Use your cycle to pick your next TV show or movie

My Hormonology

Use your cycle to pick your next TV show or movie


Tell me if this sounds familiar: You head to Netflix or Hulu or another movie and TV service and are faced with endless rows of options. You’re not sure what you want to watch, so you carefully scan through everything–comedies, documentaries, horror, crime dramas, the whole gamut. The vast array of titles, descriptions, categories and reviews (which invariably are an unhelpfully equal balance of “Hated it!” and “Loved it!”) only seem to make your decision more difficult.

Then, after deliberating longer than you did when choosing your last job interview outfit, you finally pick something. And, about a quarter of the way in, you realize it sucks. Maybe it’s too slow. Or too gory. Or too sappy. Or too silly. Or too indie. Or too weepy. Whatever it is too much of, it’s not matching with what would make you happy now. And, so you’ve got to start looking for something to watch all over again.

Not exactly how you want to spend your precious little free time, right?

Well, for women with monthly cycles, there’s an easy trick to cutting down the time spent looking for the perfect movie or TV show–and upping the chances that you’ll actually enjoy what you watch so much that you’ll be adding one of those “Loved it!” reviews to confound future entertainment choosers:

When picking a movie or TV show, look in the genre that currently matches the mood, energy and interests of the week you’re on in your monthly cycle.

What I mean by this is that when your hormones are revving your mood and energy and making you more easily excited, you’ll know that an action flick about espionage will keep you more entertained than, say, a quaint drama about two elderly ladies set in the English countryside.

And, when your hormones are mellowing you out and making you more serious, you’ll know that a fascinating documentary about a social activist will interest you more than a brainless rom-com.

As a result, you can narrow down your focus and look only in the categories that would likely appeal to you most rather than span the entire catalogue.

I do this every time I’m looking for a movie or TV show to watch while exercising on my treadmill. I recently queued up a Tom Cruise action adventure flick to match my high-energy Week 2. And, I spent my last mellow Week 3 watching a political docudrama.

Want to match up your future movie and TV viewing with your cycle? Below is a summary of what you can expect from your mood, energy and interests for your Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4–and entertainment categories that match them.

Naturally, we all have different tastes, so I may not have covered certain genres you enjoy most. And, you may also find that you prefer a different type of movie or TV show at a certain time in your cycle than I’ve suggested. So, consider this a general guide and feel free to add and amend it to suit your personal preferences. Then, use it to save time and ensure you pick a winner–faster–the next time you’re couch-surfing!


Week 1: Comedies, biographies, adventure, romance, drama, reality
Day 1 (first day of period ) through Day 7

You’ll be more satisfied with movies and TV shows that get you laughing (especially during the first half of your Week 1) or inspire you to pursue a personal, professional or romantic passion (especially during the second half of your Week 1).

Why? Well, first the laughing helps you deal with menstrual cramps, migraine or another painful cycle-related woe. Your brain produces pain-curbing endorphins whenever you chuckle, so you’ll be getting a temporary respite from the discomfort.

Then, there’s the inspiration: Estrogen rises throughout your Week 1, and as it climbs, it boosts your motivation, ambition and desire to reach your goals. Movies and TV shows can help inspire you, for example, by showing strong characters overcoming challenges similar to those you’re facing, featuring breathtaking vistas of faraway lands you dream of visiting, demonstrating how someone who lost love in the past found love again or following competitors as they strive to excel in a field you want to enter.

And, that’s key since motivation to pursue your goals climbs even higher whenever you get inspired on rising estrogen days.

Depending on your personal tastes, this would be the cycle week you would look in the comedies, biographies, adventure, romance, drama and reality categories.

Week 2: Action, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, crime, gore, indies
Day 8 through ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)

You’re enjoying excitement, thrills, surprises and new experiences more during your Week 2 than during any other week of your cycle. And, in fact, you can get easily bored by anything humdrum that doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat or challenge you.

This is a result of high estrogen (and a bump in testosterone at the end of your Week 2). When these hormones climb toward their peaks in this cycle week, they prompt an outpouring of feel-good brain chemicals (like dopamine, adrenaline and endorphins) whenever you’re surprised. They’re also amping up your energy and curiosity, which is why predictable plotlines, slow-moving stories and endless talking without any action can be stultifying.

Depending on your personal tastes, this would be the cycle week you would look in the action, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, gore, crime and indie categories.

Indies are included in your Week 2 because they can often offer surprising twists you wouldn’t ordinarily see in other genres, which would appeal to your enjoyment of the unexpected. However, some indies can be slow and complex (and therefore more suitable for your Week 3), so be sure it’s a fast-paced show by looking at the preview first before committing.

Week 3: Dramas, documentaries, romance, holidays, indies
Starts the day after ovulation and spans 8 days (which is Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)

You have a greater appreciation for movies and TV shows that deliver slower, more nuanced storylines, have beautiful scenery and costumes, share interesting information, focus on relationships between people, spur tears, feel familiar or prompt pleasant memories, for instance, of the holiday season.

This is a result of lower levels of estrogen and rising progesterone–a hormone combination in your Week 3 that makes you more sedate, sentimental, thoughtful and moved by emotion-packed scenes involving love, loss, redemption, achievement and heartbreak.

Rising progesterone also makes you more interested in the strong (and often complex) ties between people during this cycle phase because it makes you more concerned about strengthening your own real-life relationships right now. So, lots of dialogue is A-Okay on these cycle days.

Depending on your personal tastes, this would be a cycle week you would look in the dramas, documentaries, romance, holidays and (slow-paced, relationship-oriented) indies categories.

Week 4: Comedies, dramedies, rom-coms, sit-coms, animation, kids & family
Final 6 days of your cycle

You’re happiest when you’re watching a movie or TV show that makes you laugh, is easy to digest and keeps an upbeat tone throughout. You can’t get too fluffy when it comes to video entertainment during this cycle week. If the reviews say, “silly”, “bawdy” or “juvenile”, go all in.

This is because estrogen plunges throughout your premenstrual Week 4–and as this hormone drops, it can drag down levels of mood-managing brain chemicals with it (such as serotonin), which can push you toward the negative side of your emotional spectrum. As a result, you can be more easily frustrated by complicated storylines that take a Ph.D. to comprehend and endless chit-chat about who knows what (because you’ll have stopped paying attention midway through). And anything that provokes anger or tears is just fuel for pushing you further down the negative emotion premenstrual path.

Instead, movies and TV shows that keep things light and upbeat can help nudge you toward the positive side of your emotional spectrum, which counters any premenstrual mood issues and aches you may be experiencing. That’s because every guffaw prompts a rise in mood-lifting, pain-masking endorphins in the brain. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 not looking too ridiculous now, right?

Depending on your personal tastes, this would be a cycle week you would look in the comedies, dramedies, rom-coms, sit-coms, animation and kids & family categories.

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