Menstrual cycle and the perfect work-life balance:
Many women find their menstrual cycles to be a trouble – but in fact, it is a blessing that shows you a way to make the most out of your life. You will believe in what I am saying after knowing how the menstrual cycle can be used to your benefit.
I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.
Your monthly period is controlled by the hormones and the hormones play a wider role than just that. They control your mood, the way your skin looks, body weight, energy level, sex drive and your cognitive state.
Every woman mostly has a 28-day cycle. The cyclical nature of the menstrual cycle also has a cyclical change on you – taking you through mood swings and feelings wherein you experience troughs and peaks, flows and dips. Your days are different at different points in the cycle. You are not the same in the beginning, middle or at the end of your menstrual cycle. Agree?
The reality is that our current medical standard is to suppress a women’s natural cycle at the first sign of an imbalance, using powerful synthetic hormones, rather than educating women on the importance of a diet, exercise and stress management. These help in promoting improved hormonal balance, which can then allow us, women, to take advantage of the varying strengths that we can experience as our natural cycles progress
What about the men? Doesn’t their hormonal cycle undergo a change?
Yes, they do have the hormonal changes wherein the hormonal peak will be there in the morning which will drop off gradually as the day proceeds. Their lowest point will thus be at night time. This cycle continues day after day. This predictability works perfectly for men as they engage with the world in a better way and are able to control their work-life balance.
But what about women who also wish to make their every day – energetic, productive and predictable? How can they be at the top of the game when the cyclical hormones do not support them?
You as a woman can achieve it all like a man, or even better – provided you understand your female body and tune your life to the hormonal play. Otherwise, you are likely to feel overwhelmed, burned out and frustrated. This is because you do not know that time of your period when you can peak in your abilities and be insightful, motivated, energized, et al. Understanding the menstrual cycle and living in alignment with its four phases will make all your dreams come true and you will achieve your work-life balance with perfection. Let us see how to make the best out of the cycle days.
But let us first see the amazing similarity between your four phases of the period cycle and the four seasons of nature. The perfect tuning with the phases of winter, spring, summer, and autumn will enable you to truly unlock your full feminine potential.
Below, I put together a cheat sheet on the 4 phases and the work and productivity superpowers in each phase as a guideline for easier understanding.
Cycle Days 1-5 (Winter: Menstruation phase):
Winter is a perfect time to rest and conserve energy.
During this period, the hormones are at their lowest levels and you will feel withdrawn, internal, and reflective. The body is shedding the innermost layer of the uterus which is called the endometrium. You will feel more tired than usual.
Slowing down or easing up on your schedule is recommended. This is a time to rest and rejuvenate so that you can be at your best at work and in personal life.
Cycle Days 6-12 (Spring: Follicular phase):
Like the spring season, this is a time of renewal, growth and birth. For your body, this is a time of creation.
This phase is the follicular phase. The level of estrogen in your body starts to increase making you feel energetic and confident to take on tasks. Your body begins maturing eggs for ovulation in this phase. Your mental ability increases and you learn things easily. You will feel optimistic. You can do important work, make decisions, try to learn new things and do productive activities like meetings and business deals or set your goals and work towards them. You can also start a new type of physical activity to keep fit.
Cycle Days 13–18: (Summer: Ovulation time)
This is a fun time. It is great for socializing and going out, pleasure and play.
In this phase of your cycle, your estrogen levels will peak. The body is ready for the concluding phase of ovulation. This is the time for pleasure. Your skin will look better and you will feel confident and sensual. The increased level of testosterone will enhance your libido. Spend time with your intimate partner, friends and in good company. Go out and enjoy parties. This is a very good travel time too.
Cycle Days 19-28 (Autumn: Luteal phase)
This is a time when the energetic highs of spring and summer conclude and you start to wind down for the winter season. Trees begin to shed their leaves and it is a time to slow down or cut back on busy schedules.
The level of progesterone is now increasing and going to peak. The estrogen level is dropping down. Progesterone makes your mind slow down and decrease your energy levels. There is a calming effect on the body and blood sugar levels stabilize. This is the time to slow down. You can effectively do the tasks that are detail-oriented rather than big-picture thinking. You would like to rest and pay more attention to yourself.
In some females, the PMS might be a challenge and they should know that it might be caused due to the hormonal imbalance. This needs to be treated and a consultation with a hormone specialist will help bring back the lost balance in hormones and in life.
It’s important for women of all ages to understand their bodies better. Knowing how different hormones can affect your energy levels, mood, creativity etc., and can put you in the driver’s seat instead of becoming victim to your body.
“It is advisable to follow your seasonal cycle in this manner rather than expecting yourself to be the same day in and day out. It is the best way of living a perfectly aligned life.”
When you follow this approach, you ensure that you are successful on all fronts. You will be having time for all that have ever wanted to do — planning, goal setting, intense productivity, rest, adventure, etc. This approach is so complete that it will help you work in unison with your body without all the time pushing against it. Following your seasonal cycle in this way rather than expecting yourself to be the same day in and day out is the secret to living a deeply aligned life. It might just change your life.
Originally published May 20, 2020 by Dr Disha Sridhar