Which week of your cycle are you on?
First day of period to Day 7
Today’s hormone-cast: While the standard thought about a woman’s period week is that she’s moody and irritable, truth is, rising hormones are actually making you feel happier and more optimistic. They’re like an instant cure for PMS, which makes sense since dipping hormone levels cause sour moods while rising hormones trigger good feelings. So, why do you sometimes feel cranky during the first week of your period? Most of it comes down to pain and discomfort. Luckily, you can nip that in the bud—for instance, by taking ibuprofen (like Advil), which works better than acetaminophen (Tylenol) at nixing the pain of cramps, switching to a more comfortable menstrual product option (have you tried the Instead Softcup?) and wearing more comfortable clothes and shoes (low estrogen may be making you a tad more sensitive to pinching attire). Once the pain is gone, I’m gonna bet you’ll feel brighter instantly.
Day 8 to Day 13
Today’s hormone-cast: Have a project that’s been stalled—for instance, launching a new business or blog, jump-starting a job hunt, looking for love or learning to play the guitar? This is the one week of your cycle that you get an added oomph to make it happen thanks to high estrogen and testosterone, which amp up your energy, brain skills and optimism. If you wait till Week 3 to get to these important projects, falling hormones may make flagging feelings re-emerge and dampen your spirit. So grab the high-hormone energy of this week while you can and take that first step toward attaining your goal!
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Today’s hormone-cast: Don’t blame your diet for extra inches around your tummy today. It could be due to water retention and constipation triggered by rising progesterone. To fit back into your skinny jeans, you can battle the bulge two ways: Take in more bloat-fighting foods—like asparagus, cucumbers and dandelion tea—and avoid fluid-retaining table salt at all costs (switch to 100% sea salt, which doesn’t cause bloat like table salt does); and thwart constipation by increasing your intake of fiber (from fruits, veggies and grains) or use the constipation cure I swear by: extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle it over bread, salads, fish, whatever. This heart-healthy topping stimulates digestion (which progesterone slows down) and lubricates your digestive tract. But, stick to the extra virgin version: cheaper kinds contain potentially harmful chemicals.
Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormone-cast: Your premenstrual week. It sounds like such a bummer, right? The see-sawy emotions. The crankiness. The short fuse. Well, truth is, new research reveals many surprising benefits of being in a bad mood: Compared to your bubblier peers, you’re better at making decisions, spotting details and assessing others, your memory is sharper and you’re less gullible. Unfortunately, realizing all the great bonuses that come with feeling foul might just make you a bit cheerier, thereby, cancelling them all out!