Bracing yourself for an upcoming family gathering? Whether you love ’em or dread ’em, you can make every get-together with your kinfolk happier when you know how your hormones will be impacting your mood, desire to chat, patience with others, energy level and more. Read on to find out what to expect from your next family meal based on which week you’re on in your monthly cycle….
Week 1 First day of period to Day 7
Your family get-together hormonescope: Your family isn’t all that bad! Good news: You’re in the mood to mingle and reconnect with family members this week as low-but-rising estrogen makes you more comfortable around people you know well. Even better: You’re willing to overlook most snarky back-handed compliments and re-tellings of thoroughly humiliating experiences you’d wish everyone could just forget. Of course, even Week 1 gals have their limits, so have a few conversation-changers prepared in advance. If you’re hosting dinner… Prepare as much as you can ahead of time and recruit helpers. During menstruation, energy levels sag, so you’ll want the extra set of hands to help keep you going all day long.
Week 2 Day 8 to Day 13
Your family get-together hormonescope: You’re the life of the party! Peaking estrogen and testosterone will have you chatting up a storm -- you’re starting lots of conversations and easily answering even the stickiest questions that only family members know how to pose for maximum squirming effect. Family jokesters will be swarming around you since these high hormones boost your mood and make it easier to smile at Uncle Roy’s magic tricks and laugh at same jokes Aunt Sally repeats every year. A word of warning: Your hormones make your passion and confidence overflow this week, so you may feel it’s the right time to admit something your family feels is controversial -- for instance, that you’re gay or that you love karaoke. Coming out as a karaoke lover is hard on everyone at first. So remember to give your family time to adjust. And try to spring it after dessert. There’s nothing worse than storming out before pie. If you’re hosting dinner… Peaking estrogen and testosterone give you the energy and stamina you need to cook and serve all day. You’ll also have energy left over to clean up. But why let on when you can recruit someone else to do it?
Week 3 Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Your family get-together hormonescope: Smiling on the inside! Rising progesterone puts a mellower spin on your day. You’re relaxed, perhaps a tad tired, and are too calm to be ruffled by even the most passive-aggressive of relatives. You’re also quieter than in the past two weeks, giving shorter answers to questions and bringing up fewer conversation topics. If you don’t want the kinfolk to mistake your silence for sullenness, sit next to your chattiest relative. Then simply ask a few starter questions, such as, “How are you?” or “Can you pass the candied yams?”, which will be enough to put them on verbal auto-pilot and make you look like the best, most engaged listener in your entire family tree. If you’re hosting dinner… Steer clear of anything that can make you drowsier than you already feel, such as wine or an extra helping of food, which puts you in a fog by diverting blood from your brain to your stomach.
Week 4 Day 23 to the end of cycle Your family get-together hormonescope: Their flaws are out; your claws are out! It’s not that your relatives are any more annoying than usual. It’s just that, as estrogen and testosterone descend, it’s almost impossible not to focus on your family’s foibles. Sis makes noises when she eats. Grandma smells funny. Even your dad, who sits quietly eating his dinner, seems to be holding his fork all wrong. Woe to those family members who take a more active approach to annoying you -- for instance, pointing out how they’d fix so-called problems in your life if they were you or offering to pair you up on a blind date with their thrice-divorced co-worker. Descending hormones aren’t gonna like that either. Other than that, you’re feeling quiet, introspective and may be found circling the punch bowl for solace. And not the mocktail one, either. If you’re hosting dinner… Expect a dropped dish, burned biscuits and any other cooking mishap. That’s because you’re feeling a bit more like a perfectionist this week, and when things don’t go your way, it can spark a noradrenaline temper flare -- an angry outburst that’s a result of declining serotonin on these premenstrual days. When you expect an accident ahead of time, it won’t be as big a deal and, therefore, won’t bother you as much. And your china gravy boat will thank you.
[And what about men? They can find out how their hormones impact their hour-to-hour mood in the Male Hormone Guide .]