Last weekend, I went downtown to the outdoor market to get a new bottle of my favorite vanilla essential oil, which is where I’ve been getting it for the past seven years. But, when the woman handed me a different kind of vanilla–“Yummy Vanilla” instead of my usual “African Vanilla”–because she no longer carried my scent, I should have handed it back.
That’s because I was in my premenstrual week–and that’s a week when not only does plunging estrogen make you more sensitive and overwhelmed by scents (even ones you ordinarily find pleasant), it makes you less likely to enjoy anything new.
But, I was trying to be nice and figured, “How different could it be? I mean, they’re both still vanilla, right?”
I handed over my cash, dabbed on some Yummy Vanilla, then promptly ruined several hours of my premenstrual day by spurring plunging estrogen annoyance and regret that I, naturally, churned over and over in my head in a typical dropping-estrogen way.
That’s because this new scent was not only intensely strong, it was cloyingly sweet. The African Vanilla had been lighter and spicier.
So, not only had I just wasted my money on a scent I clearly was never going to use again, no amount of tissues, hand sanitizer and everything else I could find in my purse could get the oil off my skin. And I was stuck inhaling the offensive, headache-inducing odor till I could finally get home to a sink full of soap and water.
I’m sharing this experience with you because what I should have done in this instance is something I’m recommending you do: Be ready to pivot.
Meaning when the situation suddenly goes from something you had carefully planned to coincide with your cycle (for me it was buying a fragrant oil I’d been using for years, assuring myself no surprises in my premenstrual week) to a situation that is out of sync with your cycle (such as being handed a different fragrance in my premenstrual week), take a moment to pause and assess what is best for you based on the week you’re on in your cycle. Then, pivot–take the action that you know will make your day better.
For me, I could have made my day better with a pivot by handing back the fragrance, then walking away. Based on my hormone profile for that day, I knew there was very little chance I was going to enjoy whatever oil she gave me since it was new. And there was a very high chance I would regret wasting money if it didn’t turn out right.
Pivoting like this can apply to a lot of different types of situations, for example….
Say you chose a certain restaurant in your Week 3 because it serves a favorite Belgian waffle dish that would fulfill your rising progesterone cravings for comfort food–but, then your server says they’re fresh out of waffles. Chances are, if you choose a different dish from the same menu that you’re only mildly interested in simply because you’re already at the restaurant, you’re going to be disappointed.
Day-saving pivot: Think of another eatery that serves something super-delicious that will fulfill your Week 3 cravings, then skedaddle out of the first restaurant and head to the second one. Or head back home and make your own favorite Week 3 recipe. You’ll be infinitely happier and more satisfied in the long run.
Or say in your Week 2 you wanted to fulfill your rising estrogen urge for fun and excitement, so you planned to head with pals to a trampoline park. But, then your friends had to bail at the last minute–and going by yourself isn’t as enjoyable. So, you face a boring day alone at home instead.
Day-saving pivot: Rather than waste a Week 2 day doing nothing worth Instagramming about, use your high estrogen energy to quickly seek out other pals who might be up for an impromptu adventure. Or use your high estrogen openness to new experiences to check out your local events calendar and find an activity that introduces you to something different and exciting while also helping you meet new folks, say, zip lining or kayaking. You’ll prevent the regret that comes from having a Week 2 day pass you by without filling it with some kind of intense fun.
New to Hormonology and not sure what kind of cycle-related pivots can save your day or need a refresher? Here’s a quick summary that outlines what you can expect from your moods, energy and more each week of your cycle. And my free Hormonology Guides go into more detail.
I hope this Hormonology Tip helps you save your next cycle day when the situation changes suddenly and you need to pivot with it!