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Sailing through the menstrual cycle

Posted Sep 06 2011 8:20am

We all want to sail through the monthly storms, don’t we? So, when is the best time to do just about anything? and when is the time of the month when our mood is at its worst? and what can we do to help alleviate our mood at “that time of the month”


Luteal phase (Days 21- 27) BAD MOOD!! TIME OF THE MONTH! PMS Symptoms at its worst!

The mid-luteal phase of the cycle (about a week after ovulation, i.e. a week before actual menstruation), turned out to be a time when exercise became more difficult and psychological health took a nosedive (depression, fatigue and confusion increased while feelings of vigour declined).
Read more here

SOLUTION #1 : NAPPING

Napping during the late-luteal phase improves sleepiness, alertness, mood and cognitive performance in women with and without premenstrual symptoms

So, I am going to take home-cooked food to the office, and spend at least 30 minutes to nap during the mid-luteal phase of my period (this is from day 21 to day 27) or do more stretching exercises instead. Read more here

SOLUTION #2: STRETCHING Exercises

Just before your period (Day 21 to 27) is when you are most flexible. A hormone called relaxin peaks at this time, softening your ligaments. But don’t go mad — that extra flexibility may result in injury. A study at the Portland Hospital in London found that women were at the greatest risk of damaging their ligaments at the end of their cycle, but were also in danger of pulling muscles and ligaments halfway through the cycle, as levels of the strength-giving hormone oestrogen drop suddenly after ovulation.

SOLUTION #3: AVOID STRESSFUL Situations during the time of the month (e.g. job interview or major presentations at work)

If your idea of agony is applying for a new job, then try to avoid an interview in the days before your period if you don’t want to seem nervous or flustered. According to Dr Ann Rasmusson, a neuroendocrinologist at Yale University in America, this is when you are most likely to be affected by stress. “Levels of progesterone and other related neurosteroids drop dramatically at this time,” she says.

SOLUTION #4: Enjoy the rest of the month! Make the most out of your best time
BEST TIME TO START A DIET – is at the time you are menstruating (Day 1 to 7)

According to a team of South African researchers, your food intake can vary by a staggering 2,500 calories a day, depending on your hormones levels. And when it comes to starting a diet, scientists suggest you will be less hungry when your period begins. A study by researchers at Tufts University, Massachusetts, indicates that women eat 12% less per day at the start of their cycle because their levels of oestrogen are lower.

BEST TIME FOR AEROBIC Exercise? is on day 15-22

For aerobic exercise, pick days 15-22, when rising progesterone will make working out feel easier, and you will burn up to 30% more fat, according to a study published in Australasian Science magazine. If you prefer a weights-based workout, do it in the first half of your cycle, as high oestrogen levels will make you stronger. And if you want to run a marathon, the best days are just before ovulation (days 9-12) and just after (days 17-20).

Now it makes sense to me, our mood swings apparently is really something that we should NOT control, but rather something that we must sail through, by knowing when is the best and worst time to embark on certain activities. This way we can “feel” that we are in more control of our moods.

One of my Baptist friends used to tell me that I am too moody and emotional, that I am very INCONSISTENT and tend to do great things at one point but fail miserably the next (negating all the good things I have done in the past). He wanted me to be consistent, and I really tried to be “consistent” as much as I could. To use my “brain”, instead of my “heart”. Not to be controlled by “feelings” or “emotions”, but rather by the mind. I think both of us missed the point. MEN and WOMEN are different. We are more hormonally charged than men. Even Steve Jobs himself admitted that men can also be hormonally imbalanced (this is probably the reason why he fired a few employees at APPLE and earned him bad points from the press).

Jobs said in January 2009 that doctors said he dropped so much weight because of

“a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.”

I know that on my own I cannot control my hormones, but I can use my brain to help me sail through the different stages of my life. To name the emotions and acknowledge the different signals that my body is telling me to do (my hormones tell me to rest if I have to rest, move if I have to move, replenish if I am depleted)…the sad thing is that most of us women ignore this signals because we thought we still can stretch more working hours into a day, that we can just sleep with as little as 3 hours hours, that we can shove a donut and coffee in our mouth for breakfast and hope that we can meet the demands of the world and still feel OK). The truth is we are not ALWAYS OK! the most dangerous thing is to think YOU ARE OK– while everyone else is making life hell for you or either blame the devil for your suffering or feel supreme and use suffering as if it is a gold medal– “the more suffering she gets! the more brownie points she will receive in heaven”. When in fact its the hormones telling you do certain things but you either misunderstood or ignored the message– thus the unending cycle of blaming game starts. We blame the men in our lives most of the time– though they can possibly be a source of frustration, there are times when its not the case, its our hormones and its us not listening to the messages being sent by these hormones (according to Ecclesiastes there is a time for every purpose under heaven).

So, if you are a woman, before you make any life altering decision- find out first at what stage of your menstrual cycle you are now, have you had an average of 8 hours of sleep in the last 3 days, have you had a meal composed of fruits and veggies in the last 3 days? Then make that decision when you are at your best. And when you are at your worst, REST!

If you are a man, dont push the buttons all the time. When you are talking to your wife, mother or daughter, take into consideration first if the woman you love, have had enough sleep, rest, nutrition (NOT JUST FOOD! but NUTRITION! NUTRITIOUS FOOD).. and see if she is in the lutheal phase of her menstruation.

How to know when is the LUTHEAL PHASE? Download Pink PAD to your iPHone… it is a free iPhone apps that will allow you to monitor menstrual cycle and see when is the lutheal phase– specially that DREADED TIME OF THE MONTH — Day 21 to Day 27! Take lots of naps, stretching, cuddling at this time of the month. It will surely improve your relationship with your mother/wife/daughter.

If I had known this when I was a teenager, I could have helped my parents to improve their marriage life. But who will listen to a teenager anyway? Well, I could have probably spared myself some heart aches or I could have probably made the best out of my best times and rest during my worst times. But thats all over now, I still have probably 50 years more to live and I still have my daughter to teach.

Ah, thank you Lord for the wisdom you have shown me through the Bible. For helping me to see, how uniquely you have made me, how you have designed women to do certain tasks to nurture our families and our communities and how you have made our bodies– automatically functioning to send us messages of when to rest, move or replenish (so you do not have to micro-manage each one of us). For showing me how I can forgive myself and all the women and (also men) who have hurt me in the process. For showing me that really, on our own we cannot HELP ourselves.


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