Have you ever considered planning your life and work around your periods? Otherwise known as Cycle syncing. It’s been something I’ve been doing for several years due to my endometriosis. At first, I resented having to plan my life around my periods. Little did I know that I could be tapping into a uniquely feminine way of being in the world. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to constantly perform at a certain level, to go, go, go all the time. With little to no time to just be quiet and rest.
We are ultimately cyclical beings and our menstrual cycle has a huge impact on the way our brain and body can perform at any given point in our cycle. Your neurochemistry changes by 25% during your cycle, changing the way your brain reacts to stimulus’s and performs in given tasks. Your metabolism also slows down and speeds up following a predictable pattern throughout your cycle as well as your cortisol levels rising and falling. It’s well known that many female athletes plan their training around their menstrual cycle to improve performance but did you know that the same principles can be applied to your everyday life? Improving your productivity at work, improving your communication skills and supporting your healthy hormone balance.
So how do you start planning your life in alignment with your cycle? I use the period tracking app called clue as I like its simple interface but putting a note down in your diary/planner or using a calendar like I used to will work just fine. I split the month in my planner into three phases the follicular, luteal and Menstrual. Allocating certain activities to each phase depending on which activity is best suited to that particular phase of my cycle. Here’s a little example below.
The follicular phase ovulation.
For me, this is when my pain is at its lowest and I have the most energy so I try and plan day outs, weekend trips and high impact exercise during this time. Work-wise this is when my creative juices are flowing! I particularly enjoy creating new designs and patterns and I like to get all my ideas jotted down. I don’t necessarily work on refining my ideas at this point in my cycle just getting them down on to paper. We also tend to be better communicators at this point in our cycle so it’s a great time to book public speaking events or workshops.
The luteal phase
As I draw closer to the menstrual phase of my cycle I start to feel more tired and my pain level starts to rise. During this phase of the cycle, our brains are particularly well suited to critical thinking and making decisions. My work diary is filled with opportunities awaiting a decision. I also start to think about how I can implement some of the ideas I’ve come up with during the follicular phase of my cycle. ie: what kind of software do I need? How is this going to work practically? Do I need to hire someone to help? What are some of the potential problems that could pop up? I’ll sit down with a cup of tea and brainstorms solutions to some of these questions. On the exercise front, I drop the intensity of my exercise routine and start to slowly wind down.
I do need to take a couple of days off to manage my pain effectively so this particular time in my cycle is for rest and reflection. I’ll keep my diary completely free of outings and appointments and take the opportunity to go over the ideas I’ve put down during the follicular phase and start to refine them. I also try and get those boring bits of administration done whilst I am in bed. This is also the time that I start planning the month ahead, making plans with friends and organising my work schedule.
I now see my menstrual cycle as a powerful tool to improve my productivity and my overall health. Just a little disclaimer I do appreciate that I have a very flexible job that allows me to plan my work diary around my menstrual cycle without too many problems. I completely acknowledge that this is something that many will struggle with but I think we could all incorporate a bit of cycle awareness in our everyday lives. Whilst there is still debate on how beneficial this method is to your health. Due to lack of research (hello, sexism in women’s health research) there is certainly no harm in trying and getting to know your body on a deeper level is always a good thing.
Have you ever considered planning your life and work around your periods? Let me know in the comments.