Page 1
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

Hot Flashes in the Boardroom

I couldn’t help but giggle recently when I read one of Sharon Stone’s Instagram posts. Along with the side shot of her smiling and driving, she wrote “Happiness is knowing your seat heater is on and you’re not having a hot flash!” It reminded me of so many cringe-worthy yet laughable moments of my own in these perimenopause years.

I am a CPA and work as a financial and strategic planning consultant to companies large and small. In recent years, I’ve tried to schedule all-day client commitments around my body’s calendar. I need to know that I can leave home and not worry about my proximity to the nearest washroom, but there are days when my clients and my schedule aren’t that flexible and I find myself in survival mode.

I remember one meeting in particular when I was to give a presentation to a company’s senior executives. Hot flashes had kept me up most of the night, and my period forced me into the bathroom every 45 minutes. As I started my day, I wondered, How many tampons and pads can one wear safely at once? I dressed in black pants (best for hiding an accident), a cream-colored sleeveless tank top, and long black sweater (layers that help navigate internal climate change). I grabbed a black wrap (in case I got too hot with the sweater or had to wrap it around my waist), a stack of tampons and pads, and bottles of both Tylenol and Advil.


As I started my day, I wondered, How many tampons and pads can one wear safely at once? 


As I drove to the meeting, I decided I also needed to tell my colleague — fortunately someone I knew relatively well — about my situation. I needed his support, just in case. As soon as I arrived, I called him aside and blurted, “It’s day three for me, and I need you to back me up if I have a day three emergency!” 

That’s all I said, but I said it with such conviction (read: emotional desperation) that he got it. “No problem,” he replied. “What’s our signal?” As soon as I knew that he had my back, my anxiety dissipated and my confidence returned. Sure, during the meeting I needed to add/subtract layers as the hot flashes came and went, and at one point I made a comment about the air conditioning not working in the middle of a Canadian winter, but the day went just fine.

I have come to realize that being honest and vulnerable in this stage of life is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of confidence and strength in whom I am and my ability to accept and work through challenges. I am navigating hormonal changes while continuing to grow, prosper, and live a professional life I enjoy. Those in the room will either get it or they won’t. If they don’t, it’s their problem, not mine.


Being honest and vulnerable in this stage of life is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of confidence and strength in whom I am and my ability to accept and work through challenges.


There are times when I’m in a boardroom with a table full of men and feel a hot flash coming. I push through if it’s mild enough, but if it isn’t and it’s obvious, I casually mention it and suggest we take a break. In many cases, I create a comedic moment of the situation: It’s amazing how laughter can make everyone at the table feel OK about the situation. For the most part, men have heard it before, and they have watched their wives, partners, or mothers experience hot flashes.

As much as we know (or are told) that this stage and its physical and mental challenges are normal, there are months at a time when I feel exhausted and am forgetful, highly emotional, anxious, depressed, and ready to crawl out of my own skin. It can be debilitating both personally and professionally — and far from sexy or graceful — but this is real life and it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Denise Zaporzan is president of Denise Zaporzan and Associates, a financial strategy consulting practice based in Manitoba, Canada. She shares her terrific style and more at dbydenise.com

Photo: Casey Nolin Photography

You Might Also Like

Is Self-Love Overrated?
#RealTalk

Is Self-Love Overrated?

I’ve twice been told I have extraordinary arms. The first was in...

read
WTF Is a #CuratedLife?
#RealTalk

WTF Is a #CuratedLife?

I have been working to figure out social media. God, is it...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends
#RealTalk

Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends

One of the biggest arguments I ever had with my father was...

read
The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty
#RealTalk

The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty

Angelika Buettner is on a crusade to celebrate the natural beauty of...

read
My Second Awkward Stage
#RealTalk

My Second Awkward Stage

A couple of weeks ago, I took my eldest son and my...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in New York in 1994. As a...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?
Living

Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?

Welcome to Office Hours, where each month, a Fairygodboss expert answers a question...

read
Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing
Wellness

Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing

We not only try to eat healthy, we try to be kind...

read
Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis
Living

Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis

It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman,...

read
Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear
Fitness

Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear

Keep calm and exercise on in fall’s coziest workout gear. Whether a...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane

Though oils are not new to the beauty counter, there is still...

read
What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up
Wellness

What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up

Aging skin needs nourishing. That’s not news. But when it comes to...

read
7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin
Beauty

7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin

Combination skin that doesn’t take kindly to rich, thick creams doesn’t change...

read
6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain
Wellness

6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain

We’re all familiar with the typical triage of cold and flu symptoms:...

read
Organic: Yay or Nay?
Wellness

Organic: Yay or Nay?

From food to beauty products, labels can be so confusing. Aren’t the...

read
Need to Know: Thyroid Health
Wellness

Need to Know: Thyroid Health

One of my patients recently summed up her experience succinctly: “I’m just...

read
‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations
Living

‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations

Unless you’re a subscriber of the publication Garden & Gun, you may...

read
Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick
Beauty

Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick

Move over, coconut oil, there’s a new sheriff in town. An elixir for...

read
You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells
Fitness

You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells

In our ongoing video series with trainer Julie Diamond, we focus on...

read
Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss
Wellness

Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss

Clinical evidence shows that fiber-full foods keep you feeling fuller longer with...

read
Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love
Beauty

Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love

The solution to chronic fatigue requires a holistic deep dive into your...

read
Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
Load More
share
To Top