Sure, Valentine’s Day is primarily geared toward couples. But, there are so many other kinds of loving relationships you have in your life–family, friends, super-duper best friends–it seems like kind of a cheat to focus exclusively on romantic ones.
So, in keeping with the Valentine’s Day holiday–but, also widening its scope a bit–I’d like to give you a Hormonology Guide that shows you how to use your cycle to forge a closer bond with anyone you love.
How can your monthly cycle (of all things!) help bring you and someone else closer?
It’s because the ups and downs of your hormones affect your mood, energy, chattiness and other factors that can impact activities that help you bond in a relationship–like sharing a laugh or having heartfelt talks.
By syncing bonding activities with the week you’re in in your cycle, you can get reach a deeper level with someone special in your life.
For instance, when you’re in your…..
Week 1: Invite someone to play
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Once the aches and fatigue of menstruation wear off, rising estrogen in your Week 1 is trying its best to rev your mood, energy and outlook. The higher this hormone climbs, the more it inspires you to be outgoing and engage in fun activities, like crafting, singing, building a snowperson or painting a mug at a ceramics store. This makes it a perfect time to invite someone to join in on your adventures to create positive, lasting memories together. Years later, my husband and I still have the mugs we painted for each other at one of those ceramics stores that came out splotchy, kind of wonky and not perfect at all. But, we both still love them–and the memories of the fun we had while making them.
Tip: If you’re not feeling a rise in mood and energy in your Week 1, try taking an iron supplement or eating iron-rich foods, like beans, tofu and enriched cereal, to replenish low iron stores due to menstruation. Low iron is a common culprit behind fatigue and the blues in your period week.
Week 2: Give a big surprise
Day 8 to Day 14 (or the day of ovulation in your cycle)
High estrogen in your Week 2 helps produce a bigger surge of feel-good brain chemicals that make you happy whenever you get surprised–or whenever you give a surprise (a big one!) to someone else. So do an unexpected grand gesture for a loved one, for instance, by getting tickets to a special show, making their favorite meal, assembling a flash mob to serenade them or doing something else you know they’d love. I remember fondly when a girlfriend once surprised me with tickets to see the Nutcracker at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center–and she kept it a complete secret till we actually arrived at the door!
Week 3: Get sentimental
Begins the day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (that’s Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
Rising progesterone in your Week 3 is making you a bit slower as well as more sentimental and reflective. So, invite someone for a mellow one-on-one experience with you that fosters deep conversation, like a walk down memory lane over a quiet dinner or sharing dreams of the future while taking a sunset stroll. When I lived in New York City, one of my favorite stroll-to spots with my husband was a duck pond in Central Park. The quiet, reflective setting made it easy to open up about deeper issues that brought us closer.
Week 4: Enjoy paired pampering
Final 6 days of your cycle
During your premenstrual Week 4, plunging estrogen has you preferring comfort, indulgence and familiarity over excitement and trying anything new. So invite someone special to enjoy a bit of luxurious pampering with you, for instance, paired massage, a delicious meal at a favorite restaurant or simply a day devoted to endless snacks and DVDs. This last idea was something I actually did with a friend during college–a whole day of he and I just watching movies and eating copious amounts of pizza and French fries that bonded us so tightly, we later went on to backpack through Europe together twice.
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