crystalball

If there was just one cycle-planning rule I wanted you to remember and live by it’s this: Don’t plan for the cycle week you’re in. Plan for the cycle week you’ll be in.

Meaning this: If you have to decide whether to attend a social activity or event–for instance, to accept an invitation to a party or to go white water rafting–or a friend asks you for a favor–such as helping her move to a new apartment–don’t make your decision on whether or not to do it based on how you currently feel. Instead, think about where you’ll be in your monthly cycle on the date of the activity–and how your hormones will be making you feel–and base your decision on that.

That’s because your mood, energy, extroversion, introversion, desire for romance, appreciation of excitement, preference for safety and joy of comfort all fluctuate based on which week you’re on in your cycle–your Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 or Week 4.

So, if you’re given an invitation to a late-night party while you’re in your Week 3, you might not feel like attending then because high progesterone is sapping your energy and desire for big crowds. As a result, you might turn it down. But, if the party falls during your Week 2–when high estrogen revs your pep and makes you enjoy socializing–you’d probably regret missing out on a great night of fun.

Or, if a friend asks you to help her move to a new apartment while you’re in your Week 2, you might quickly agree because high estrogen is infusing you with lots of energy and optimism, making a big move seem totally doable. But, if the date she wants to move happens to fall during your Week 3, high progesterone–a sedating hormone–will be draining your energy and slowing you down. In which case, you might want to ask her to reconsider the moving date if she wants your help or recruit additional moving assistants and not rely solely on you so you don’t totally poop out.

We all wish we had a crystal ball to see into the future. And, you do! It’s your hormone cycle. So, use it to make all your future planning better.

In fact, you can also use this tip to schedule more of your own activities that you know you’ll enjoy doing in each week of your cycle–such as events, hobbies and projects–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 cycle-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: ADiamondFellFromThesSky]

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