When my Certified Health & Wellness Coach sent me information on the connection between mood, energy and the four phases of menstruation, I thought, “Why didn’t I think of this already?!” I had a general idea of how my cycle affected me, but my coach encouraged me to dig deeper.
Learning more about each phase of my cycle and its’ affects was empowering!
Awareness is everything! If I know I am prone to feeling blue or exhausted during week 3 and 4 of my cycle, I can plan for that. On weeks 1 and 2 I feel more motivation and energy, so I can plan to socialize, paint and run.
Consider what cycles affect you… seasons, holidays, phases of the moon, work or school schedule?
Maybe you begin feeling blue around this time of year when the weather shifts. You may notice feeling sleepier around a full moon (Participants in a 2013 study took longer to fall asleep and got 30% less deep sleep during a full moon!).1 I see clients dip in mood around the holidays due to stress and the reminders of change and loss. If you have kiddos, notice how you feel when they return to school vs. the start of summer.
I promote the use of mood tracking for my clients with mood disorders. However, we can all benefit from growing awareness of our cycles. Here are some tips to work with your patterns instead of against them:
- • Start Tracking: If you know there are certain times of the year that are easier or more difficult for you already, great! If you are ready to learn more about your cycles, try tracking with an app. One to three months is ideal to identify your patterns. I use and love Daylio because it allows me to track my mood and any activity that I create (sleep, movement, stressors). I’m also a fan of Sanvello, Mood Track Diary and Smiling Mind.
- • Be Gentle with Yourself: Identify the times in your cycle that you struggle with low moods or energy and set yourself up for success. Don’t take on more than what you must and get comfortable with saying no to plans that aren’t necessary. Instead, snuggle up with a good book and go to bed early. Imagine those periods as time for rest and recovery.
- • Get Productive: Ever notice that there are days that you feel more motivated to clean, be creative or exercise? If you know when you are likely to feel that surge of energy, take advantage of it! Look at your calendar and plan to write, hit a spin class or take on a home improvement project.
Tracking your cycles will help you become an even greater expert on the most important topic in your life – you!
1Cajochen C1, Altanay-Ekici S, Münch M, Frey S, Knoblauch V, Wirz-Justice A. “Evidence that the lunar cycle influences human sleep.” Current Biology, vol 23, no. 15, 2013, pp 1485-8.