Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, we talk to naturopathic doctor Cassandra Wilder about women's cyclical health and how our menstrual cycle has a big impact on our work and productivity.
We discuss the phases of the menstrual cycle and how they affect our business, why it's important to track your cycle, and how to avoid burnout during your period.
Many of us know the four stages of the menstrual cycle... or at least we think we do. Wilder said that "the vast majority of us got very, very limited insights into our bodies, if any, and to start to understand how your body works is the first step to having a connection to it and feeling empowered by it."
Wilder gave us the knowledge we all need to know in order to better understand our menstrual cycle. As what she said, this is "what we should have been taught in middle school or high school."
"So, when we think of your cycle, we tend to just think of our menstrual cycle, but there's actually four distinct patterns that we move through throughout the month," said Wilder. "And each of them have their own wisdom, their own experiences, and our bodies are doing really different things throughout the month. For example, with your menstrual cycle, that's always considered day one and if we're not tracking it regularly enough, like we're not putting it in an app on our phone or something, we may have no idea when that is."
The biggest takeaway suggested by Wilder is to always track your cycle.
"[When] you experience your menstrual cycle, it tends to be a time where for us as women, we tend to feel very introverted," said Wilder. "Naturally, everything in our body is pulling within, which is why what do most of us want to do on our periods? We want to hunker down, wrap us in a big blanket, sit on the couch, sip some tea. We feel this desire to be really still and that's completely normal."
"You feel like you're coming out of the menstrual cave," added Wilder. "Finally, you have more energy, you're starting to feel more social, a great time to start to tap into productivity."
"By the time you ovulate, this is where most of us feel like we're on top of the world, where we are fertile," said Wilder. "We are in this prime position to create and to build something."
"This [is the] dipping down phase," Wilder said. "This is a time when we feel that desire to start to slow down once again. We feel that desire to be kind to ourselves, to do things that are a little lower impact and that sets us up perfectly for our next menstrual cycle."
The Spark Show host Gwen Lane emphasized the importance of knowing these stages in our menstrual cycle to help ourselves as entrepreneurs.
"It makes perfect sense to me as an entrepreneur to know exactly when these prime stages are because that's exactly when I would choose to plan out launches or anything that requires that creative energy," said Lane.
"Once you understand how your own body, your own cycle, fluctuates throughout the month, now we have the blueprint to start to plug in our business," said Wilder. "This is when we can then use our optimized or most productive times to do the tasks that require the most energy. So, there's going to be times of the month where you could rock out 20 podcast interviews, you could do a launch, maybe you could even go do some really big exercise program or something like that. And, there's going to be other times of the month when literally the most productive thing you can do is rest."
"Remember, [this] was that feeling of spring, that time when we were coming out of our menstrual time," said Wilder. "As a business owner, this is known as your initiate and build phase. So, this is the time of the month where we start to set monthly plans, where we get really clear on what it is we want to accomplish that month. Shout out to all my fellow friends that are all about planners and to-do lists and goal setting and having all the sticky notes everywhere, this is your time of the month to really shine because this is when we lay the foundations for everything we want to do."
"By the time we hit that ovulation time again, that peak time of productivity, this is our time to go all in, so this is when you can work a 12-hour day," Wilder said. "This is when you can do a launch, where you can host a mastermind or a summit, interview people, this is that prime time to harness all of that sociability and energy. So, this is known as the create phase... and, where we're really going to feel enlivened by putting in a lot of work."
"This is where those hormones drop abruptly," said Wilder. "This is known as our complete and finish phase. So, any of those lingering tasks that we've had over the last few weeks, this is when we start to close them up or we start to move away from the more really social activities and start to come into maybe more of the back end of our business. So, completing those courses that we're working on, finishing emails, writing blogs, things that are less energetic and a little more nourishing to this pulling in kind of sensation."
"This is rest and reflect," said Wilder. "I know a lot of entrepreneurs are under the belief that we must always be putting in effort, that our productivity is directly equal to our worth. And, as someone that has struggled with that my entire life, I understand it, but there really are times when we must stop, we must slow down, receive and just be open to taking care of ourselves, refilling our own cups."
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