For too long women have been conditioned to live in a man's world. We have climbed the corporate ladder with scant regard to our menstrual cycle, charging through regardless of our monthly period.
We have been led to believe that taking time out to rest is weak, and will decrease our chances of promotion and career advancement.
Young women are invariably told by their boyfriends and male friends that periods are dirty and shameful. In some cultures (or families) it’s even worse, where the monthly cycle is considered taboo, and not to be talked about.
The net result is we try to ignore the symptoms, and use various medications or stimulants to overcome painful PMT and survive the day. Otherwise, we give society yet another reason as to why we don’t deserve equal rights, and equal pay.
Enough is enough
What we haven’t been told is by ignoring the different phases of our cycle, women can’t possibly reach their full potential.
We have been told we’re unreliable, because we’re “inconsistent” when really our menstrual cycle is actually a tremendous superpower. Unfortunately, most men (and women) don’t know how to channel it effectively to their advantage and boost productivity.
When we do, we have the ability to show up in life, and business, with a whole set of different skills according to each phase of our monthly cycle.
We live in a masculine society where there is an emphasis to strive, to do, and be successful. Unfortunately, that’s not a place that is comfortable for women 100% of the time. Women are not linear. We’re not meant “to do” all the time.
It's no secret that a woman's mood, appearance, energy levels and concentration are affected at different times of the menstrual cycle. So how can we leverage these changes to our advantage and boost productivity?
Masculine and Feminine Energy
It’s time to better understand the seasons in your cycle so you can better plan and deliver at work.
Firstly, women are cyclical, and fluid. When women are connected with their womb they can show up differently in life, with different skill sets and creative abilities, according to each phase of our cycle.
Secondly, your monthly cycle reflects masculine and feminine energy at different times.
Now when I say masculine energy, I don’t mean acting like a dude. Every person, regardless of their gender, has both masculine and feminine energy.
Masculine energy is very left brain, and consists of:
Feminine energy is very right brain, and consists of:
The first half of your monthly cycle represents Spring and Summer seasons, which is masculine energy. This is when women are typically big on energy, amped-up for logic and intense thinking.
The second half of your cycle represents the Autumn and Winter seasons, which is feminine energy. This is the time when women move inwards and withdraw from the world.
Unfortunately, many women believe we are less productive, efficient and useful if we move, and work, in rhythm with our cycle. So we ignore our cycle and charge through life like we’re a man. When really we could achieve more if we honoured the different phases of our menstrual cycle.
Understanding the seasons in your monthly cycle, and your superpowers.
Here’s an overview of the different “seasons” within the menstrual cycle, and what tasks to do (and avoid) during each phase of your cycle.
The first phase of your monthly cycle is Winter and is “Day 1” of your period (unless you’re pregnant), and you will be bleeding for 3-8 days. It’s time to retreat and honour your bleed, which can be difficult with our busy schedules however giving yourself some downtime can do wonders, even if it’s just one hour.
How women look after themselves during this stage will set the story for the rest of their cycle. Avoid deadlines during this phase if you can.
This is a period of feminine energy.
Superpowers in menstruation:
- Restore your creative and spiritual energy
- Clarity on your purpose and which direction to take in life
- Ability to release things that no longer serve you
- Easily adapt to change
- Ability to forgive and forget
The second phase of your monthly cycle is Spring and occurs around day 7-13 when you have just finished bleeding. You’re coming out of Winter, and have increased levels of oestrogen and serotonin so you’re more upbeat.
This is a period of masculine energy.
Superpowers in pre-ovulation:
- This is the time to schedule big presentations or meetings
- Your memory, logic and reasoning are skyrocketing
- You have the drive and determination to make things happen, and in the mood to work longer hours
- You have renewed stamina, and have the energy for high endurance exercise
- Powerhouse for creativity
- You feel fearless and want to be seen and heard
- Better at taking risks
The third phase of your menstrual cycle is Summer and occurs around day 13-21 when an egg is released into your ovaries. It’s the time when you’re most likely to get pregnant. Oestrogen and testosterone levels peak during this phase, so your confidence is at an all-time high, you’re in the mood to “get s*** done” and socialise.
This is a period of masculine energy.
Superpowers in ovulation:
- You take on the world Super Woman style and can make things happen
- Job performance and KPIs are at an all-time high
- You’re most captivating and persuasive
- You’re able to receive constructive feedback and don’t take it personally
The fourth phase of your moon cycle is Autumn and occurs roughly on days 23-until you bleed. You first start to experience withdrawal from oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone.
The decrease in oestrogen increases your anxiety, tears and the blues. If your partner irritates you in any way, they are about to get an earful. The decrease in progesterone means you cry at pretty much anything. And lower levels of testosterone make you doubt yourself and your appearance. It’s no wonder so many females don’t like this time of the month!
Regardless, this phase does have its superpowers.
This is a period of feminine energy.
Superpowers in pre-menstruation:
- You’re super organised and ease your way to deadlines
- Your intuition is strong which gives you the ability to make big decisions
- You can easily spot problems and have the creative fire to fix them
- You’re able to move through creative blocks
- Your ability to give constructive feedback strengthens
The phases of the moon provide even more superpowers! If you’re menstruating on the Full Moon, you’re likely to feel more creative. Whereas bleeding on a New Moon you’re likely to be more aligned with, and re-evaluate your life and purpose.
The secret to periods and productivity: Charting
Knowing what superpowers a female has in each phase of her cycle is one thing, but leveraging them to realise their optimal energy and productivity is another.
Charting gives females the ability to better understand their cycle, and sync their hormonal cycle with their life and work responsibilities.
You can chart your period using a traditional paper calendar, or digital calendar. You might also like to use a period tracker app like Flo, which can give you an indication of when your cycle is due to begin. Use this information to schedule your appointments, meetings and social engagements according to your different phases.
Share your cycle with your partner, and your colleagues
I have a shared calendar with my partner, where we estimate when the different seasons are expected. We then plan our whole month around my cycle. When to spend time on our business or record new podcast episodes, when we plan to be more physically active like long walks or the gym, and when we’re going to have downtime.
I’ve even started to share this information with my colleagues, so they are more conscious of when scheduling specific tasks according to the different phases of my cycle.
After charting for a few months you will start to see patterns. For example, when you’re most creative, have the most energy and can work longer hours.
Remember everyone is unique, so what works for you may not work for the woman next to you. It’s a matter of test and learn, and implementing what works best for you. Some months you will get it right, and other months it might be different but that’s perfectly okay. As long as you’re being conscious of your cycle and working to be better aligned with your beautiful self.