Does your normal, perky self feel different during PMS and period? It is because of the fluctuation of hormones during the menstrual cycle. Specifically, the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone are heavily affecting your energy, focus, and mood.
As a result, you are doing better at certain stages of the menstrual cycle than during others.
What causes the dreaded bad mood, sleepiness, and drowsiness are the raising levels of progesterone. Progesterone starts to rise after your ovulation, during the last 12-14 days of the menstrual cycle. This is also the time known as 'PMS' when you'll typically feel irritated, tired, and hungrier.
Your work performance might start to lag, which means you should focus your efforts to energize as much as possible.
The first half of your cycle, meaning the days following the period, is when the progesterone is at its lowest, and estrogen is now taking the front seat. During this time, you will feel fresh, energized, focused, and inspired. Premenstrual syndrome: the most common symptoms before period.
The main stages of your menstrual cycle are the following:
Menstruation lasts anywhere between 2-7 days. During the period, your uterus is shedding its thick lining, which results in bleeding.
The follicular phase overlaps with your period. It starts on the first day of the period and ends with ovulation. Estrogen levels start to rise, as the follicle inside one of your ovaries is maturing. As a result of the estrogen spike, you are likely to feel upbeat and optimistic, and your skin will also be in its best shape.
Ovulation happens when the ovary releases the egg around the day 14 before your next periods start. An unfertilized egg will dissolve inside the uterus, triggering the luteal phase of the cycle.
During the luteal phase, corpus luteum which is formed from a dominant follicle after ovulation starts producing progesterone. Its level increases gradually during the phase and here you start experiencing the PMS symptoms. The luteal phase averages around 14 days.
Here are a couple of strategies for boosting your performance at different stages of the menstrual cycle.
- Period (menstruation)
As your body is going through a sort-of cleanse, which also has a mental impact, you should focus on inner, emotional work and devote to self-improvement and mindfulness.
At work, this is a great time for purging and organizing the workspace. Get into some rearranging and simplifying, removing unnecessary paperwork and establishing new systems of organization that will be more productive.
- Follicular stage
During the follicular stage of your menstrual cycle, you should feel energized and inspired.
This is a great time to start a new project and deal with more difficult working tasks that will require more inspiration, enthusiasm, and creative energy.
If you're planning to switch jobs, the follicular stage is the best for job interviews and submitting proposals.
- Luteal stage and ovulation
The hormonal fluctuations during this stage will likely make you more introverted and point your thoughts towards self-reflection.
If there are profound changes you need to make in your life, re-think (personal and business) relationships and make vital life decisions-this is the time.
Chart your menstrual cycle.
You can track your menstrual cycle changes with Flo, to get a grasp of your menstrual calendar, to begin with.
Coordinating your agenda with the menstrual calendar is the initial step towards making your period work for you, starting from mapping out days when you won't feel your best.
Most women mainly focus on tracking periods for the purposes of birth control, but you can use this knowledge for so much more than getting your period supplies in time.
Additionally, every menstrual cycle can suffer delays and change from month to month, and tracking gives you the further possibility to have the upper hand when it comes to predicting mood swings and energy capacities.
Make use of a period tracker.
Noting your own internal changes throughout the different stages of the menstrual cycle is more than helpful. It can give you not only better insight into ways to make yourself more productive, but also tools to avoid oversights and mistakes in personal relationships.
Noting the times when you feel inspired and energized, versus those when you are most likely to feel irritable and act on impulse, will help you improve both on a personal and business level.
Wouldn't you like to predict that having that difficult conversation with your manager during certain days will cause you to overreact? Or, perhaps, planning your project budget during the most inspiring days may have something to do with overspending?
Making important decisions, and doing it right, requires the right mindset. Understanding your body and the ways in which it affects your thoughts and feelings will most certainly make that possible for you.
Organize your work around menstrual stages.
If you have any power over your work schedule, you can use your menstrual calendar to adjust tasks with the days you have the right mindset and energy levels for performing them. This will help boost productivity and show your skills in their best light.
Manage unpleasant symptoms.
Despite your best efforts to use the hormonal imbalance throughout the menstrual cycle to your advantage, there still might be some pains you need a count on. Being prepared for unpleasant symptoms and having the right supplies ahead of time will help cope with cramping, headaches and the rest of the uncomfortable period symptoms.
Plan shopping around the menstrual cycle.
If your mood affects your spending habits, it can go in two directions: you might overspend when you feel down, and you might overspend when you feel upbeat and cheerful. Make sure to plan your shopping around times when you feel like you're most likely to spend with a clear mind. It’s alright to find things that make you happy during your cycle, but make sure not to go overboard.
Lay low during rough days.
Plan fewer activities during the times when you don't feel your best so that you can rest more and get better sleep.
List 'Do's' and 'Don'ts' of every stage of menstrual cycle.
Based on your knowledge, compile a list of things that are great to do versus those you shouldn't during different stages of the menstrual cycle.
Adjust your diet to prevent tiredness.
If menstruation makes you sick plan on getting the right groceries to nurture your body during the period.
Pre-make healthy meals and snacks.
When high levels of progesterone kick in, you most likely won't feel inspired to make super-nutritious meals. Prevent binging on candy by pre-making healthy meals.
Schedule fitness according to the menstrual cycle.
You need a moderate amount of exercise during every stage of the menstrual cycle, but kickboxing during the period or focusing on yoga when you feel like dancing might be ineffective.
You can choose from a variety of activities for exercise, so make sure to plan them according to the pace of your body. Active sport is the best during follicular phase and yoga will perfectly fit the luteal phase.
Delegate run-around tasks.
Let's say you don't feel very energized during the second half of the cycle. Still, you have meetings to attend and reports to write. Do you want to spend more energy on shopping or cleaning? Likely not. So make sure to delegate all low-priority tasks to save your energy and focus on the important ones.
Adjust clothing and personal style to menstrual cycle changes.
Your menstrual cycle affects your skin, but also your blood circulation and sensitivity. Lighter clothing during the first half of the cycle and more comfortable outfits during the second will most likely match your sensitivity.
Keep in mind that increased progesterone levels during the luteal phase can make you swell when planning your looks during that period.
You can leverage the knowledge of how fluctuating hormones affect your performance to work around the shortcomings and display your talents and skills all-month-long. At the same time, you'll feel more productive and achieved.