Happy Leap Day! Here’s how to use your cycle to get more out of your bonus day!

Happy Leap Day! Here’s how to use your cycle to get more out of your bonus day!

As you’ve probably heard by now, it’s Leap Day–a “bonus” day that comes around once every four years to help synchronize the day/month calendar.

Now, we Hormonology gals know all about synchronization. We do it every day with our own monthly hormone cycles!

So, Leap Day seems like an especially apt holiday for us to celebrate. And, I propose celebrating it by planning a special fun activity for today and syncing up what you do with the week you’re on in your cycle. It just makes sense–after all, during each week of your cycle, you enjoy certain activities more based on how your hormones are impacting your mood, energy, desire to socialize, food cravings and more.

To help you get the most out of your Leap Day, here’s a Hormonology Guide that offers a quick run-down of the kinds of fun activities you’re more likely to prefer depending on which week you’re on in your cycle:

Week 1: Gather your buddies
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7

On the first or second day of your period you may feel like holing up at home with a good book, in front of the TV, surfing the web or playing video games if you get cramps, migraines and/or debilitating fatigue due to menstruation.

However, if you’re not bothered by menstrual woes or you’re past them, you’ll find that your desire to socialize, chat and connect with others rises along with your rising estrogen in this cycle week. This makes it a great day to reach out to friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors–anyone who you enjoy being around or want to forge a closer bond with. You’ll also enjoy meeting new folks by joining clubs, signing up for classes, attending networking events or simply heading to places where lots of people congregate, like coffee shops and night clubs.

As estrogen continues to climb in your Week 1, it puts you in a more playful, fun-loving mood, which makes you up for doing practically anything that’s a little silly, such as playing miniature golf or entering a video lip-syncing contest.

You’re also in the mood to spend, spend, spend as estrogen levels rise. So, depending on your energy level, you’d enjoy going to stores, bazaars, flea markets and other places you can splash out some cash. And, with special Leap Day sales going on all day, you could end up getting more for your money!

Week 2: Make it worth bragging about
Day 8 to Day 14 (or your ovulation day)

Seriously, if you don’t schedule an activity that makes everyone around you say, “Holy cow, you did what???” during your Week 2, then I’m totally not doing my job here. On these days, high estrogen and testosterone ratchet up your mood, confidence, energy, derring-do and optimism to cycle-long highs. This makes it the best week of your cycle to do something that requires a ton of guts, like rock climbing or riding the biggest, scariest rollercoaster you can find.

Not into scary stuff? No prob! Then harness these high hormones to do something that’s sure to totally impress folks, like building a tool shed or welding an awesome sculpture.
These peaking hormones also have you feeling social, so you’ll enjoy spending time with lots of folks and chatting up a storm.

Like Week 1, you’re still in the mood to spend like there’s no tomorrow–or at least no bill that’s due tomorrow. So, shopping sprees with pals seems like an obvious choice.

Week 3: Slow your roll
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)

As estrogen dips and progesterone rises, things have a tendency to change a bit for you: You’re quieter, subdued, more reflective, sentimental, less energetic and are more likely to prefer activities you can do alone or with one or two people you feel close to as opposed to a crowd of folks you may not know well. Your desire to spend is replaced by a desire to save. And you’ve got the progesterone-fueled munchies–big-time.

So, what kind of fun activities would you enjoy most this week? Ones that are more sedate and introspective, for instance, scrapbooking, knitting, reading or putting more time into practicing your guitar. When looking for activities to do out in the world, you’ll likely prefer lectures, visits to the museum, long walks and coffee with someone who you feel connected to on a deep level.

Progesterone is triggering a desire for sweet, fatty and carb-rich comfort foods because it wants you to eat for two in case you got pregnant during ovulation at the end of your Week 2. (Your body doesn’t get the memo that you’re not preggers till your premenstrual Week 4 starts.) This means you’d probably either enjoy visiting your favorite bakeries and restaurants or heading to the kitchen and whipping up much-loved recipes. And, because progesterone is bringing out your nurturing side, chances are, you’d also enjoy whipping up treats for friends and family while you’ve got the baking supplies out.

Week 4: Make it special
Final 6 days of your cycle

As estrogen nosedives in this premenstrual week, it has the potential to drag down your mood, energy and patience, plus it’s prompting a bit of clumsiness and making aches more achy and pains more painful. Not exactly a recipe for going rock climbing, which requires a lot more coordination and pep than you’re mustering right now, or to a crowded concert where for sure some drunk dude is gonna step on your feet and do that annoying high-pitched finger-mouth whistle thing in your ear all night and make you fantasize about drowning him in his 11th beer.

So, what kinds of activities will you enjoy more in your premenstrual week? The kind that are special because they’re pampering or because you only do them once in awhile. For instance? Maybe it’s taking a long, warm bath with a luxurious bath bomb, getting a massage, binge-watching your favorite TV show, shopping at a cute little boutique that’s kinda pricey but has really neat stuff or ordering a meal from a favorite restaurant you don’t get to often.

If you find it difficult to treat yourself, then consider this: Indulgences like these help counter premenstrual negativity and discomfort by triggering a flood of feel-good, pain-masking brain chemicals that make your Week 4 so much better. So, it’s downright medicinal!

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[Photo: Bob B. Brown]


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