Managing Your Menstrual Cycle for Peak Performance

Did you know that how you take in information and feel about feedback is really dependent upon where you are in your monthly cycle? Think about it. Sometimes you’re open to others ideas and suggestions while other times you feel defensive. It’s because of your hormones.  A better understanding of your hormones will help you manage your life, relationships and develop a deeper understanding about your body.

Most women have a 28 day cycle. Throughout the month, we experience changes in our sensitivity and stress. Our brains respond differently dependent upon where we are in that 28 day cycle due to an increase or decrease in hormones.  Once a young woman hits puberty those hormones kick in and the stressors that she experiences in her life seem to multiply.  She craves more social interaction with other girls and wants to be part of a group. She needs to be liked and socially accepted  and will avoid social rejection at all cost. Trust me, you are not alone. This is a natural occurrence and it happens to all of us.

During the 1st  2 weeks of our cycle we have the highest level of estrogen, which means we want to talk a lot, hang out a lot with our friends and for the most part probably feel pretty good about ourselves. This is because our estrogen is high. The polar opposite will occur the following 2 weeks (gradually getting worse near day 28) because now our estrogen is low. This is the time of the month when we may feel more stressed, have a hard time taking constructive criticism and just in general feel a little more blah and want to be left alone.  Right in the middle of our cycle, so for many of us on day 14, our estrogen peaks. For those of you in school, this is the perfect time to give an oral presentation or write a paper because our communication abilities are at peak due to the estrogen.  Also, our brains are sharper and more focused. You may notice being able to study for longer periods of time right around day 14 as well.

Here comes the switch– at day 25 or 26 you may feel very irritated by your friends, your teachers and you may even pick a fight with one of your siblings or your mom.  So, keep this in mind when hanging out with your friends during the 2nd half of your cycle and possibly stay clear of your little brother or sister then as well. Knowing what’s going on with your hormones will help you better understand these highs and lows. You will even feel more empowered. Next time you feel extremely sensitive to a comment someone has made about you, think about where you are in your cycle and chalk it up to hormones. Why not use the knowledge we have about cycles to our benefit.  This information can also help us with understanding our relationships as well. So, the next time a friend makes a catty remark, think about where she may be in her cycle and give her a break.

So, want to better manage your hormones and stress every 28 days?  Chart your cycle for 2 months straight and note when you feel good about yourself, when you feel most social, accepted and connected to your friends as well as when you feel at peak academic performance. At the same time, chart when you feel the most stress and frustrated, want to cry for no reason, (dare I say  feel “fat”), want to pick a fight and have a hard time with feedback. Use this information to your advantage and you will feel more in control. Not understanding these highs and lows, can make many teen girls feel confused. Don’t let your cycle manage you. You need to understand it, work with it and when possible, use it to your advantage.

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