The monthly cycle and your energy levels

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How do they relate to one another?

Today, I want to write a note about energy levels and their effect on the female monthly cycle.  Many women don’t realise that their cycle can dictate the amount of physical, mental or emotional energy that they have.  And that they can plan what they do around their own cycles.

Levels are lowest during the bleed

During a bleed, or period, which we would look at as the beginning of your monthly cycle, (or the  ‘winter’ season) energy levels are commonly very low.  This is purely because the hormones which regulate your cycle are also at lower levels and this affects the energy that you have available to use.  Remember if you’re bleeding of course you may have a slight iron deficiency, which can contribute to being in a more tired state. Your body’s natural response to hormones at that time means that it usually tells you that you need to slow down. Commonly you might find that along with low energy, your mood may be lower too. This is completely normal, and if you know that it happens for you, then make sure you plan in activities and habits that make you feel good, without wearing you out – reading, a warm bath, gentle yoga, or a brisk walk are all good at this stage.

Energy begins to rise during the second week

During the 2nd week of your cycle (spring season) post-period, you can expect energy levels to start rising. Oestrogen and follicle stimulating hormones start to rise during this follicular phase of the cycle, helping an egg-bearing follicle to mature.   You will notice that you begin to feel more lively and your mood will lift.  You may find that you’re able to do more, for example if you go for a run you might be able to run a little bit further or for longer. You can plan for more physical activity in this stage of your cycle.

Peak Time for Creativity is around Ovulation

As you come up to the time of ovulation (which is the midpoint of your cycle), your hormones are preparing to release an egg from a mature follicle. Luteinising hormone peaks at ovulation, together with oestrogen.  The combination of these two hormones has the effect of increasing muscle strength, stimulating feelings of wellbeing and happiness and making you feel like a queen!  At this point you can expect that your creative energy is really strong as well as your physical energy.  Thinking about new things you want to make or do, designing new products, starting new projects – this is the best time in the month for you to do that, because your creative energies are really high, and your brain is being stimulated by your hormones producing serotonin and dopamine both connected with motivation and pleasure.  Your mood is likely to be higher than during the rest of your cycle.  Make the most of this window – it only lasts about 24 hours!

The magic of progesterone after ovulation!

Post-ovulation (the summer season), your body switches to making progesterone. If you’re trying for a baby, this would support the implantation and growth of an embryo. A corpus luteum forms from the emptied follicle after the egg has been released, and this is what makes progesterone for you. In terms of your energy, progesterone is the hormone that will help you to feel more settled and comfortable.

Progesterone has the effect of calming the nervous system, and it makes it easier to cope with stress. If you’ve got stuff that you really need to crack on with then the 3rd week in your cycle is the time to do it.  You’ll find that you get better quality sleep during this part of the cycle too, because progesterone helps the production of the neurotransmitters which promote sleep, as well as relaxation!

Prepare for a gradual drop during week 4

In the pre-period week (autumn season) you’ll find that your energy levels begin to go down again.  If you’re not pregnant, the progesterone made by the corpus luteum drops and the corpus luteum itself shrinks.  This combination of factors sends the message to your brain that your are not pregnant, and the process of shedding the lining of the uterus starts again, leading to your period.

Some people find that at this point of their cycle that they might be more clumsy, and dizziness or feeling faint can also be quite common before a period. This is a good time to review what you’re doing within that time. So if you’re doing something that needs a lot of dexterity for example, or fine motor control, that’s probably not the week to do it.  I often use the example that you wouldn’t want to do your driving test at this time in your cycle, as you may not be able to give it your best shot.

Putting the hormone puzzle pieces together

Understanding that your hormones have an effect on your energy levels, your creativity and your ability to take on certain tasks is quite important. As you can see from the examples I’ve outlined, the knowledge of how your body is affected can help you to plan out which activities you want to do over a four week period of time (or however long your cycle is). It may just help you to be more productive in a way that suits you better.

If your cycle varies enormously from what I’ve described, you may need to take a few weeks to observe, track and note symptoms.  Most women’s cycles vary from 21 to 35 days – 28 days is just an average.  You may not be ovulating, which means you won’t be getting the benefits of progesterone.  You might not be having periods.  These are pointers that your hormones are not balanced for you, but this is something that you can work on.  I’ll write more on that subject next time.

So now you know:

  • Learn your cycle
  • Plan your life to work with the hormonal flow as much as you can
  • And just know that this awareness of how your body works will help you to manage your needs in a more responsive way

Want to work with me to learn your own cycle?

My new Cycle Management program is a 12 week plan designed to educate and inform you about your personal cycle.  It includes weekly chats, cycle tracking and a selection of holistic therapies to support you and your wellbeing.  It’s delivered completely online, so if you’ve got internet, we can connect!  If you’d like full details and availability, then please use the contact form to get in touch.