How to Live Happily with Your Hormones
Is it weird that hormones are my favorite topic? Like, I am really passionate about discussing hormones and our periods. Actually, I am so passionate about the topic, that I plan on focusing my health coach practice on just that.
Helping women balance their hormones and lives naturally through lifestyle and nutrition.
Through personal experience, a lot of research, and talking to some amazing professionals in the field, I have seen some awesome shifts in my own life. We absolutely CAN live happily with our hormones instead of fighting against them month after month. It is so empowering!
Hormones can be so incredibly complicated. They control the way we live, think, and feel. And when they are imbalanced, there is no hiding from the physical symptoms that can manifest in our bodies. Think back to a time when you just felt icky. Days (or weeks or months!) where you felt lethargic, forgetful, anxious, and emotional. Just to name a few. A lot of times we cast these symptoms aside as the “norm” of being a female. We say things like, “Oh, I’m just hormonal” or “I have KILLER cramps and I am SO tired. I just hate my period!”
But are these symptoms really normal?
There is no denying that our bodies go through hormonal shifts throughout the month. So it is completely natural to feel changes in the way you think and feel each week. But when these changes are affecting your day to day life in a negative way, your body is trying to get your attention.
Listen to your body’s needs and work with your hormones, as opposed to allowing your hormones to work YOU.
In my opinion, the first step in transitioning to a happier partnership with your hormones is to learn how to listen to your body's unique signals. And it takes some practice! Constant fatigue, anxiety, painful periods, and acne are all signs that your body needs some attention. Start by tracking your monthly symptoms. What times during the day do they occur and are they related to specific weeks in your cycle? Are they manifesting after a specific meal, or a particularly intense work out? Write it all down! Becoming familiar with how nutrition and lifestyle factors are affecting the way you feel is a great place to start.
I use my planner to track days 1-28 of my cycle (day 1 being the first day you start your period). Then, I jot down any emotions or physical symptoms that occur throughout those days. It is super quick and easy! If you don’t have your planner with you at all times, start keeping notes in your phone. Once it becomes a habit, you barely have to think twice about it! I promise.
It is also important to remember that due to the nature of our menstrual cycle, your body is not going to feel at the peak of it’s energy 100% of the time. This is totally normal. And this is where my next piece of advice comes in!
Learning to live with your hormonal changes, instead of against them, is where the magic happens.
This takes a bit of a mindset shift, and was probably one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle for me. As a naturally on-the-go person, not feeling my most energized self, totally cramped my style. Instead of slowing down and thinking about what would nourish my body, I would get frustrated and keep pushing, despite the warning signs.
Instead of getting frustrated and working against your cycle, try thinking about ways you can nourish and support your needs instead. Your hormones don’t have to dictate your plans, but perhaps they can help you make more conscious and loving choices from week to week. This way, you can keep your body’s stress signals low, resulting in a more balanced system.With our hormones naturally fluctuating week by week, why work against your cyclical nature?
So, how can you support your body during each phase of your menstrual cycle? Well, first and foremost, I highly recommend Alisa Vitti’s book “Woman Code” for all your hormonal needs. It is AMAZING. And is basically my hormonal bible ;) I’ll recap some of my favorite takeaways below, but don’t take my word for it, read the book for yourself! You won’t regret it. Her website, Floliving.com, is also a wonderful resource to learn more.
So, let’s talk about the changes that happen throughout our body each week. Remember, we want to work with our hormones, not against them:
Phase 1 (7-10 days): Energy is slowly rising as estrogen increases after day 1 of your period. This is the phase where you might plan your most creative, outgoing, and social activities. Maybe this is the time that you hit the gym hard and pack your schedule with with meetings and dinner dates. Honor that your body’s energy is at it’s peak during this phase. Allow it to move and vibrate at this higher frequency!
Phase 2 (3-4 days): Ovulation. Communication and connection are big during this phase. Your body still has a lot of energy, too, which is great. High impact workouts and a busy schedule might feel good to you. We usually feel sexier in our skin during these days as well, so go crazy and have some fun! Spend lots of time connecting with friends and loved ones.
(Personally, I am sensitive to the rising estrogen during these two phases. This can trigger anxiety in some women, so make sure you listen to your body. We all react differently!)
Phase 3 (10-14 days): Period preppin’ time. Our energy begins to decline as progesterone increases. You might start to develop symptoms of PMS. Listen to what your body is telling you. Do you need to rest? Take a relaxing bath? Drink some magnesium calm?? (My favorite way to relax my body during this phase!) Don’t feel pressured to hit that intense spin class when your body is asking you to relax. Maybe a nice walk outside, or some soothing yoga, feels best instead. If you overdo your activity level (this means work stressors as well!) your body might not respond kindly. It is important to remember that when you learn to accept and honor the changes happening in your body, switching up your lifestyle doesn’t seem like such an inconvenience. It actually feels good to move with your cyclic nature!
Phase 4 (3-7 days): Period Time. You are really in tune with what your life needs during this phase. Some even say you are most intuitive during these final days of your cycle. Tune in to the messages you’re hearing. You can have a lot of intense feelings and emotions during this time, but they can prompt some really necessary changes in your life!
I highlighted this sentence in my book and drew LOTS of stars around it. Clearly, it resonated me ;) Let yourself relax and feel deeply during this phase. Don’t over pack your schedule. You deserve the break and you are NOT crazy or hormonal. You’re just in tune with your emotions!
When you frame your mindset around honoring the incredible changes your female body goes through (I mean, you have the potential to birth a freaking HUMAN if you really want to. How cool is that?!) it helps you accept and honor the weekly hormone fluctuations. Just remember, your hormones shouldn’t be affecting your life in a negative and painful way. And if they are, (like they were for me), it’s time to look beyond the annoying symptoms and listen to the underlying message. Making some of these lifestyle changes should feel good in your body and will help you transition back to a state of balance.
Hormones are complicated. But learning about your cycle, tracking your symptoms, and making some simple lifestyle changes is a great place to start. Of course there are a variety of other factors that go into balancing our hormones, but I found these tips to be a super helpful starting place. Try them out for a month and let me know how you feel! You can also check out this article on mindbodygreen for more information :)
As always, reach out to me if you have questions, or comment below with your thoughts! I would be more than happy to listen to your symptoms and help you create an plan that works for you! This is my favorite topic, remember? ;)