Welcome to Episode 10 of Season 6 of The PCOS Revolution Podcast:
Discovering Your Best Self During the Four Seasons of Your Cycle
The weather is finally changing here in sunny South Florida and I thought it would be the perfect time to bring up the “seasons” of our cycle that happen each month within our bodies. This episode is short and sweet, and was given as a Facebook Live earlier this year to my students in The PCOS Revolution 90-day Reset so I hope you enjoy it! We’re going to discuss how to maximize your energy based on the four phases of your cycle, and how knowing where you are in your cycle can be beneficial to your work, sleep and exercise routine so let’s dive in!
Farrar has since specialized in the treatment of PCOS, infertility and hormonal imbalances with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for over 15 years and has a passion for women’s health and wellness. This path led her to pursue advanced pregnancy training in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy™ and publication of her first book, The Smart Couple’s Guide to Getting Pregnant, An Integrated Approach in 2015.
A board-certified acupuncture physician, Farrar graduated from the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in 2001 and performed her post-graduate training at Shandong University of TCM in Shandong, China. She holds regular speaking engagements at local universities, hospitals and IVF centers to advocate for a better understanding of integrative women’s health between patients, doctors and other complementary healthcare providers.
To learn more about PCOS and infertility, you can also listen to her weekly podcast, The PCOS Revolution, on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
READ the full transcript here:
Farrar Duro [0:11]
Hello, everyone, I am really happy to be here. I was a little bit late today because I was getting ready for this because I actually had a lot of things that I wanted to talk to you guys about. I was going back and forth about the whole self care question, because a lot of times, there’s certain parts of our cycle, if you are currently having a cycle, where you’re just not really feeling it as far as taking care of yourself as much. Sometimes you don’t really want to go work out or do the things that we always talk about. They’re so beneficial for PCOS. I think that’s just because we’re very different. And then men, I know, we’re not the same. It was kind of synchronicity because on my way to drop my kids off at school this morning, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, and the whole topic was how your energy changes throughout your cycle.
Farrar Duro [1:05]
That’s based on, how we are productive and not productive at certain times during our cycle. I wanted to delve into that a little bit. Because if you guys have ever read the book “Woman Code” by Alyssa Vitti, I would definitely recommend that, I’m going to post it here, Stephanie, if you’re listening, we were doing your interview, and you brought up that book. I hadn’t read the book in a while. So I went back to read it, and she talks a lot about the ebb and flow of our energy and our cycles, and how to really maximize and capitalize on where we are. Now if you’re currently on birth control, and you don’t have a whole lot of energy or don’t know, like where you’re, obviously you’re not going to be ovulating, but you can still use this to your benefit. It is an excellent book, I really highly recommend it.
Farrar Duro [1:58]
And it’s going to actually get a little bit more about paying attention, including into your body. So if you guys have started to chart, which I know that you guys, a lot of you are using your charting, you have little symptoms that you can check off below your temperature charting. So you have your temperatures, and the top part. And then you have the symptoms that you have like as far as cervical mucus and you know bloating and those things. But there’s also mood swings, or you can, put a happy face if you’re in a happy mood or feeling good or sad if you’re not feeling good. And it’s pretty eye opening because if you’ve ever experienced PMS, then you know that’s the first thing they tell you is to keep a menstrual diary. You can actually figure out what two days are and how long that PMS is lasting. I would definitely look into that because charting and journaling are going to be really eye opening. For instance, this is kind of my luteal phase, I didn’t feel getting really close to my cycle, didn’t feel like going to the gym, I knew I needed to do it, my body was feeling like I had to do something. So I worked out at home today.
Farrar Duro [3:06]
But that’s totally, kind of in line with every single month, I’ve noticed that you know, I’m not feeling as outgoing. And I just don’t want to talk as much. Usually, my energy is a little bit lower. Pay attention to how your cycle will change as far as how you get things done, and how you feel in the outside world. We’ll go over a little bit about those phases. And if you are in menopause, or you’re approaching menopause, that’s kind of a time where you go inward. And a lot of times in different cultures, that’s the time where we actually inherit our most wisdom. So you can definitely journal, any frustrations coming up any of those things that are kind of unresolved from years ago.
Farrar Duro [3:50]
And that’s the thing, it’s very good to actually start to recognize that because this is a phase that’s recovered in most cultures, not so much sometimes on the west. But I think that I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to that wisdom. So I hope that a couple of you that are in the group that are either already in menopause or approaching it, you have so much to offer all of us all women of all ages. Definitely, the different phases in life are similar to different phases of the moon where everything does change, it’s cyclical, but we can actually learn a lot from our bodies.
Farrar Duro [4:26]
The first phase or the first let’s just categorize it as seasons, we have four seasons to our cycle, we talked about that with learning about blossom, if you are looking at different herbal treatment, there is different strategies as far as herbs for week 1,2,3, and 4 in your cycle. We’re talking about week one, and what we do is actually look at it like a winter time. That’s around day one through six of your menstrual cycle when you’re bleeding, Connwinter time, because that’s kind of the time where we want to go anywhere, it’s a time of reflection. It’s a time when you’re bleeding is that you know your cycle is and your hormones are.
Farrar Duro [5:05]
Basically everything’s kind of at an all time low, your energy’s low. And sometimes we just want to be left alone, I don’t know, if you’ve ever experienced that, we just go “Okay, I’m just gonna crawl into my cave and just hibernate”. That hibernate and rest are the characteristics of this phase. If you think about long time ago, there’s a book called “The Red Tent” and women would actually go into a tent while they’re bleeding and just be left alone, like “okay, I don’t want to deal with anything”. So there’s a way that that kind of time of your cycle, or actually, they say you’re the most open intuitively also to new ideas, and that sort of thing. That’s because your body needs time to be alone. Sometimes you can tell that to family members, that’s the thing, I really need a few hours alone, that’s all I’m used to. So you might find a more irritating at this point when people are asking you to do things for them.
Farrar Duro [5:58]
That’s pretty common. And it’s basically because winter is not a time to give to others, but to ourselves. And learning to be self loving during this time is the healthiest behavior we can adopt for ourselves and our families. I like to take baths, I have movie nights like Netflix with my husband, we’re just spending days alone, creating or writing, if I’m that lucky. If I have that time, spending time with my kids just kind of really like being and we’re not going a whole lot of places. I’m an introvert. So that’s pretty easy for me sometimes. But sometimes I just want to sleep in and read and not really have to do a whole lot. That’s sometimes where you can have some alone time, sometimes it’s okay. And the next we move into week two, which is our inner springtime. So that’s around day 7 through 13, when you’re in the pre observation fates, and this is the season of spring, so we look at it like our energy starting to rebound a little bit, you can think about rebirth or fresh start, energize and happy sort of any moving around. And usually, as a woman moves into her inner spring phase, she’s ready to get back into the world slowly and take on new projects. It’s a planning organizing phase of the month.
Farrar Duro [7:12]
I think this month I got into organization. I was on Pinterest. Really, I was like I want to organize all to post these pictures. Actually, in the group, I organized my kitchen cabinets. It just happened one day, I don’t know, I just I kind of went over go and I did it. And that was that phase, right? It was like after your cycles over you’re like yay, all this energy coming back up. I organized my bathroom cabinets as well, and I look at it every day, so proud of myself. But I wouldn’t want to do that right now at this phase of my cycle, I don’t know. So you can start the planning phase. This is a good time to actually look at your journal, look at your phone and say, All right, I’m going to map out the calendar for this month of when I want to do my workouts, if it’s before work after work, or during the weekend, I want to see what three times this week I can get in my workouts, or if it’s with a trainer or however you do it, putting it out there, planning it is a great time to do that. If you haven’t felt like planning much when you’re on your cycle, then you know this energy actually helps with that.
Farrar Duro [8:13]
Also it’s a good time to focus. If you have big projects to do or you need to research something or learning, this is optimal time to do that. You can really be at your peak, think about like peak mentally at this time. If you’re heading into early meaning still wanting to kind of get some creation done or work on your own, you can really like power through and get four or five hours straight, I find that the focus time is so much better. So just think about being able to take on new challenges, you’re feeling more energized, and your concentration is really at the peak. And then you move into week three, and that’s our inner summer. Around a 14 to 21 of your ovulation phase that’s usually around when most women are ovulating. Or if you have PCOS, you might not hit that at that particular time because your cycles might be longer, you might have a little bit longer follicular phase. And sometimes that’s a benefit. It’s like, okay, you’re able to be in that productivity mode, or that concentration or extra focus mode a little longer.
Farrar Duro [9:15]
And so sometimes I see that as a benefit. It’s like, okay, we’re, you know, you’re able to be in that productivity mode, or that concentration or extra focus mode a little longer. And so sometimes that, you know, I see that as a benefit. Sometimes even though we want to have our cycles nice and shorter, we’re going to look at the positive side to these things, right? So once you get into ovulation mode, it’s thinking about like, ovulation is the Yang, and creation of that follicle is the Yin. So the Yang is going to be Summer, right? It’s hot, young, young theory and occupied in traditional Chinese medicine, young is more related to the masculine hot sort of attributes of you know, different characteristics.
So if we’re looking at ovulation, or thinking about that our energy is going to be more expressive and outward. So it’s more like you’re feeling a little more social as even reading a study a while back that’s you know, what, you’re more attractive even physically because, you know, your eyes look different and all this crazy stuff like it’s like evolutionary I guess it means it like we’re we’re more attractive to the opposite sex and all these things, you know. So I guess that is the outward time, right? So, it’s also the time where your libido should be at its peak, usually, it’s usually high and your fertility, of course, is heightened. So great time to enjoy yourself also with your spouse or you know, just being out with friends and just taking advantage of all that wonderful energy going through. So so I think that also it suggests that ovulation is the best time to ask for what you want. As far as research goes, it says whether you know, you want to ask for a raise at work, or you want to ask something from your partner, or you want to, you know, communicate your needs more, ovulation is actually the peak time to do that. So if you have an evaluation coming up, maybe at work, you can ask to schedule it around your ovulation time. So think about that.
The key word really, for this phase is going to be basically relationship-building, kind of outward activities, holding space for others, so you’re not as inward anymore, you’re a little more outward. And then week four is your inner Fall. So it’s around days 22 to 29 during your luteal phase, so you’re winding down again. And this is the fourth week of your cycle. So you might notice that you’re feeling more inward at this time again. So it’s basically like phases of the moon right after a full moon then so waxes and wanes, right? And waning is after the full moon I believe. And so you’re going to feel that, you know, those agitations might happen a little more easily when people demand more of your time. And you’re craving that alone time again. So you can schedule I mean, if you’re able to do this, you are able to schedule your life according to your cycle. And this is actually what’s covered in Woman Code, then you can really maximize what you can get done and also help with planning your self care as well around your cycle. And you can purposefully schedule days off leading up to your cycle, if you’re able to do that, of course, if you work for yourself, or you have that flexibility.
So I think it’s really important. And then I think the main thing is that you’re going to find that you are more respectful of your needs, if you tune in a little bit more. So if you have PMS, you can actually start to kind of…and that’s usually when it’s going to creep up as during this time, it’s going to intensify sometimes if we are not owning up to our needs. So this is a good time to kind of be vocal a little bit more about needing that time for self care. And so if we ignore what we need, your body actually will start to react in that way, I feel like PMS can definitely intensify. And you can become more irritable, more tired, you know, and really needing that self care. So basically, you’re going to consciously acknowledge that this is an inward phase. And that is the best thing, the most courageous act you can do for self love and self care is when you listen to your body. So you might feel that also, you’re getting a little bit more creativity as far as more ideas coming in. And this is a good time, if you are artistic at all, or you like to draw or you like to write poetry, or do you come up with ideas, perhaps you have a business or you you know work in that field, you can actually, you’re more open to actually receiving those ideas as well during this time.
So your energy drops off a little bit, you might become more moody, less focused, less concentration, but you might actually have a heightened creativity. So you know, this is just a way to tune in to what you know, you might be needing. And I hope that that is helpful for you. And maybe you’re going to try that this cycle, but just try to include that in your charting. And I’d really be interested to see how you guys are handling your cycle. Do you notice any changes in your cycle, as far as your energy and as far as the need for self care? And again, the self care can be like, as simple as going to acupuncture, massage, or spending time alone in a hot bath, soaking in Epsom salt bath or taking an extra nap sometimes. Going to the beach, doing things that make you laugh, you know, those are all self care. So self care doesn’t always involve spending money either. But paying attention to your needs. So I hope that you guys start to tune in a little bit and post some ideas about what you’ve learned about your body during this process. And if you have a chance to read woman code, then let me know or if you’ve already read it, let me know how that’s helped you. So have a great week, everybody and I will definitely be checking in next week. I hope that you are going to continue to post your questions and remember that we can all learn from each other.
So don’t be shy. Okay. Have a great week, everybody. I’ll see you next time. And that’s the end of this episode of the PCOS Revolution podcast. If you’ve enjoyed the show and want to help me spread the word about how women with PCOS and hormonal imbalances can live happier, more healthier lives. please head over to iTunes and leave us a review. They really do make a difference. If you’d like to have a question answered on this show or would like to recommend a guest please go to www.floridacompletewellness.com/podcast.
Farrar Duro [15:23]
If you’re on social media, you can follow me at www.facebook.com/floridacompletewellness and www.twitter.com/floridacomplete, where I post a lot of interesting research webinars and articles on our blog about really getting to the root of hormonal imbalances like PCOS, it’s a great way to stay in touch with the latest developments. Thanks so much for listening and see you soon!
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