A LACK of confidence is causing women over 50 to feel depressed, anxious and even “trapped”, experts have warned.
Exhaustion, being unable to lose weight and worries about appearance are plaguing women – affecting their self-esteem.
But almost a third of women polled say a lack of confidence has left them feeling depressed, while another 34 per cent have experienced increased anxiety as a result.
Weight gain (27 per cent), a feeling of isolation (23 per cent) and even a loss of libido (18 per cent) also among the effects of low self-esteem.
Worryingly, a lack of confidence has prevented a quarter from socialising with their friends, held back 22 per cent back in their career and had a negative effect on family life among nine per cent.
Menopause knocks confidence
The poll of 2,00 women aged 50 and over, commissioned by supplements firm, Healthspan, found levels of confidence are low among one in 10.
It also emerged the menopause has a huge effect on a woman’s confidence levels with 29 per cent saying the impact of ‘the change’ is under-rated.
A third even went as far as to say they no longer feel like the person they once were.
Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist specialising in health who works with Healthspan, said: “This survey has highlighted the degree to which women’s confidence and mental health can be affected by getting older – and our ageist society has played a role here.
“The more we discuss this openly, the more we can protect women’s mental health as nearly 30 per cent of the survey respondents said they felt the impact of the peri-menopause and the menopause was under-rated.
“However, we must also celebrate age and experience, as over a third of the women stated that they felt comfortable in their own skin, with more saying that they believed confidence was highest during their 50s than any other decade.
“Therefore, it’s important to both tackle the underlying reasons for confidence drains, whilst focusing on the areas that make women in midlife unstoppable.”
Cellulite and sweat patches top the list
The study found poor memory recall, not feeling as fit as you once were and going through the menopause are among the things most likely to affect a woman’s confidence.
Someone mistakenly thinking you are older than you are, cellulite and realising you are the oldest in your team at work are also among the things likely to leave self-esteem lacking.
Having sweat patches show through your clothes and being left out of social gatherings also feature on the list.
But four in 10 said hot flushes at work have also had a negative impact on their confidence.
Julie Dennis, Menopause at Work Trainer said: “The relationship between work and menopause is a two-way street – your symptoms can affect your ability to perform your job and your working environment can impact your symptoms.
“The survey clearly demonstrates the link between menopause and confidence but fortunately both individuals and employers can take steps to alleviate the impact at work.
“For women it’s important to explore a range of options encompassing medical intervention, lifestyle choices and practical solutions.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom, with being of an age where you feel comfortable in your own skin named as the biggest confidence booster, along with a ‘killer’ outfit and hearing the words ‘I love you’.
Other confidence boosters revealed in the survey carried out via OnePoll, include taking part in hobbies, being self-sufficient and spending time with friends.
TOP 20 CONFIDENCE BLOWS
1. Feeling less fit than you once were
2. Having a bad night’s sleep
3. Feeling tired generally
4. Forgetting things that you once easily remembered
5. Inability to lose weight no matter how hard you try
6. Having to buy an item of clothing a size bigger than usual
7. Experiencing a bad hair day
8. Someone thinking you are older than you are
9. Feeling like you have inferior knowledge to the person you are speaking to
10. Hitting the menopause
11. Waking up with bad skin
12. Experiencing brain fog at work
13. Not being invited to a social gathering with friends
14. Having sweat patches that show through your clothes
15. Having a hot flush at work
16. Finding a grey hair
17. Realising that you are the oldest in your team at work
18. Finding cellulite
19. Seeing your partner look at younger women
20. Someone asks if you are pregnant and you are not
TOP 20 CONFIDENCE BOOSTERS
1. Feeling comfortable in your own skin
2. Feeling positive about your weight
3. Wearing an outfit that is flattering in all the right places
4. Being told ‘I love you’
5. Receiving a compliment from someone you know
6. Waking up feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep
7. Spending time in nature
8. Spending time with your close friends
9. Receiving a compliment from a stranger
10. Receiving a compliment about your youthful looks
11. Receiving a smile from a stranger
12. Having perfectly styled hair
13. Working on your hobbies
14. The feeling of being self-sufficient
15. Returning from holiday and feeling great
16. The feeling of having good knowledge of a subject
17. Being good at your job
MOST READ IN HEALTH
18. Being complimented on a new outfit
19. Feeling like a valued member of your community
20. Wearing a full face of make up