Karen Arthur is an inspiring campaigner and advocate for menopausal women. For her, raising awareness of the menopause and mental health links is an important conversations to be having.
“I talk openly and honestly about my own struggles with mental health,” says the teacher turned fashion designer. “I promote the positive links between fashion and good mental wellbeing – Wear Your Happy®.” Menopause and mental health is a huge challenge for so many women. Karen’s openness is an inspiration.
Karen’s voice is also an important one in the drive for more diversity in the menopause conversation.
“I am committed to raising awareness about menopause and diversifying the landscape surrounding this topic,” she says. “As an older black woman with silver locks, I am learning to take up the space that I deserve. I encourage other women to join me!”
As a joyful, bold and inspiring woman, we can think of no better person than Karen to help women who are asking, does menopause cause anxiety. We all need to understand the menopause and mental health connections. So we’ve asked her to share her Midlife Survival Kit. From rum to happy pants, if this is how she tackles menopause and anxiety, then count us in.
Caleno Dark and Spicy non-alcoholic rum, £18
I’ve always been a dark rum drinker. From when I could legally drink I mean. My parents are from Barbados where rum is a serious business and I have visited several times. One of my non-negotiables to bring back from the island is their gorgeous dark rum as we have several brands to choose from.
However it is time to acknowledge the fact that alcohol brings on hot flushes from hell. I asked my Insta family for a dark rum equivalent. Caleno not only came up but was also on special in my local Sainsburys. WIN.
I’ve tried it with pineapple juice and ginger beer and it’s hitting the spot. I may still drink the occasional rum, especially when I can get back on a plane to Barbados, but Caleno is a great substitute. It tastes even better in a fancy schmancy glass.
Wear Your Happy pants, £25
I often talk about my mental wellbeing. In the same breath I share that wearing clothes to lift my mood has been a saviour and is a daily part of my wellness kit.
#Wearyourhappy is about making conscious clothing choices every day to help feel a little better. Whilst everyone was eschewing their bras and loungewear sales rocketed during the lockdowns, I honestly think that dressing as if I was going to my studio helped maintain my sanity.
Good quality, good looking lingerie next to your skin is a ‘wear your happy’ must. I designed these Ankara wear your happy pants for people to put on and smile. Not for anyone else to see (unless you want them to) although they could double up as bikini bottoms.
You could pop them on your bum and dance around your bedroom for an endorphin boost before putting clothes on! They come with a matching pouch that can be used to keep sanitiser or anything else you want to wrap up in a cute package.
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Chilly’s water bottle, £20
This has been a game changer as far as liquid intake is concerned. It’s no secret that drinking more water and ageing well go hand in hand.
I’ve lost count of the number of half empty glasses of water I knocked over before I bought my Chilly’s. Basically I forget to drink my water regularly so having a cute vessel I can pick up and move around the house as well as take to my studio is perfect.
I take mine to bed so I can drink water as soon as I wake up. I’m still not hitting my target intake (I don’t know what that is anymore) but more is a bonus and I’m definitely feeling better.
Chillys are high grade stainless steel, BPA free, reusable and cute AF. Make it bright coloured (mine’s neon pink) and this is another brilliant, easily findable, way of remembering to drink my water. I’m eyeing up their food containers next.
MDMflow matte lipstick, £12.50
I’m late to the lipstick party. I didn’t really get into it until my mid 40s. Then I went all in and MAC was my go-to because my daughter shopped there too.
Face covers seemed to put paid to wearing lipstick last year. Or so I thought. But recently I did a Wear Your Happy challenge on Instagram encouraging participants to dress to lift your mood. I invested in a load of brightly coloured matte lipsticks so that when I do get to my studio and take my mask off I feel great.
Black-owned brand MDMflow do a matte lippy in Panther that is just the right pop of hot pink and doesn’t disappear in the lining so when I whip my mask off it’s perfect.
Got a perimenopause or menopause question?
Irregular Sleep Pattern pyjamas, £150
This new brand is set to take the world by storm. These unisex pyjama suits come in bright colours and patterns that you can mix and match. Perfect for wearing in the home or better still as a funky I-refuse-to-become-invisible suit when I’m out and about.
Full disclosure, I was gifted a suit for my birthday in April but when I put them on I knew they’d become a staple investment. It’s the details, you see. You can tell they were designed by a designer who thought this all through. From the high back in the trousers that doesn’t ride up when you sit down, to the deep pockets (POCKETS), tapered legs, funky shawl collar and double vents on the jacket.
Funky couple Jo and Mil hail from Scotland and used to be in media and art respectively. Maybe that’s why their Insta feed is such a joyful mix of quirkiness, cool products and family fun. AND they make brilliant bedding!
Follow Karen on Instagram @thekarenarthur and @menopausewhilstblack, and discover her fantastic fashion designs at Reddskin.co.uk