How To Make Your Monthly Cycle Your Greatest Creative Asset

I just finished reading a book that changed my life. When I soaked up the last chapter, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I needed to pass my new found knowledge onto as many women as possible. The book is called The Woman Code and it opened my eyes to the key to women’s success in life and creativity.  Author, Alissa Vitti, a woman’s Menstrual Health Expert has developed the blueprint of ‘cycle syncing’ and is sharing it with the world.

 According to Vitti, women have a second biological clock, and it’s equally as valuable as the 24-hour clock. “The 28-day clock can be measured; it’s predictable; and it demands the same respect, attention, and priority as the 24-hour clock,” says Vitti. Building your life around this clock can help you accomplish goals more effectively and provide clarity about what brings you joy.

Period talk was once considered a bit taboo for mainstream conversations. Perhaps it was something you’d only gripe about with your girlfriends. Looks like times are finally changing, though. Big players like Forbes and Financial Times have published articles on this topic. In addition, multiple apps like Flo and Clue have now been created to help women plan their best lives around their cycles.

Vitti’s guide helps women to prioritize the tasks that come most easily to them during each particular phase of their cycle. This can be applied to many facets of a woman’s life, like work, socializing, and exercise, but I was particularly interested in how it would affect the creative process.

Do you ever find some days you have multiple rushes of creativity, and other times you sit down to work, and it’s completely stagnant? Sometimes your communication flows with minimal effort, and the next time, you’re tongue tied and feeling stuck in your head? As women, we can be tough on ourselves when we don’t feel that natural surge of productivity in creative pursuits. Turns out, we may just be following the wrong manual for our bodies. In the professional world, we’ve been given the men’s guide book to work management and scheduling, when our anatomy calls for an entirely different approach.

When applied to the creative process, this concept can help women dramatically improve their strengths and handle work load efficiently. Hormonal phases serve as your guide as to which area you should be focusing on at a particular time. This compass is a practical way to plan ahead and cover all your creative bases each month. It also serves as a reminder to take a load off and chill during more reflective times.

Follicular Phase: Ambitious Energy (7-10 days long)

Your body is in its highest level of energy at this time. The menstruation phase is complete and, and your estrogen and testosterone steadily increase. You’re more extroverted and have a higher pain threshold. You’re feeling strong and ready for anything. It’s a great time to embrace that natural energy and create a plan of attack for your most ambitious projects. Your creative vision will be the most assertive and energetic.

Some Areas to take action on your creative life during this time

-Initiate new creative projects. High energy output allows you to mastermind and envision how goals will materialize

-Brainstorm all your creative ideas on paper, a white board, or a pinterest board

-Dream big. Plan the month ahead but also look at the big picture. Look at the long term with projects in months or even years from now

-Your energy levels will allow for creative sprints and marathon sessions without exhausting you

Ovulatory Phase: Talk the Talk (3-4 days long)

Estrogen and testosterone peak around this time, which biologically speaking, causes a woman to be more open to mating. You’re in full blossom and feeling more expressive than any other time of the month. This is a great opportunity to network and self promote. It’s also an ideal time to have any difficult conversations you’ve been putting off. Say, like, asking for a raise, or letting clients know you’ll be increasing rates. Creatively, look for the symbolism and its deeper meaning in your work.

Areas To Focus On Right Now

– Be conscious of what you’re trying to express and inspire in others during this time of heightened  verbal skills

– A great time for important meetings like pitching ideas to investors or publications, negotiating anything financial, and connecting with potential customers

-Networking and self promotion, whether that’s social media posts, attending virtual events, or joining a Women In The Arts Meet Up group

-Acknowledging and celebrating your wins, no matter how big or small

Luteal Phase : It’s All In The Details (10-14 days long)

Your estrogen and progesterone will now begin to dip. In the later part of this phase, you’ll feel most sensitive, emotionally and physically at this time. You’re also the most detail-oriented and can pick up on things that you may have missed about your work at other times of the month. This task-focused mentality will help you create a flawless product. Wrapping up projects and administrative duties like monthly expenses, paying bills, and business upkeep will be your focus. In your creative work, search for the small things that mean the most to you.

Turn Inward And Focus On These Things

-This is the power phase of picking up on details. Use that to fine tune projects and go through your work with a fine tooth comb.

-Gut instinct and intuition can serve more strongly than at any other part of the cycle. Use this as a guide in your decision making.

-Lighten your workload a bit. Don’t be hard on yourself or push your creative source to exhaustion.

-This is a more reactive time. If you can, ease up on meetings so you can really focus on wrapping up projects

Menstruation Phase – Reflective R&R  (3-7 days long)

Your uterine lining is shedding now. Take it easy and reflect on your creative direction in the past month or so. It’s also a good time to examine your techniques and troubleshoot any areas that could be stronger. How are your projects going? How is your performance? What are some changes you’d like to implement to feel more satisfaction in your craft? Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, has a ritual she teaches called an ‘artist’s date.’ This is solitary time set aside for nurturing the inner artist. You can take yourself to a museum or to a movie you’ve been dying to see. During this time, do whatever treats and inspires your creative soul.

Take some time to chill out and make corrections if necessary:

-Rest and reflect with a lavender bath or restorative yoga. Take a break from socializing.

– Take yourself on a few artist’s dates. During Covid time, that could be a movie and popcorn at home, a virtual tour of a gallery, or even a nature walk.

-Course correct, reflect intuitively on your path while still tapping into analytical thinking

– Let go of what isn’t working. Simplify your schedule and create a focus around your main objectives. Re-evaluate what could be done more efficiently, whether it’s scheduling or a certain technique.

As women, we’re sometimes taught to view our cycles as something problematic we need to work against.  However, when we look at how easily awareness and knowledge can sync our bodies to success, the process seems quite remarkable and extraordinary. I’d have to agree with Maya Angelou when she proudly stated, “ I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”

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