crystalball

Have you ever dreaded going to a party, having to complete extra work or doing someone a big favor during a low-energy phase of your monthly cycle–but you were forced to do it because you committed to it while you were in a high-energy phase of your cycle?

I was just chatting with my friend Jennifer (the brilliant brain behind the Pose a Pet app) via Facebook and she summed up perfectly how she feels when this happens to her:

“You feel like you’ve been put in someone else’s body twice a month and you’re pissed off that that person committed to all this crap. I say ”f*ck you’ all the time to my last-week self! She’s lucky I don’t kill her. If I didn’t need her for sex and good times, I would have gotten rid of her years ago.”

I know what she means. So many times Week 3 Gab HATES Week 2 Gab. That’s because Week 2 Gab has this stupid habit of enthusiastically RSVPing “yes” to social events, agreeing to write someone’s résumé or committing to an extra work assignment that won’t occur or need to be done till Week 3–a time when those are the very last things I’ll want to be doing.

And, I’m sure Jennifer and I aren’t alone.

So, why do we make this scheduling mistake? When we’re in a certain week of our cycle–Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4–we often tend to make plans for the future that fit how we’re feeling during that particular week. It’s natural to assume we’re going to feel the same way later that we do now.

However, during each week of your cycle, your energy, moods, desires, motivation and interests change. Sometimes dramatically. 

So, for example, if you’re in your Week 2–when you’re full of pep, motivation and enthusiasm and you have a huge desire for adventure and romance–and you get the urge to book a whitewater rafting trip for singles, you better make sure you schedule it to happen for that Week 2 or another Week 2. Because if you have to pull yourself out of bed to strap yourself into an uncomfortable raft while trying to look sexy and alluring as you get splashed and sunburned while holding on for dear life during your low-energy, low-adventure, low-libido Week 3, you may just end up wanting to stab a pillow.

To spare you the same frustration and irritation that Jennifer and I repeatedly endure–despite knowing better!–I’d like to recommend that you do this:

Whenever you’re asked to commit to anything that will be happening in the future–whether it’s RSVPing to a party, helping your friend move or going on a singles whitewater rafting expedition–figure out in which week of your cycle this activity will happen. Then, ask yourself if this is something that will match up with what you’ll be feeling and wanting in that cycle week. This way, you can avoid scheduling mishaps.

You can also use this tip to schedule more activities you know you’ll enjoy doing in each week of your cycle–because you’ll know ahead of time what your mood, energy level and interests will be.

To make it super-easy for you to use this scheduling tip, here’s a quick refresher on the types of activities you tend to prefer each week of your cycle:

Week 1: Start off slow, end with fun
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
If your period is painful or fatiguing, you’ll likely want to start off your Week 1 on a slow note with low-key activities you can do at home or that don’t require a whole lot of travel. If your period isn’t a problem, then rising estrogen has you wanting silly kind of fun that lets you channel your inner child, it’s making you more comfortable socializing and it’s raising your energy day by day, so you can pile a bit more on your plate. As your Week 1 goes on, your thoughts will be turning to romance, making you want to spend more time with a current partner, seek out someone new or simply be around cuties who give you fodder for delicious daydreams.

Week 2: High energy and adventure
Day 8 to Day 14 (or day of ovulation in your cycle)
These are the days your inner wild child comes out. High estrogen and testosterone are making you crave new experiences, new people, new tastes and new scenery. They’re also pumping you up with energy and endurance, so you can handle far more work and play than during any other week of your cycle. You’re in the mood for romance, so you’ll want to keep your current squeeze close or head to locales where eligible singles abound. And your urge to chat with others peaks, making you want to spend more time around lots of folks.

Week 3: Low energy and homey comforts
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
In many ways, your Week 3 is a complete opposite of your Week 2: As estrogen dips and progesterone rises, you prefer activities, people, food and locales you know well over anything too different. Your energy and endurance are dropping and the urge to nap is at an all-time high as sedating progesterone climbs throughout this week. Your desire for romance, adventure and to socialize also wane, getting eclipsed by a desire to stay close to home and connect on a more meaningful level with just a few close buds.

Week 4: Pamper and have back-up plans
Final 6 days of your cycle
As estrogen plunges in your premenstrual week, you’re more prone to moodiness, aches and impatience. So, you’ll prefer activities that are easy and pampering. Your energy is on the low end of your pep scale, so you’ll want to be prudent with how much you schedule since you could poop out earlier than you hope. You’re more quickly frustrated by others, so you’re happier when avoiding activities with crowds or face-to-face interactions with lots of strangers. You could get also get more frustrated when plans fall through, so if you’re scheduling an event, say, a movie and dinner with your BFF, have a Plan B ready in case tickets are sold out or there are no tables available at the restaurant you head to.

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[Photo: Garry Knight]