At the end of my last post, I mentioned I had something special in store for the ladies in the audience, so here it is. Ladies, find your rhythm. We are not robots and we are absolutely not meant to feel the same and do the same things day in and day out. Definitely not meant to eat the same food, do the same hardcore workout, have the same feelings and energy. Look around you and especially look to nature and you will find a rhythm, a cyclical nature of things. Here in Michigan, we are all familiar with the four seasons. We see and feel the shifts between the cold, dark winter into rainy and flowering spring. Then comes the sunny, lush summers which ease into the chill autumn with leaves changing. With the falling of the leaves and decrease in daylight comes another time of winter. I invite you to bring this cyclical nature into your everyday life.
Whether it is societal expectations, capitalism, or perfectionist tendencies, pushing ourselves into overdrive every single day is causing burnout, exhaustion, and making us all feel like failures. What if I told you that rest is actually productive, and it serves a very important purpose. How about if we took time for analyzing our actions and life and then made time for planning changes or upcoming projects. When we make time for rest, analyzing, and planning, then and only then are we ready to put all our energy into the work, whatever that may be for you.
Rest, analyze, plan, and THEN work. Before we get into how this rhythm can fit into our lives, let’s dive into how we have gotten disconnected from it. In a growing technological world, we have gotten further away from nature. With this we have lost some very important instincts. We have done our best to adapt, but something just is not adding up. We live in a man’s world. There is no getting around it. Our work days, workout schedules, and even meal times cater to a man’s biology.
From a very early age, women are taught that our menstrual cycle, specifically our period, is a liability. It is something that will hold us back from achieving our goals, they say. So we ignore it, groan about it, even try to avoid it with hormonal birth control. Here I am again to go against the grain. Your internal cycle is not a liability, but is the key to fulfillment, avoiding burnout, and your success. Let’s get into how we can find our internal rhythm and make some small shifts to start living cyclically.
Find Your Cycle
Lucky for us, we have a built in rhythm and cycle. We just have to dig past some conditioning and misinformation to find the treasure. Step one, find your cycle. Most females only track our cycle when it relates to trying to get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant. There is so much more gold in our cycle than just how it relates to fertility. Our feelings, energy, nutritional needs, relational needs, communication style, creativity, and much more! shift dramatically during our cycle. Our hormones play a bigger part than most of us realize. It’s about time we start using it to our advantage. Instead of forcing ourselves to fit into a certain box each day, let’s meet ourselves where we are at and then cater to our strengths for that part of our cycle.
Let’s get down to business. Start today. Not sure where you are in your cycle, that is okay. For women on hormonal birth control. I urge you to do some research and revisit the idea with your physician. If hormonal birth control is still your answer, you will need to “fake it til you make it”, as you will not have the natural fluctuations in hormones to drive your cyclical lifestyle. You can still follow the rhythm, though. More to come on that!
Grab an empty journal and take 5 minutes daily to check-in with yourself about the following:
- Day # or phase of cycle you are in, if you are aware. (Follicular, ovulatory, luteal, menstrual)
- Energy level
- Internal drive/desire (feeling like rest? creating? planning? analyzing? prepping? work?)
- Movement desire(What feels/sounds good? High intensity? Rest? Yoga? Cardio? Strength training?)
- Relational needs (More connection? Alone time? Going out with friends? Try something new?)
Do this every day for 2-3 months or cycles. This will help us build awareness around our cycles. We all know that awareness is the first step in making changes. I know the first time I did this, I started to see the subtle shifts from week to week. What I needed and wanted was different from week to week. When I started to meet myself where I was at instead of forcing myself to do things I “should” do, that is where the magic happened. Then when I started seeing similarities after 2-3 cycles in each phases. I knew that I was definitely digging in the right direction.
Whew… I am totally opening a can of worms here, AND I cannot wait to dive into this head first. This is absolutely the thing that I am most passionate about when it comes to wellness and how to fight burnout. Next week we will dive more into this topic. We will take a look at the different phases of the cycle and some small shifts we can make to enhance our strengths in each phase. And men, I hope you don’t feel left out. This information is good for you to know as well, because you do live, work with, and engage with women every day. When we finish this series geared towards ladies, I have some ways men can live cyclically as well.