It’s been six weeks since my spine surgery so I’ve been getting more and more mobile. Which means I can now totter into the kitchen and make my own tea and cinnamon toast. Which also means I can now see all the junk mail, magazines, old cartons of food and other stuff that’s been piling up in my absence.
See, I’m the type of person who likes clear spaces. I’ll donate/give away/throw away/upcycle anything that’s not useful or serving a purpose. That’s because to me clutter is as evil as trans fat and taxes. My husband, as wonderful as he is, is not as burdened by the sight of piles and messes. In fact, he seems to thrive in them, encouraging them to spring up around the house like a blossoming mushroom field. One I’m forced to constantly rip out and torch.
Naturally, this means that once my back is fully healed, I’ve got quite the spring cleaning project ahead of me.
Luckily, I know by now that it’s smartest to plan my spring cleaning around my monthly cycle. And, not just because I’m the Hormonology lady and, therefore, I have to do everything around my cycle. But because it just makes sense. That’s because there are certain weeks in your cycle when you have more energy and when you find it easier to part with items. And then there are other weeks when you might prefer to do more of the detail-work, like scrubbing, spraying and sudsing.
If you anticipate doing a spring cleaning soon, here’s how you can use your cycle to make it a bit easier:
Week 1: Plan your attack
Day 1 (first day of your period) to Day 7
When you first get your period, you might not have a lot of get-up-and-go as low estrogen combined with menstrual cramps and/or period-related fatigue drag down your pep. But, estrogen is still technically climbing on these days, which can start to stir your motivation to clean. So, I recommend using these cycle days to plan your attack: Figure out which areas you want to tackle and what you want to accomplish so you’ll have clear goals to work toward rather than starting in one area, then getting led away to another area, then getting distracted by yet another area without getting any areas completely de-cluttered or scrubbed.
Week 1 is also a good time to assemble all the tools you’ll need, such as cleaning products and trash bags. That’s because as estrogen rises, it gives you the urge to get out of the house and into the world–which makes even picking up a mop and sponge at your neighborhood store a good enough reason to make a break for it.
Week 2: Dig deep and throw long
Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
In this week of your cycle, estrogen is high-and-rising, which is bringing your mental and physical energy to their cycle-long peaks. This makes it an ideal time to do the heavy lifting and clear out junk and clutter since you have the strength and stamina to sort through piles, cabinets, drawers and closets and the mental oomph to make the many decisions needed about what to keep and how best to dispose of the rest.
Another benefit of high-and-rising estrogen in this week of your cycle is that it’s making you less sentimental than you are during your Week 3 and Week 4. As a result, it’s easier to part with items that you have some kind of emotional connection to, but that you don’t need or use, like a broken teapot your sister gave you when you moved into your new apartment but that stopped whistling after its first use. And you’re less likely to try to convince yourself that you can get more use out of a long-neglected item if only you fix it/paint it/de-rust it/find the manual/change your entire lifestyle to accommodate its use.
Week 3: Suds it up
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days
As estrogen falls and progesterone rises, your energy wanes, but your desire to beautify your living space increases. That’s a side effect of progesterone, which prompts the urge to “feather your nest” in case you got pregnant during ovulation and now need to a germ-free, tidy home for two. This makes it a perfect week to grab the cleaning supplies (such as your sponge, mop and vacuum) and tackle all the dust and grime till you get the kind of perfect shine that makes you sit back and believe that a perfect world just might be possible–at least for a split-second.
Week 4: Wrap it up
Final 6 days of your cycle
During this premenstrual week, plunging estrogen tends to sap your patience and make you more easily irritated by little things that seemed to roll of your back–or were at least easier to deal with–in earlier weeks of your cycle. This makes it an ideal time to avoid complicated organizing projects and big messes and instead take care of small, easy details that help you finish up a spring cleaning project and give you a sense of accomplishment or inspiration, for example, taking all the items you want to donate to the local church or thrift store or giving a bag of clothes to a friend who can use them. This way, you make progress while also helping to keep a negative premenstrual mood at bay.
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FEATURED CYCLE TOOL:
Whether you’re tracking your monthly cycle to figure out which week you’re in or you’re trying to get pregnant, determining when you ovulate is easy when using an oral basal thermometer, like the Easy@Home Digital Oral Basal Thermometer.
To use it, you simply take your temperature when you wake up, but before you get out of bed, throughout your cycle. When you see your temperature rise slightly–about one half to one degree–between the first half of your cycle and the second half, it indicates you’re ovulating. That’s due to a rise in progesterone that pushes up your temperature slightly. Find it in drugstores and at Amazon.com.
[Photo credit: Monica Hoinkis]
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