I’m going to keep it real sisters, who else is completely burned out especially when it comes to your career? For me my burnout came on quickly in my career as a pharmacy manager, it was such a high-paced, high-demand career that by the time I came home from the day I couldn’t be present with my children. I literally wanted to just curl up in a ball in my bed and pass out from the mental and physical exhaustion I felt. Wondering how I got there and maybe if you can relate? Truly, I saw myself achieving some level of being a doctor at a very young age and made the decision to pursue pharmacy school when I was 17. I powered through school and started my career managing a suuuuper busy pharmacy at 25 and shortly after became pregnant. In my head I had all of these boxes that I needed to check off of my “list,” which went a little something like this; become a Doctor of Pharmacy, get married, buy a house, land a dream job, make a six-figure salary, have babies…Believe me when I tell you that I accomplished all of this at only 25 years old and that I felt, at the moment, on top of the world! I was in that hustle and grind culture and really digging into it.
Being On All The Time
I excelled at my career and saw myself potentially owning the joint; of course, there were definitely some drawbacks like never getting a break, never getting a lunch, always being pulled in a million different directions, basically being “on” at all times and making sure drug interactions didn’t occur and assuring the safety of my patients. In addition, because we moms wear so many hats, I was “on” when I was home too. Talk about stress overload! It wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital with mastitis after having my second babe, that I realized I was not taking care of myself and putting my career above my own health. At that point, I decided enough is enough! From that moment forward I invested my time and energy into reconnecting with my spirituality and building my mindset muscle. I also found the art of functional medicine and this allowed me to recognize my true calling in life! I am here to enlighten, empower, and educate mothers to put themselves first! Sounds great right, but how do we get there? How do we as a society optimize our workflow that takes a women’s cycle into consideration? Let’s have a chat…
The Power of Pain
First and foremost, we need to recognize that women are missing work nine days per year due to period pain on average. That is absolutely insane and I’m here to help change this narrative by educating women on their menstrual cycles and how to totally own them! Okay, ladies, we operate on two internal clocks! We not only have our circadian rhythm that helps us with our sleep cycle, but also our infradian rhythm which is linked up to our menstrual cycle and lasts 28 days. Both are closely tied together where if one is off-kilter, the other will follow suit and vice versa. By only operating in the 24-hour clock (circadian rhythm), aka the male hormonal cycle and our current workforce model, we are completely ignoring our needs during our 28-day clock (infradian rhythm). This, in part, I think is what’s causing burnout, especially amongst women in the workforce landscape and at alarming rates. The rate of burnout in women from their careers has increased by 10% from 32% in 2020 to 42% in 2021! Guess what else is super interesting about this, have you heard about the Great Resignation?
Take a swing at who is resigning at a higher rate? If you said women you are correct, we are exiting quickly at a rate of 17% higher than men, AND women have been more than twice as likely to start their own business than men during the pandemic. My theory is this; we have reached burnout, we are dissatisfied in our career because of this chronic fatigue, but want more out of life and design a life and career that we love around our own schedule! This is where cycle syncing can come into play for those who are still in the workforce and those who have gone out on their own. We are going to start with the basics of female biology:
Typically lasts 7 – 10 days and is immediately after the last day of your period. During this time your hormone levels are low, but start to slowly increase in the upcoming days. Your brain and your ovaries are in communication with one another to allow for estrogen to rise. Estrogen allows for the regeneration of the uterine lining so that an egg can be welcomed later on in the cycle.
Typically lasts 3 – 4 days and where you will have an incredible increase in estrogen followed by a sharp and rapid increase in testosterone. The increase in estrogen is the optimal environment for an egg to rest in the uterus.
Typically lasts 10 – 14 days when progesterone is being released from the follicle where the egg was released. Estrogen continues to increase and the elevated progesterone tells the body to keep the thickened uterine walls in place in case the egg becomes fertilized. If the egg isn’t fertilized then the peak levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that were once there hit their lowest levels. This is when those nasty PMS symptoms can rear their ugly heads, but although they may be identified as “common” we do not have to accept them as “normal.”
Typically lasts 3 – 7 days and this is when progesterone truly drops off. This then causes the shedding of the uterine lining and the start of your period. At the same time, estrogen has peaked and then decreases which allows for your body to prepare for another cycle. Take note of what your period looks like, it is in fact your fifth vital sign. Notice the duration, consistency, and color so that you can work to identify your hormonal health.
Alright, now that we’ve taken our crash course in female biology let’s dig into how on earth this information fits into your workflow. As you can see you’re obviously different week to week and even day today! Hopefully, you can start seeing connections as to why some workweeks you’re totally on point, while others you need more time to regroup. I’m not going to deny the fact that our hormones can play a role in how we feel, think, and interact with others, but that shouldn’t limit our capacities to operate efficiently at work or in our businesses and lose over a week’s worth of work per year! This is where working with your hormones literally comes into play.
Lasts 7 – 10 days and this is a time when planning and creativity are the highest. Your estrogen is beginning to increase over the coming days after your period which enhances your memory and your ability to take on complex tasks. This is when you should be scheduling your most challenging projects or tasks during the month because your ability to problem solve, plan, and strategize is at their optimal level. To incorporate your creative side of this equation; start a new project or call a meeting together to brainstorm new ideas.
Lasts 3 – 4 days and this is when your hormone levels are at their peak. This also means you’re ready to socialize! If you’re looking for a promotion or raise (or both) this is the perfect time to schedule a meeting with your boss and go for it. Your communication skills are on point so go for the gold! If you’re looking to attract new clients, again, do it during this time of the month.
Lasts 10 – 14 days and this is what I like to call the get sh*t done phase! If you have started a project it’s time to wrap it up. Also, begin organizing and concluding reports or marketing material. This is also a time to slow down on the social side of life and turn more inward to prepare for the menstrual phase.
Lasts 3 – 7 days and is the perfect time to reflect on your career and make your next moves. Your brain at this time is communicating between the left and right hemispheres more robustly than any other time of the month. This is what allows you to carefully analyze your projects, tasks, and career or business itself then make decisions to move forward.
Jump Right In
I know what you’re thinking, this is so interesting and great but how do I actually start implementing this? My suggestion is to start with whichever phase sounds the most reasonable to you. From there map out your schedule and how you’re going to accomplish your goals based on the phase that’s chosen. Continue to implement this guidance over the days to come and phases to come. At the end of the month, you can evaluate what did and didn’t work for you and move forward with a plan that is continually customizable. You of course do not have to tell anyone at work why you’re changing things up, but rather you’re doing this for the benefit of productivity you, and the company. If you happen to have a project or task that falls outside of the scope of a particular phase you’re in then the following day allows for your body to rest and plan to do a more lax schedule where you aren’t falling back into the hustle and grind culture.
Make Time For You
When we begin to incorporate and honor our 28-day clock, it is then we are able to lead with our feminine energy. We are wired completely different from men, and that is a good thing we need to have that balance! In the literature, it has been proven that when it comes to leadership female traits; empathy, flexibility, intuition, and collaboration are valued more so than aggression and control which are more male dominant traits. Imagine how different our world would look if we pledged to hold our cycle sacred and operate around our rhythmic cycle.