Janette Sarginson is a menopause wellness specialist and fitness coach. Here she explains why her first menopause retreat takes place in Norfolk later this month – and how she plans to drive around the UK in an off-grid camper to make them accessible to everyone.
My life so far has been good. I have had some real challenges along the way, but I truly believe those tough times have shaped who I am today. I don’t believe in regrets. You make the choices you believe are right at that time. I’m also quite a believer in everything happens for a reason, even if that reason doesn’t manifest for years later.
I was a foster carer for 10 years and then went on to adopt our beautiful daughter. I had a complete career change and got into fitness and trained to be a personal trainer. Wellness became a big part of my life the more I ventured into my new career path.
A couple of years ago I was doing CrossFit five to six times per week. I started to get injury after injury and my body wasn’t recovering very well after my workouts.
I then went on to have a severe allergic reaction on my face and ended up in hospital. I was referred to Addenbrookes for further testing. One of the possibilities was lymphoma which was terrifying but thankfully all my bloods came back clear, and I was discharged with no further explanation. I knew something wasn’t right and had read about perimenopause, so I went to my GP to have bloods done and I was told they were all ok. I didn’t realise then that bloods are an unreliable way of diagnosing menopause.
I carried on doing my own research and started to share my personal experiences on social media. I wasn’t prepared for the response I got from other woman who were also suffering with symptoms of perimenopause. Other than my own experience I didn’t feel I knew enough to be able to help these women and I soon realised that menopause was still very much a taboo subject which is shocking in this day and age. I completed my course so I felt better equipped to advice others on how they could manage their symptoms and that’s how it all started.
At the start of the pandemic, being a personal trainer, I obviously had to take my clients online which was difficult as many of my clients preferred coming to my gym and having face to face sessions. We also had restricted equipment to use so it wasn’t great, to be fair, but it did give me the time to complete my course and do a lot of research into menopause.
The menopause is being spoken about more openly now – which is fantastic. There are more and more menopause champions out there doing their bit to raise awareness and support others.
I am now running a six-week course for businesses so they can educate managers, supervisors, and team leaders to support their staff. Companies often end up losing valued, loyal, and trustworthy team members because they often don’t feel they can be open and honest about how their symptoms are impacting their work life. Having to wear tight uncomfortable uniforms, limited toilet breaks, not having a quiet place to have some timeout if needed, maybe arriving to work later, or being given the option to work from home or being able to sit near an open window. So, it’s reassuring businesses are wanting to take the steps to be able to support their staff. Yes, more needs to be done. Many ladies are still being misdiagnosed with depression, for example, and being prescribed antidepressants and – like myself – having to pay to go private to see a menopause specialist to finally understand what’s really happening to you and be prescribed HRT if that’s what’s needed.
There are still many people who don’t feel comfortable with talking openly about menopause but hopefully this will change in time the more we talk about it – especially considering half the population are woman and every single one of them will go through it at some stage, whether that’s natural, surgically induced or hormone induced, including people from the Transgender community.
My Menopause Retreat will be a weekend of understanding symptoms of menopause and how we can best mange these with lifestyle changes, self-care and wellbeing. They will be taking part in restorative yoga, strength training, skin tutorials, make up tutorials, massage, and menopause seminars. We will be going for some lovely walks, having a movie night and I’m sure some interesting chats will be taking place.
We have a chef cooking nutritious food which will be a great time for everyone to come together and share their experiences if they want to and help support each other. What I would like is for every person to leave loaded with lots of useful information on how best to support themselves with the correct exercise, diet, what lifestyle changes can be made and self-care which are all non-negotiables at this time in our lives. I only have 2 spaces left in a twin room which is amazing.
My dream for 2022 is to continue to raise awareness as much as I can by talking and sharing my experiences; holding more seminars/webinars for businesses, day retreats, walks and local meet ups. I am also currently trying to get schools to include menopause as part of their curriculum so it’s something the next generation grow up already understanding.
Myself and my husband have also spent the last year converting an old school bus into an off-grid camper so I can drive around the UK and my retreats can be accessible to everyone.
There are two spaces left, in a twin-bedded room, on Janette’s Mind, Body and Menopause Retreat which takes place at Fishley Hall from March 25 to 28.