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Activist and entrepreneur Meg Mathews, 53, tells us all about her top life lessons and how they helped her survive perimenopause…
‘When I went through the perimenopause five years ago I didn’t have a clue what was going on. My symptoms started in my early 40s – foggy brain days, insomnia, night sweats, feeling wobbly – you put it down to PMT and I just used to have another glass of wine.’
But for Meg, things got worse. ‘I didn’t leave the house for three months,’ she said. ‘I was crippled with anxiety, my daughter (Anais Galllagher, who Meg had with ex husband Noel Gallagher) would go to school and I would just crawl back into bed, I wouldn’t even wash my hair and wore the same tracksuit. I went into a very dark place, I had a loss of libido and I put on weight.’
Since then, Meg has learnt valuable life lessons and if she were to turn back time there are a few things she would do differently.
She explained, ‘What I’ve learned is the minute you start to feel any of the 34 menopause symptoms – hot flushes, irregular periods, night sweats, mood swings, decreased libido – to name but a few, start talking about it, get to your GP and keep a diary. I now rub a body identical oestrogen gel on my thigh and I feel great.’
Meg Mathew’s life lessons
1. Share how you’re feeling with your family
‘I couldn’t be bothered to cook the tea so we had takeaways. I owned up to everything that I had done and was completely honest telling my family that I had struggled over the last three or four months. I’d not gone to the gym, or been sociable. I just hid myself away because I thought my colourful past [partying] , that’s been very well documented from the 90s, had caught up with me. I thought is that what happens to me because I’m in my late 40s. Your mind plays all sorts of tricks on you but to share and to talk about it was like a weight had lifted because I didn’t have to live a lie in my house anymore.’
2. Drop toxic people from your life
‘I’ve let go of a lot of toxic people in my life. I used to be a people pleaser, I was that person that if I went in a room of 100 people and one person didn’t like my dress I’d hone in on them. But I’ve learnt now, everyone has their own opinions, not everybody is going to like you, you make your own tribe and people who do like you will be with you anyway. If I like someone, when I see the name come up on my phone I feel excited about picking it up. If a name or number comes up and I go ‘Urgh!’ then that’s not the right person [to be in my life]. You should be around people that celebrate you not tolerate you but it takes a long time to learn that.’
3. Stop overloading your mind
‘I used to think I was multi-tasking but it was an overload in my head. Now at 6pm my phone goes off, I don’t answer it. I cannot take anything else on. I have ADHD and I’m dyslexic so my brain is on the go a lot faster than most people’s and by 4pm I’m quite exhausted. I have to switch off or I’m never going to sleep. I’ve learnt it takes me a good three hours now to unwind.’
4. Don’t wait for the knight in shining armour
‘I’ve made a lot of mistakes with men in my life. I’ve gone for people I think I should be with because of shallow thoughts: who they are or because they drive that car or wear that watch, they are very powerful, or for what job they do. But now I know it’s a person who makes you laugh and whom you feel so comfortable with.
If you do put on those extra pounds, to be with someone that’s going to say ‘Urgh you’ve put on weight’ or ‘what are you wearing?’ – which I have had in my previous relationships – just doesn’t make you happy. The person who is your best friend usually is the person you should end up with. Ladies, don’t wait for the knight in shining armour to come and rescue you because that someone is going to buy you the biggest bunch of roses and they’re going to be dead by the end of the week. You plant your own seeds, you grow your own plant and that will stay alive forever. That is what women have got to do otherwise you’re never going to be fulfilled.’
5. If you can’t afford to replace it, don’t buy it
‘Don’t live beyond your means. Someone once said to me “If you can’t afford to replace it if you lose it then don’t buy it” and that’s stuck with me. Maybe I can go buy a Cartier watch but can I afford to replace it if I lost it? No I can’t. You have to be very mindful. I drive a Smart car, I live in a very moderate house and I’m now careful what I do with my money. You get wiser as you get older and now I’m also a recovering alcoholic. When I was younger I used to do a lot of things when I was hungover or if I’d had a couple of glasses of champagne at lunchtime in Selfridges, if I saw an expensive jacket I’d go “oh so what I’ll buy that” so don’t do that. So now when I walk in I ask myself, ‘do I really need it?’
Meg recently launched MegsMenopuase.com and her collection of MM products for nutrition; skincare and intimate care are on sale now.