Take a nap, journal, relax, and do things for yourself. Is this a vacation? You might be best to treat it like one! But I’m talking about managing your energy during the menstrual phase.
Right before menstruation, your hormone levels drop, signaling that it’s time for your period to start. The sudden drop can account for many of the PMS symptoms that women get right before their period, including anxiety, inability to sleep, and moodiness. Many women feel this drop in hormones as a low energy level. And I think it’s time we start respecting that! If you’ve been training hard for the majority of your cycle, taking a few days off during the menstrual cycle is going to give you the rest you need to be able to go back to training even harder once your energy returns.
If your energy is low, listen to your body. The menstrual phase is a great time to go for a walk, do gentle yoga, or spend the time you’d typically exercise to sleep in or take a nap. Listen to your body and don’t try to push it beyond your energy levels. Knowing that this is the time to give yourself the rest you need helps to keep you pushing the rest of the month. Many people deal with overtraining, but by taking a few days each cycle to take it easy, you’re going to be less likely to become overtrained. You also give your muscles time to repair and grow stronger. It may feel like you’re lazy or not pushing hard enough, but if you can prevent an injury in the future, taking a few days off will keep you training harder!
Simple and soothing foods are going to be best during the menstrual phase. Alisa Vitti in ‘In the Flo’ suggests eating soups and stews. She mentions that they help warm the body up. Your body temperature drops at menstruation, so warming foods will help offset the temperature change. I also think it’s an excellent way to nourish your body with some extra vegetables. Since your estrogen is low, you want to avoid foods that help metabolize estrogen, so no fermented foods, and avoid starchy vegetables! Going keto during the menstrual phase can help you maintain your energy. And if you were eating the way I suggest during the luteal phase, it should be a quick transition. But please, no dirty keto! We don’t want to be eating greasy, sodium-filled foods. High quality, grass-fed meat, and oils like coconuts, avocados, and nuts will keep your body feeling great during menstruation.
During menstruation, your hormone levels allow the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate the best they do all month. The left, analytical side, and the right, intuitive side can work together. The menstrual phase is the best time for reflection about your life and figuring out how to move forward. You will be best able to assess where you are, and the results of what you’ve done so far. Try to determine what is and isn’t working for you. You may find that you’re best able to make big decisions, too. This ability to analyze comes along with the introspective feeling many women get during menstruation. It’s easier to look inward and not feel as social as other times of the month.
Our lives are so busy all of the time. By taking a break when your body most needs one, you’ll be able to maintain your energy for the rest of the month. If you use other weeks to get a lot done while you have energy, you can allow yourself to relax guilt-free during menstruation. Taking 3 or 4 days off of your regular, busy routine could be just what you need to reset and feel your best.