, but into ‘what?’ And ‘how’ was that even possible? And…’who would take on a mid-40’s apprentice?’!

I took small steps to boost my confidence and mindset; a regular ‘walk and whinge’ with friends to offload, short courses to up-skill, more running, more netball.
I asked my workplace ‘what else’ they needed that I could help with – ‘job crafting’. 

I was trying to make changes but it wasn’t really working. I was still frustrated and now, more miserable. I needed a different approach to find a way forward and release the building pressure I felt.

Hiring an accredited coach with whom I knew I could work with, enabled me to take a good look at myself – at times, uncomfortably.

To be listened to without any interruption, or judgement was empowering and I started to recognise what made me, me – my personality, strengths, what energised me and made me happy. What if these things amounted to a job I would…love…?

I followed my curiosity and dabbled with ideas about potential jobs, tasks and environments that would suit me, with a new, growth mindset.

I started to shift perspective. When I finally realised the ‘what’, I felt an energy and sense of knowing that was powerful. And I laughed, because it had been right in front of me!

Coaching undoubtedly helped me get to know myself, to see my potential and what was possible. I wholeheartedly decided through those sessions, on what and how I wanted things to be.

It had taken me two years of feeling stuck and miserable and a number of hours to be liberated.

This is what I now do with my clients. I help them rediscover themselves so that they can play to their strengths and thrive.