From the moment we embark on our journey into womanhood, we’re introduced to the world of menstrual cycles – a complex interplay of physical and emotional shifts.
However, it’s time to challenge the conventional narrative that dubs menstruation as a monthly inconvenience. Our menstrual cycle isn’t just a source of discomfort; it’s a guide to understanding and optimizing our lives.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the four phases of the menstrual cycle and how they can be harnessed to enhance productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.
Society has long perpetuated the notion that hormonal changes are inherently negative. In reality, our hormones go through fluctuations that can offer us a deeper understanding of our bodies and minds. Dr. Allison Devine, an OB-GYN at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic, emphasizes that suppressing these natural changes with synthetic hormones (most contraceptive methods) may not be the ideal approach. Instead, education on diet, exercise, and stress management can promote hormonal balance.
“The reality is that our current medical standard is to suppress a woman’s natural cycle at the first sign of an imbalance, using powerful synthetic hormones, rather than educating women on the importance of diet, exercise, and stress management to help promote improved hormonal balance,” Devine told Forbes.
Another misconception about the woman’s body is that we do not have testosterone. Contrary to popular belief, women do possess testosterone, a hormone often associated with masculinity. In reality, women’s hormonal landscape is a dynamic interplay of three key hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and yes, testosterone.
These three hormones undergo intricate fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, each playing a vital role in shaping our physical and emotional experiences. As we journey through the phases of our cycle – from menstruation to ovulation and beyond – these hormonal shifts create a symphony of changes that influence not only our reproductive health but also our overall well-being. Recognizing and embracing the presence of testosterone alongside estrogen and progesterone is a crucial step toward understanding our bodies more fully and harnessing the power of our menstrual cycles.
Understanding the Phases
The menstrual cycle comprises four distinct phases, each with its own unique hormonal landscape:
Menstruation Phase (Days 1-7)
- Hormones: All hormone levels are at their lowest.
- Energy: This phase is marked by low energy, motivation, focus, and productivity.
Follicular Phase (Days 8-27)
- Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen levels rise significantly, while testosterone remains relatively steady.
- Energy: Energy, motivation, and focus see an upward trend.
Ovulation Phase (Around Day 14)
- Hormones: Estrogen and testosterone peak, while progesterone takes a dip.
- Energy: This phase brings about peak energy, confidence, and vitality.
Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
- Hormones: Progesterone reaches its zenith, while estrogen levels continue to rise.
- Energy: Energy and productivity levels decrease, accompanied by a calming effect.
How to workout, schedule tasks and socialize according to your cycle
Fun fact! Did you know that most workout plans cater to a 24-hour cycle like men’s, while ours varies from 27-32 days? We’ve got unique strengths throughout!
Have you noticed mood shifts or energy drops? Knowledge is power, and understanding our bodies empowers us to thrive.
Rather than pushing through intense workouts or demanding tasks, prioritize self-care. Consider increasing your sleep hours to support your body’s recovery and hydration to combat any fluid retention.
Opt for gentle, low-impact workouts like walking, jogging, or pilates to stay active while honoring your body’s need for rest.
Limiting social gatherings and tasks that drain your energy can also help you navigate this phase more comfortably. I would recommend starting your day with 10 minutes of mindfulness, I promise it will have a positive impact on your day. If you don’t know where to start, get my Brain Gym membership that is designed to help you flow through the day, regain your patience, optimize your productivity and connect with yourself. Click here to claim your FREE week!
As your cycle progresses, you’ll enter the follicular phase, lasting from around day 8 to day 27. Energy, motivation, and focus start to rise, making it an excellent opportunity to tackle challenging tasks and engage in creative work.
You’ll find that high-impact, more demanding workouts like HIIT or boxing align well with your increased energy levels. Additionally, you’ll likely feel more social and outgoing, so embrace opportunities for connection and collaboration.
This phase is your peak performance window. It’s the perfect time for crucial meetings, negotiations, and group tasks, as your outward-focused energy and increased vitality can help you shine.
Engage in intense workouts and physical activities that match your heightened energy levels. Moreover, social interactions will feel natural and rewarding, making it an ideal time to connect with others.
In this phase you’ll feel a calming effect, leading to a preference for more inward-focused energy. Instead of trying to push through intense tasks, honor your body’s need for peace and slower-paced activities. Energy and productivity levels might be lower, so consider focusing on nurturing existing projects.
This phase is perfect for less challenging tasks such as admin work, email responses, and editing. Embrace reflective and intuitive time to recharge and prepare for the next cycle.
Optimizing your life
It’s time to reclaim control over our menstrual cycles and use them to our advantage. Whether you’re an entrepreneur with flexible schedules or an employee working within fixed hours, adapting your routine to your menstrual cycle is simpler than you might think. By aligning your tasks, exercises, and social engagements with each phase, you can enhance your productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.
Mobile Apps You Can Use
There are several apps available that can help you track your menstrual cycle and optimize your activities according to its phases. Here are my personal favorites:
- Flo: It offers menstrual cycle tracking along with personalized health insights. It not only helps you understand your cycle but also provides recommendations for workouts, self-care, and nutrition based on your current phase.
- Stardust: is a hormone health app designed to help users embrace their menstrual cycle’s different phases. This free app combines scientific knowledge, ancient wisdom, astronomy, and artificial intelligence to guide users in understanding their cycle’s unique dynamics. With Stardust, users can learn to work with their cycle, track their experiences, set goals, and build a positive relationship with their body.
Moreover, if you are ready to unlock the secrets of optimal well-being and understand the power of your body’s natural rhythms; In ‘Super Woman Rx’, Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, MD, offers personalized health plans based on unique ‘Power Types’ and dives deep into the realm of women’s hormonal health, offering a comprehensive guide to understanding and embracing your body’s unique needs.
With plans spanning 3 weeks, the book tailors nutrition and exercise to shed pounds, boost mood, and more. Dr. Taz’s guidance cultivates lasting well-being.
Another book I would highly recommend is ‘Period Power’; a book that explores the significance of menstrual cycles and empowers women to embrace their bodies and harness the potential of their menstrual health.
Our menstrual cycles are not mere inconveniences; they are powerful tools that can guide us towards a more balanced and fulfilling life. By understanding the nuances of each phase and adapting our activities accordingly, we can harness the energy and potential that each phase offers. Let’s debunk the myths, embrace our bodies, and optimize our lives by working with our menstrual cycles rather than against them.