I am super excited to bring to you this week's guest blogger, @drjessmoy_wellness. Jess is a new-to-island Empowerment Mentor, Holistic Leadership Coach, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and MUCH more.
Jess and I met a few months ago as she was preparing to move to Okinawa. After connecting a bit, I knew she was definitely someone that I was aligned with.
Honestly, I really can't find the words to describe her in a few sentences! One of her expertises is scheduling and planning fitness around your monthly cycle - how cool is that?! I know we can all relate to the different emotions and energy levels we feel as women throughout the month.
I'm so excited to bring her guest blog post to you. Enjoy!
Written By Dr. Jessica May, PT, DPT, RYT
I started my whole deep dive into hormonal and menstrual health as a physical therapist primarily focusing on pelvic floor and perinatal care. Despite going to school for the physical aspects of treatment and rehabilitation, we were never really taught much about hormones and their impact on our systems! While I don’t practice physical therapy anymore, I still incorporate coaching for my clients around natural cycles because it really provides an enormous shift in connecting our mind-body power with our daily lives!
If you’re unfamiliar with the hormonal cycles or are on any form of birth control this can still be an extremely beneficial way to plan your time and energy through using the lunar calendar as your monthly clock! Think of higher productivity with less fatigue and burnout in a more balanced way! We are often taught that these aspects of being a woman are a burden, but they can be our greatest power if we use it to our advantage.
Here’s a basic guide on how to start understanding the utility of each phase in the cycle and the best ways we can optimize our energy! I’ve also put the actual hormones here, but don’t worry so much about those. They are individual-specific and often monitored more heavily by a healthcare professional if you’re currently in the journey of pregnancy or have a medical condition.
Follicular Phase or Waxing Moon
Energy levels: Rising
Hormonal shift: Low to increasing estrogen levels
Optimal Activities: Tasks that require a lot of physical and/or mental energy, brainstorming and planning out new projects, collaborating or working in teams
Optimal Exercise: Endurance training, HIIT, a new group class, higher power strength activities
Overall Theme: TAKE ACTION
Ovulation or Full Moon
Energy levels: Peaking
Hormonal shift: Shifting from high estrogen levels to rising progesterone levels
Optimal Activities: This a great time for your most social engagements or ones that require the most outward energy! Playdates, social gatherings, sharing about the project your working on, deeper conversations with your close circle.
Optimal Exercise: HIIT, longer endurance sessions, boxing, group dance classes, partner classes, outdoor activities
Overall Theme: CONNECT
Luteal or Waning Moon
Energy levels: Decreasing
Hormonal shift: Increases in progesterone kick in the slowing down phase
Optimal Activities: Now is the time to start slowing down and nesting. Refining the projects you started, doing house chores or organizing, cleaning out, doing administrative work, spending more alone time
Optimal Exercise: Slower strength-based movements, pilates, yoga, and light cardio
Overall Theme: REFINE
Menstruation or New Moon
Energy levels: Low
Hormonal shift: hormones are at their lowest levels and steadily begin to rise towards the end
Optimal Activities: Resting, reflecting & evaluating the past cycle, your activities, and your energy, planning intentions & goals for the next cycle
Optimal Exercise: Walking, gentle yoga, a nap!
Overall Theme: REFLECT
When I started to live more by these guidelines I was able to have a greater container for being highly productive when I need to be and balancing rest where I can. I do want to reiterate that these are exactly that, just guidelines! Life lives by life’s rules and we can’t always control our schedules or the situations that optimize our energy.
The key here is to just start to notice the movement of your energy. This in itself starts to break the vicious cycle of feeling like we need to be doing and going all the time! There are also ways to supplement yourself with nutrition, extra breaks, and other little hacks that can help you stay energized even during times when you can’t afford to alter your schedule.
For example, one of my clients is a full-time CEO and also a marathon runner. For her, during her new moon phase we make sure that she is supplementing with adequate nutrition or trying to plan her longer runs on different days AND make sure she is taking mini-breathing sessions for 2-5 minutes in between her meetings. Little adjustments like these can add up so she’s not completely burnt out and overwhelmed during this time!