I’m Driven, but Not Always
This week, I’m behind on deadlines and my motivation is squelched. This is not like me. I am an Enneagram 3 and I thrive on achievement. I love hitting (or beating) my deadlines and goals and so this lack of motivation feels like total mental chaos for me.
Recently I was listening to a friend named Nina Boyce’s podcast when someone mentioned syncing her life with her menstrual cycle. I thought it was interesting but quickly moved on. It didn’t cross my mind again until this week – the week of my menstrual cycle. The week when things feel unusually heavy and my motivation is uncharacteristically low. I am starting to wonder, are my hormones and my menstrual cycles linked to the rhythms of my life and how I produce and perform? Could I potentially be working with my hormones?
When I think back through the years of my life, I can recall that while I am typically upbeat and committed to goal-crushing, every few weeks it feels like everything crumbles, nothing is possible, and I should just give up. (Yes, I also am self-aware of my dramatic thinking tendencies. Bear with me here.) My periods, well, they’ve always been a pain – physically, mentally, emotionally. I honestly have spent so much energy just trying to “power through it.” On her podcast, Nina mentions listening to your body cues. A reminder so simple, but yet so powerful for someone like me who trembles at the thought of slowing down.
What if it wasn’t just about slowing down and doing “less”, but more about working naturally with the rhythms of my body led by the phases of my menstrual cycle? Could I rewrite my schedule in a way that is more aligned and creates less resistance? What if there are ways to craft our work around the natural progression of our energy and mood? What if we could actually be working with our hormones?
According to Nina, who is a locally certified hormone coach and host of the aforementioned Healing Hormones podcast, there are 4 seasons in our cycle and each comes with its’ own type of energy:
Phase 1: Follicular Phase
You just ended your period and your energy is rising! Literally, your physical and mental energy is increasing by the day as your estrogen climbs. You’re ready for new and exciting experiences. This is a great time to start a new project and get creative!
Phase 2: Ovulatory Phase
Your body is getting ready to prepare for the release of an egg in hopes of getting pregnant (even if you don’t want that, haha). You have a rise in follicle-stimulating hormone as well as luteinizing hormone at this time. This means you have lots of estrogen and energy. It’s the best phase to go out and be social and/or do high-intensity workouts.
Phase 3: Luteal Phase
Progesterone starts to take over during this phase of your cycle. The first part of this phase might still be full of energy, but towards the end, before your period begins, make sure to take it easy. This phase will be all about listening to your body! It’s a great time to get organized.
Phase 4: Menstrual Phase
Period time. Your hormone levels are at their lowest point as progesterone starts to decrease again and you start your period. You might feel PMS symptoms taking over (especially if your hormones are unbalanced), and your body is craving REST. Honor this. Take time to pull out your journal and tune-in. Do some light stretches or yin-yoga to relax.
Work and Hormones
As an entrepreneur, I have some flexibility when it comes to how I structure my weeks and months. So I’m going to track my cycle and plan my month around it. I plan on working with my hormones. In a few months, I will give you an update on how it goes and if I find it effective.
Here is my plan:
1. Track my cycle via an app (I’m choosing to use Clue and bonus: it’s free!)
2. Write out all of the tasks I do regularly for my business
3. Categorize these tasks: Inward work (analyzing, vision casting, copywriting) or Outward work (presenting, calls, events)
4. Write my calendar as best as I can to batch work based on the energy it requires
Hormone health is new to me. I’m learning little by little, but I am a believer in body cues and using them as best we can. I’m here to honor my body better and try to work with it, not against it. Here’s to working with your hormones!