How women can stay on top of things, every day of the monthAnnelise Piers
I know you’ve heard this phrase used tongue-in-cheek, more so now with so many of us girls coming out into the world of business. It’s not a man’s world anymore and we ‘sisters are doing it for ourselves’.
As an over-enthusiastic owner of three businesses, I’ve made it my life’s mission to empower women like me to follow their heart and get their minds and bodies to support them on what can be a magic carpet ride. For many I know it’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs or a crazy spin on a witch’s broom some times of the month. Been there, done that, and figured out a way to tame the dragon – so to speak.
In 2010, things came to a head, where I felt like an act in the circus: walking a tightrope one day, taming lions the next, even being the clown playing to the crowd. On one hand was all the juggling and balancing I had to do as business owner, wife, mother, daughter, friend and, on the other, the tantrums my body was throwing – the monthly blues, and all that comes with it. Several visits to my gynaecologist left me hearing the same refrain play over and over again in my head: it’s normal; it’s something that you have to live with.
With my second business just starting up and wanting to impress my male business partner with my superwoman qualities, I didn’t have the privilege to sit home ‘those times of the month’ or snap at him and blame my hormones. I had to get out there and ‘be a man’!
Three years down, I’m pleased with the results of hours of research using my body as lab. What’s even better is that I get to share my recipes so you can mix your own special potion of good health every day of the month.
My cheat sheet looks at each phase of our cycle and helps you ride the waves of your hormonal peaks and lows.
- Somebody stop me … or die trying!
As estrogen rises in the first week, leverage that increased alertness and need for speed. Launch a new project, bring out the troupe and brainstorm.
If you’ve been wanting to get into those college jeans, now’s the time to start to exercise or up your existing routine. Moreover, your appetite naturally decreases, saving you time when you’re not constantly rummaging in the snack drawer. Oh, and now’s a good time to block your calendar for those networking events you otherwise dread; you’re oozing charm and social graces like you’re a natural. Well, blame it on the hormones.
- Feel every inch the woman you are
Week Two finds estrogen and testosterone peak, giving you a heady mix of romance and daring. With things spicing up a bit, you stay mentally sharp and confident, putting you in the mood for a good workout. Take care of your knees this time of the month. I can’t seem to find a reason to include this tip in the whole ‘entrepreneur’ theme I have going on here, but I just want you to be safe.
It’s said that we have higher pain thresholds this time of the month; make sure you let the ‘PMS offenders’ know you’re cutting them some slack and that their errant behaviour will be met with not-so-much magnanimity Week Three or Four. Of course, with practice and careful listening in, PMS will soon be something you look back on and laugh.
- You can stop to smell the roses – even as you rush through your day
As progesterone rises, your body automatically craves more than just chocolate; it wants to reach for the snooze button, steal away from the madding crowd, clear the fog.
Week Three would ideally require one to slow down, go inside, re-evaluate, and indulge in self-care. If you’re where I’ve been, managing with a meagre ration of 24 hours a day, then I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, right! Not tonight, daling!”
Through trial and discovery I found you can carve out at least an hour for yourself a day: cozying up in bed with yourself an extra 15 minutes, pretending to be asleep so the dog doesn’t demand his walk, making drive time your time – no calls, no Facebook, maybe even take a taxi this week so you can take your eyes off the road. Another of my favourites while racing against the clock was to make loo-time mine – read something uplifting, listen to some soothing music, even journal. And if nothing else works, take a walk!
And the best way to beat those PMS-like feelings is to eat 4-5 smaller, planned meals that include complex carbohydrates. Add sweet, bitter and astringent foods like bananas, pomegranate, carrots, beetroot, spinach, cauliflower, lentils and turmeric. Avoid sour, salty or pungent foods like chilli peppers, onions, ginger, garlic, limes and nuts.
- And then the new moon rises
The best part about the previous week and most of Week Four is that your body burns 30 percent more fat. This juicy bit of info has been buried beneath the myth of the PMS curse.
So as you go with the flow in Week Four, focus on a slight change in diet to sweet, sour and salty foods while avoiding the bitter, astringent and pungent. So swap the spinach, lentils, and cauliflower for potatoes, carrots, beetroot and add that lime and handful of nuts.
Though most men see us all as being one type of confusing, we are, in fact, each so uniquely made. So take the above advice and make it your own. You’ll find your own perfect balance as you listen to your body over the cacophony outside. I’d love for you to feel like you can take on the world and feel like it is all in a day’s work.