A Derbyshire woman who took up wild swimming to cope with the menopause says she is on a mission to tackle taboos around the subject.
Diane Evans, from Matlock, said that when she started getting symptoms of menopause she “didn’t realise what it was.”
Menopause is a process women go through, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, when they stop having periods.
Some of the symptoms can include hot flushes, dizziness, lack of sleep and problems with memory loss and concentration.
Speaking about her experience, Diane said: “It was really scary, I thought I was really ill and I began questioning every decision I made.
“I lost my way and there was very little information out there for women going through the menopause.”
When she discovered what was causing the distressing symptoms, Diane turned to wild swimming and running to manage them.
Diane did her first one-mile swim in 2016 as part of the Great North Swim which takes place in Lake Windemere, in the Lake District.
The 55-year-old said getting out of her comfort zone was “pretty scary” but it gave her a new lease of life and an “immense feeling of wanting to achieve something for me.”
She recalled one training session before her second swim, the five-kilometre Great North Swim, when the water “became like a washing machine” and she had to be rescued.
The well-being consultant said she considered giving up swimming there and then.
Instead, Diane turned to Derby life-coach Kul Mahay for support and said she credits the former police Chief Superintendent with helping to turn her life around.
“I had a complete mindset shift, Kul made me realise that age is no barrier to success and not to compare myself to others,” Diane added.
The grandmother-of-two used her new-found confidence to move her well-being business in a new direction.
She is now a menopause consultant offering educational workshops, support and coaching to organisations looking to retain female talent.
Diane said she believes “more needs to be done” to educate both women and men about the menopause, starting from a young age.
She said: “Every individual who goes through the menopause will experience different symptoms.
“A lot of women struggle to understand what is happening to them and how to embrace it rather than hate it.”
Her message, she said, is to make employers aware of what the menopause is and to put policies in place to support female members of staff.
Recently, Channel 4 launched a ‘menopause policy’ for all employees.
It is believed to be the first media organisation to offer its staff a private, cool and quiet workspace and a range of support and guidance.
“We need to get people thinking and talking more about the menopause,” added Diane.
“Currently, only 10% of the UK’s workforce have some sort of menopause policy in place.”
First published on Derby Telegraph on 27 Oct 2019