ASK CHARLOTTE: Feeling Fragile
Hi Charlotte. I've recently moved to London for work and started feeling very tired and even more fragile at certain times of my period. Any ideas?
Moving to a new place and starting a new job can be hugely stressful events and a city like London can be especially exhausting. Then when your period rolls around you can be left wondering whether there is any relief. I'm a big advocate of Cyclical Living. This means living with the natural cycles like the seasons, the Moon cycle, and your menstrual cycle. Living cyclically is the key to better mental and physical health, more energy, happiness, productivity, and growth. Your hormones affect more than just your period, including your energy levels, skin, nutritional needs, state of mine, your sex drive and even your weight. And as these hormones move through the average 28-day cycle of highs and lows, how you feel changes too. No two days are the same which means how you are in the beginning, middle and end of your cycle can differ greatly.
Conversely male hormones peak in the morning and gradually drop off throughout the day, with their lowest point at night. The next morning they peak again, and the whole cycle starts – every day the cycle stays pretty much the same.
This is why cyclical living is so key for women – because most of what we expect from ourselves, our bodies and minds is based on and suited to the male hormonal cycle. We often expect to be at our best every single day. We want to be massively productive and full of energy. But our bodies don’t run on a cookie cutter model, and ignoring it is taking its toll. But living in alignment with the four phases of your menstrual cycle can unlock your full potential and the key to living a happy, fulfilled life. Now, everyone’s cycles is a little different so the days below are just a guide, getting started is easy and it starts with thinking of your cycle like the four seasons – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Winter – your period (days 1–5)
In nature, winter is a time to go inward, rest and conserve energy and the female body is no different. During your period your hormones are at their lowest, meaning you’ll often feel reflective and withdrawn. Your body is also busy shedding the inner layer of your uterus and that can leave you feeling more tired than usual. This phase all about slowing down. It’s perfect for chilled nights in, journaling and reflecting. Give yourself permission to rest so you can be ready for the month ahead, planning your schedule accordingly.
Spring (days 6–12)
Just like spring in nature is a time of growth and renewal, spring in your body is a time of creativity. Your body begins maturing eggs for ovulation so your estrogen levels start to increase. This leaves you feeling full of energy, more confident and outgoing. Your brain is also primed to learn things faster in this phase of your cycle, and you tend to be more optimistic and great at planning the future.
This is the perfect time to get planning, taking action, and trying new things. Connect to your goals and get clear on what action steps you want to take in the coming weeks. You learn faster in spring, so it’s a great time to try a new yoga class, take an art course, or learn a new skill.
Summer – ovulation (days 13 – 18)
Summer is all about fun. The heat of summer makes it great for socialising, and going out, summer in your body is all about pleasure, connection and play. Your body is getting ready for the final push to ovulation so your estrogen levels are at their highest. This means your social skills are great and your skin is usually clear and radiant (nice one, estrogen). A burst of testosterone also boosts your libido, so you’re feeling sensual and confident.
This phase perfect for spending time with friends, family or your partner. Make pleasure and enjoyment apriority, whether that’s eating at your favorite restaurant, having a romantic get-away, or simply hanging out with your best friend.
Autumn – days 19–28
The energetic highs of spring and summer end as you start to wind down for winter and this is a time to cut back on your busy schedule and slow down.
Your estrogen levels have dropped off and progesterone floods in. Progesterone has a calming effect on the body, your mind to slows, your blood sugar levels to stabilise and your energy levels begin to decrease. Your brain is wired for detail-orientated jobs and you’re more likely to want to nest and self-care. Autumn is the perfect time to get your life in order. Use this time to catch up on financial stuff, sort through your wardrobe or get your meal prep for the month planned.
Following your monthly cycle in this way instead of expecting yourself to be the same day in and day out is the secret to living an aligned, empowered life. There’s time for everything, from intense productivity, goal setting, play, adventure, rest, and reflection.