I have spent the last 3 weeks getting up early and doing a quick, not-easy-for-me-but-I’m-sure-you-could-kill-it workout before I start the day. No one in the world would expect me to be up which means I’m completely free from the guilt of someone expecting me to be somewhere or work on something.
It’s like I’m invisible.
I hadn’t had any trouble getting up early and working out. It’s been, dare I say, fun? I liked the energy boost and the nice feeling that came with carving time out of my day to take care of me.
But this morning? This morning I moaned at the idea of jumping up and down while a YouTube fitness personality shouted fitspiration at me.
I knew this feeling well. Just like clockwork I get to this point every month where I just want to hide. I don’t want to be energetic or creative. I just want to curl up with my inner circle (that would be Mark, Otis, and the cats) and pretend there’s an ice storm raging outside.
I have always known this about myself, but I wasn’t very good at figuring out when I was in a ‘valley’ until I was out of the ‘valley.’ Instead I’d berate myself for not being disciplined enough to stay with a workout routine or dread the fact that I just signed up for a weekend full of “girl’s nights” when I’d rather spend the evening like this:
I watched this Tedx Talk about menstrual cycles last year (maybe?):
ETA: Becca from Betty Becca (make her part of your reads) is one of my best friends and most favorite internet finds. After she watched this talk she went and found the speaker’s website, Flo Living, and forwarded me all of the tests to find out how to optimize the sheet out of our femininity. Love to your ovaries, peeps.
She talks about becoming a partner with your body instead of constantly fighting it. She talks about how there are 4 different stages of our ‘cycle.’ That there’s a time where we’re most creative, where we’re the best at communicating, a time where we’re more into details and planning, and a week where we’re most able to receive information from our ‘gut.’ She talks about looking at our bodies as tools to master the world with instead of as projects in need of improvement.
This information (here’s another great post on the subject) sat in the back of my brain for a while until two months ago when I decided to start putting this information on my calendars:
Orange Highlighter means I’m ‘reflective’ and Red Scribbly Line means I’m ‘creative/energetic.’ I had been tracking my cycle in the Period Tracker app for a long time so I used that information to give me a decent idea where these times would fall.
So when I woke up this morning not really ‘feeling it’ I immediately thought, “Am I going into the reflective cycle?”
AND I WAS.
Instead of beating myself up (because talking crap to yourself is never a good idea), I decided that for the next two weeks I’d get up early, but I’d do something a little quieter and more meditative like barre3 or yoga or pilates. Or maybe I’d just do devotionals and pray and journal. Because the goal for the morning invisibility time was to take care of myself, not do things because someone somewhere thinks I should.
Keeping this information about my cycle in my calendar is changing my life. I don’t feel overwhelmed or overbooked all of the time. I feel good about saying no to invitations and random ideas I come up with, or at least putting them aside until my energy levels are at a better place. And when I know I have to be ‘on’ during one of my valleys I respect that I’m withdrawing from the energy bank account and make a point to make deposits in other ways.
Now I’m not suggesting that my approach to this information is ‘right.’ I mean, if you’re a J you’re probably thinking that the point of any discipline is to do it even when you don’t feel like it and that I’m doing it wrong. And the P in me is basically like:
But why not pay attention to what our minds, hearts, and bodies need? Why not go with the energy instead of against it? Why fight a fight that doesn’t need to be fought? And with that fortune cookie wisdom I give you this so we can all remember that we don’t all have the same gifts and approaches to wellness AND THAT’S OK: