UNDERSTANDING YOUR CYCLES
This blog has been a long time coming. There is so much that comes into play when dealing with hormones. Finding balance is not always so easy, and the key takeaway from my journey is that there’s no one program for all. It all starts with getting your hormones tested and learning about our cycles.
This is for MEN + WOMEN, since my boyfriend and I both got tested I’ll be sharing about the entire process. I think it is SO beneficial for men to learn more about the women cycle so they can support and understand.
In this blog you’ll learn about my hormone journey through two main resources, author John Gray of Beyond Mars and Venus and Hormone Health Educator Candace Burch, M.A., the owner of Your Hormone Balance. Both resources have a holistic approach to balancing hormones that I can’t wait to share with you!
MY SUGGESTION…IF YOU’RE A NERD LIKE ME
If you’re a nerd like me, you’re going to want to read his first book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (written in 1992), and then Beyond Mars and Venus (2017) — it is so interesting to read these back to back. You will cringe reading the 1992 novel, it’s so dated but so worth it if you’re interested in learning about how gender roles (and our hormones) have evolved in the last lifetime.
OTHERWISE SKIP TO HERE
Okay, time to take a good ole’ trip to Barnes & Noble’s, or better yet, a library. Open up Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and skip to chapter 10. It’s life-changing. In this chapter, John Gray outlines the phases a woman goes through in the period of her cycle, and how focusing on certain types of activities can help naturally create the hormones you need. This is where we will start.
YOU-TIME, WE-TIME, + ME-TIME
The average menstrual is cycles 28 days, mines 29. John Gray outlines where a women’s at during each phase of her cycles and what will basically make her feel better. Here’s how he breaks it down →
PHASE 1: YOU TIME (5 days after your period)
This phase is the 5 days after your period. So your period ends, and this phase starts. The best thing a woman can do for herself during this time is engage in work bonding, meaning whether outside the home or parenting, focus on goals and being productive.
The reason is, because during this time, you’re expressing male qualities as well as female and producing testosterone, as well as estrogen. YOU TIME naturally produces testosterone, and it has the greatest effect on restoring a woman’s hormonal balance and lowering her stress during these 5 days.
FOR YOUR PARTNER
This is a great time to plan a date. Delayed gratification (or looking forward to something) will be really well received during this phase, and it will lead to more positive feelings.
YOU TIME = Focus on work, you’ll naturally make testosterone which will balance you out as your estrogen is rising
PHASE 2: WE TIME (day 6-10 after your period)
During the next phase, you’re going to want to focus on WE TIME, or pair-bonding activities. Think: going on a date, spending time together. During this phase you’re in Ovulation. By focusing on WE TIME, your oxytocin will increase, which will lower your testosterone if it’s too high! And you’ll have an increase in estrogen as you express your female qualities during the pair bonding. According to John Gray, during ovulation, WE TIME hormones are at their highest. Estrogen naturally peaks (doubles in comparison to other times in cycles) and Oxytocin levels also rise to the highest levels depending on how much support [from your mate] you get. During this phase, the amount of support you get has the most power to balance your hormones, and lower your stress! This is powerful, if you can make your mate aware and ask him to pay attention to these cycles so he can show up for you at the time that it is the most beneficial. This 5 day window is when a partner can make the most profound impact, you are emotional and vulnerable and this window is an opportunity to connect and find balance. I believe that connection during this time can really increase the bond you have with your partner.
FOR YOUR PARTNER
Give your babe a hug, listen and don’t be defensive, provide non-sexual touch, provide acts of kindness, like cooking a meal or surprising her with flowers.
Estrogen is at its highest, raising oxytocin is the goal
PHASE 3: ME TIME (12-14 days before period)
Focus on social-bonding or self-nurturing activities during this time, because they naturally produce progesterone. Whether on your own or with others, this is a time where you are expressing your male and female qualities on your own schedule, with your needs in the forefront. Social-bonding and self-nurturing increase progesterone and in turn, lower estrogen levels if too high. If testosterone has been depleted in earlier phases (YOU TIME??), you’ll need more self-nurturing activities during this phase. Gray says this helps restore testosterone, which will increase your energy and libido.
If estrogen goes too high during WE TIME, because you’re giving more than you’re getting back, then social bonding during this phase can increase your progesterone, just enough to lower your estrogen. You’ll feel more positive, less stressed and more balanced. 🙂
Female body requires more progesterone, than estrogen / very low levels of testosterone are needed to best cope with stress
PHASE 4: (3-5 days of period)
Dr. John Gray calls these 16-18 days also Phase 3, but I like to think of it as a separate phase. Here’s why. During this phase, I feel like we as women are more aware that we may be moody, etc., the obvious reminder of being on our period and the side effects that come with it can make it easier for ourselves and others who are witnessing it that we may be a little more sensitive during this time. I like separating this as its own phase because I feel that during this time it is more natural to receive support both internally and from external sources. Our body knows we need more rest and care and those close to us know it too.
LIVE IN HARMONY
Understanding your own, or your significant others’, hormonal cycles is crucial to living an optimally balanced life. If we could all put more emphasis on the ebb and flows, I believe we would all live happier lives. I look at it this way, if you want to take your children to the beach, you don’t take them on a terribly windy cold day, you make adjustments based on the circumstances in order to have the best experience. If we all could work to be more aware of the weather inside ourselves, both men and women could live in harmony.
Check out Part 2 to learn about my hormone testing experience.