How Your Cycle Impacts Your Energy
Day one. Your period starts. Your energy is zapped and even the idea of making a cup of tea is too much. But two weeks later, you’re cooking a full Sunday roast and dancing around your kitchen while you do it.
Welcome to the exciting world of hormones. Over the course of the month, your hormones rise and fall with your cycle and they are directly responsible for how lively (or how tired!) you feel.
A balanced lifestyle can help make energy changes less intense and adding a high-quality supplement to support your menstrual health can also be a good idea. But the most important thing is to understand your own cycle. In this post, we’ll tell you what changes to expect at every phase of your cycle.
How Long is a Normal Cycle?
The average cycle lasts about 28 days, but a regular cycle is anywhere between 22-40 days. You count your cycle length starting on the first day your bleeding starts to the day before the next one begins. In your lifetime, you may have as many as 450 cycles so don’t be in the dark about this. Use a period tracking app (or even make a good old-fashioned X on the calendar) so you can track what’s going on.
Do you want to track your cycle? Discover our favourite apps here.
What Changes Can I Expect Throughout My Cycle?
Your hormones change throughout your cycle, and they impact literally everything. They play a big part in how hungry you are, your concentration levels, your body strength, and – you guessed it – how much energy you have. So it's totally normal for all these things to change throughout your cycle as hormones rise and fall.
Why Tracking Your Cycle Can Help
If you know when you’re going to feel like hitting the snooze button vs. going for a run, you can plan your month better by syncing up high-intensity activities with days when you’re full of energy. And, you can also link up low-activity days (cue: Netflix binge) with your low-pep days.
We know you can’t always sync up your activities with your monthly cycle but if you understand what’s going on in your body, you can at least anticipate how hormones might be affecting your energy and plan accordingly. And it may help you to be a little kinder to yourself sometimes too!
Here’s a breakdown of how your energy might change during each stage of your cycle…
The Follicular Phase
This is the phase in the days leading up to your period. There’s a lot going on in your body during this point in your cycle. You might be feeling pretty good. Rising estrogen levels can cause a spike in energy for lots of people, so you might want to ramp up on tasks this week. Focus on things like:
- Finishing stuff you pushed aside or were procrastinating
- Tackle more complex projects at work or school
- Tick as many things off your to-do list as possible
- Exercise. You could really go for it if you wanted!
- Make plans with family and friends
Hey, period! Your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest on day one so you might feel like even making toast is too much of a hassle. It’s cool. This will pass. You’ll probably lack energy. You might get cramps during the first few days of bleeding, and you’re likely to feel tired, achy and generally grumpy. As the days go on, estrogen will rise, and you’ll start to feel sharper and more focused.
This week, focus on:
- Resting when you’re tired
- Eating healthy food when you feel hungry (avoid the temptation to reach for chocolate or salty snacks!)
- Take it easy with exercise. Walk, do easy yoga, stretch
- Opt out of social engagements if you don’t feel up for it
You can know when you’re ovulating if you’re tracking your period with an app. You can also check our cervical mucus for cues (Here’s how) If you’re trying for a baby, now is the time to have sex with your partner, and good news: you’ll probably feel up for it. Your sex drive sometimes increases during this time!
In the days leading up to ovulation, your body gets a hit of luteinizing hormone and estrogen and testosterone peaks during this time. The result? You’ll probably feel more outgoing, social and full of energy.
Now is a good time to:
- Try something new
- Do some higher intensity activity or exercise
- Go out! Party, socialise, host a gathering!
- Have sex
- Tackle a project or have a difficult conversation you were putting off
This is the time between ovulation and your period starting again. It most commonly occurs two weeks before your period starts. If you were trying for a baby, and you were successful, your body will start producing human gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone levels will start to rise. But, if an egg has not been fertilised, progesterone and estrogen levels will start to drop as your body gets ready to shed your uterine lining during your next period.
During this time, you might feel a little deflated. If you’re not pregnant, the rapid decrease in progesterone can leave you feeling a bit like a sloth – physically and mentally.
Here’s what you should focus on during this phase:
- Self-care. Go for a massage or have a bath
- Tackle those easy tasks that don’t require much mental energy (reorganize your closet or do some laundry for example!)
- Don’t feel bad about staying in. A night on a couch might be just what the doctor ordered!
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