Pressing the “pause” button before making a choice can make all the difference

My Hormonology

Pressing the “pause” button before making a choice can make all the difference

There are so many benefits to knowing where you are in your monthly cycle.

For instance, you can predict what your mood will be like, how you’ll be interacting with people, what foods you’ll want to eat and how much money you’re apt to spend. And that’s just for starters.

But, one benefit I especially appreciate about knowing where I am in my cycle is anticipating how something I’m about to do/eat/drink will exaggerate hormonal effects or how it be affected by my hormones–then pausing for a moment to determine the right move for me to make based on this hormonal interaction.

For example?

I’ve been hammered with work lately and have been spending many long hours behind my computer. So, this afternoon I decided I would finally use a doughnut gift card someone happily gave me many moons ago and take a well-deserved doughnut break.

As I was perusing the selection, I was going to get my usual go-to: an old-fashioned sour cream doughnut. But, then I paused–and I thought about where I was in my cycle, which is the second half of my Week 1. Which means my estrogen is climbing–and it’s making me happier when trying something new while also making my taste buds more sensitive to flavor. So, I changed my order and opted for the just-released spiced pumpkin doughnut instead.

Then, before I ate it, I paused again–and I reminded myself to slow down because rising estrogen has a habit of making you speed up. And, then I put more emphasis on focusing on the subtleties of the spicy flavors this rising hormone was helping me more easily detect.

And, though it’s difficult to improve upon a fresh doughnut, these little tweaks I made after each pause made my treat break even better.

Shortly after that, I was considering whether to brew myself another cup of tea (I’m back on caffeine–no judgments!). But, then I paused–and I realized rising estrogen was already amping up my energy and that adding more caffeine on top of what I’ve already consumed today would probably make me uncomfortably antsy. So, I decided on plain water instead.

So, how can you use this Hormonology Tip in your own life? 

Before you do an activity or consume something that will impact your energy, mood, health, how much money you’ll spend and other facets of your life, pause–then think about how it will exaggerate the hormonal effects you’re already experiencing or be affected by your hormones so you can determine the right move to make based on this hormonal interaction.

Just a few practical ways you can use this technique:

* In your Week 1….
This week (which starts with the first day of your period) is when estrogen starts out at rock-bottom and slowly rises. And the higher this hormone goes, the more it boosts your mood when you try something new. So, when picking a food, beverage or activity, pause–then consider opting for a different variation of something you already like or trying something completely different.

* In your Week 2….
This week, which starts 8 days from the onset of your period, is when estrogen and testosterone peak. As a result, your energy is at its cycle-long high. If you want to keep up your hormone-fueled momentum or make it more intense, then pause before you eat, drink or do other activities–and consider if what you’re about to do will drain your energy or add to it. For example, to avoid sapping your high energy, don’t turn on the TV, which numerous studies show lulls you into a zombie-like state of total inertia. Want to make your high-hormone pep surge even more? Then listen to up-tempo music, take a brisk walk and/or drink caffeine, which will give a turbo-boost to your hormone-triggered zippiness.

However–and this is a big “however”–if you tend to get anxious, antsy, on-edge or stressed due to high estrogen and testosterone in your Week 2, then it’s wiser for you to pause before eating/drinking/doing activities–then consider if what you’re about to do will contribute to your high-hormone energy overload or rein it in. For instance, drinking caffeine and listening to Megadeth super-loud would obviously exacerbate the jitteriness you’re experiencing from high hormones. A soothing cup of chamomile tea and a little Joan Baez would be more relaxing choices.

* In your Week 3….
In this week of your cycle, which starts right after ovulation, a lull in estrogen and testosterone combined with a rise in sedating progesterone is dragging down your pep and making you foggy. So, pause before consuming things or doing activities that affect your energy–then consider whether what you’re about to do will drag down your energy even more or lift it up. For instance, consuming alcohol, chamomile tea, eating heavy meals or listening to an annoying co-worker drone on in excruciating detail about her life without politely excusing yourself before your eyeballs roll back into your head will most assuredly exacerbate the tiring effects of your hormones. However, sipping zingy peppermint tea, heading outdoors for sunshine and fresh air and switching to a stimulating task will all help revive you.

* In your Week 4….
During this premenstrual week, which is the final 6 days of your cycle, a plunge in estrogen makes you more easily irritated by dragging down your patience and mood. So, pause before making meal choices and choosing activities–then consider if they will worsen your impatience and mood or make them better. For instance, skipping meals and heading to a crowded flea market are sure to amplify plunging estrogen’s negative effects, making you easily ticked off and irritable. By contrast, being sure to eat enough all day and avoiding crowded, noisy, smelly, loud places will help you overcome descending estrogen’s challenges, keeping your mood up.

If you’re new to Hormonology or need a refresher on how your hormones impact you week to week in your cycle so you can figure out what activities, foods and beverages will be impacting you based on where you are in your cycle, check out this quick guide to the female hormone cycle.

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[Photo: JobotDaRobot]

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