By Dr. Shawna Darou, ND
Are you hard on yourself for being inconsistent through the month? Do you feel that some days you’re confident and productive, and other days you’re spacey or introverted. The reality is that women are not the same every day of the month… and that’s a good thing!
I’ve worked for over 15 years in women’s health, and something I’m passionate about is understanding how hormones impact our lives. Most of my day is spent troubleshooting hormonal issues – hormone imbalance, difficult periods, infertility, perimenopause, PMS and more.
The part that we don’t often talk about is that our hormonal cycles are also the seat of our power, productivity, creativity and even leadership. Just as the difficult days like pain, bloating or cramps happen predictably, so do the traits you love most about yourself. If you pay attention you’ll start to see the patterns with things like your creativity, productivity, athletic performance, brainstorming, ability to connect, energy levels and confidence.
If we start to really know ourselves, and track our cycles in a way that maps out both the gifts and the struggles through the month, we can work with, rather than work against our hormones.
Empowered Cycle Tracking:
For those of you who already track your cycles, you’re off to a great start! But, I bet that you’re not putting anything positive in your notes. For example: how easy it was to connect with people today, how you did an amazing presentation at work, that you were particularly strong during your workout.
Here is the very simple practice:
- Identify three positive feelings, states or attributes for yourself. Things that you notice seem to come and go but you would really love to tap into more. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Articulate, artistic, Brainstorming, Brave, Confident, Coordinated, Creative, Decisive, Focused, Ideas flowing, Industrious, Joyful, Loving, Motivated, Optimistic, Playful, Productive, Resilient, Social, Strong.
- Next identify three negative feelings, states of attributes for yourself. Again things that seem to come and go. Here are some ideas:
- Anxious, clumsy, Depressed, Disconnected, Exhausted, Foggy, Grumpy, Impulsive, Insecure, Irritable, Jealous, Lonely, Pessimistic, Picking fights, Sensitive, Stressed out, Uncoordinated, Unmotivated.
- On a calendar or in your period tracking app start watching for these 6 things, and look for the patterns. You will be amazed at how predictable you really are through the month!
- “Embrace the positives” – when possible plan events, meetings and presentations around the times where you are at your peak. Work with your patterns.
- “Navigate the negative” – when you know that the less pleasant phases are predictable and short-lived, it’s easier to build in the self-care that you need to take care of yourself. For example see my post on “Kindness Week” as a re-frame on PMS: if you spend extra time being kind to yourself, resting and not taking on extra responsibilities, PMS can be a week that you look forward to rather than resist.
Stay tuned for next week’s article where I will go through the 4 phases of your menstrual cycle and explain some of the typical patterns that you may find, and how to use these patterns to be at your best through the month. This simple practice will literally change your life.
If you would like to learn about how to support your stress hormones and cortisol levels better, or are interested in testing please book in for an appointment. This can make a profound impact on your feelings of health and wellbeing.