Low Cortisol

Boost your energy, creativity, mood & more with cycle-syncing, here’s how

This is a transcription of an Instagram live. You can find the full video on Laurie’s IGTV tab on Instagram and on soon on YouTube.

Today we’re talking about cycle syncing and how and why that’s important in helping us have more energy and feel our best. How it helps us be much more productive at work and help with eliminating symptoms that we might be having. 

It’s good for all sorts of things. I love to practice this in a very cyclical way, every month working on cycle syncing to go with your menstrual cycle. 

If you’re not menstruating, you can also learn to cycle sync. 

I’ll explain a little bit how I do cycle syncing.

So first of all, what is cycle syncing? 

Cycle syncing is basically looking at your menstrual cycle. Depending on where you’re at in the menstrual cycle, it roughly tells you what’s going on with your hormones. Every woman is going to be a little bit different. 

Every time, every day of the month, every day of your menstrual cycle, your hormones are going to be doing something different than the next day, than tomorrow, than the day before. 

These shifts in our hormones can actually make us better suited for certain activities or not.

So during our menstrual phase, for example, our hormones are at their lowest. 

And when I say our hormones, I’m talking about our sex hormones. I’m talking about things like progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. 

They all start to decline during our menstrual phase. So depending on what these hormones are doing throughout our menstrual cycle, this is priming us for certain activities. 

So if you have a 28 day cycle, we would look at that in four weeks and four phases. 

So there are four phases to your cycle. There are four phases that you can apply to your month. 

I love applying this to my business. So if you have a business or if you’re working, you can apply this at your job as well. 

During my menstruation phase, I have blocked out my calendar so that if anybody goes to my booking link on calendar to book something with me, or if one of my clients wants to book an appointment with me from the package that they’ve booked, I have blocked out that phase for me to really turn down and and take more time for restoration. So that’s my restoration phase, during my period.

So that’s one phase, after that your hormones start to rise. So your body is getting ready for more activities. It has more energy. So you feel better. The reason cycle syncing is so helpful is because during certain phases, when your hormones are doing certain things you’re better primed for certain activities.

For example during menstruation, your body is trying to restore and renew, but yet you are pushing through and you’re wanting to do this and that, and all the things, it’s going to take so much more energy to do it in this phase of the month.

I highly recommend to try things out and see if you get better results, shifting things to what you think is optimal times of the month for you. 

Cycle syncing and work

So there are optimal times of the month to be making your sales pitch, pitching your new offer. There are better times of the month to be asking for a promotion. And that time of the month would be the ovulatory phase.

In total there’s the menstrual phase. There’s the follicular phase. There’s the ovulatory phase and the luteal phase. 

If you’re a business owner, what that would look like for your business is that you have a week of ramping things up, a week where you’re on fire and you’re doing your podcast interviews. You’re putting yourself out there and you want people to see you at your best.

After that week, you start to turn the dial down. So you’re moving down into more of the rest phase and then the fourth week would be rest week. After that you’d repeat the cycle, kind of ramping things up and then slowing things down again. 

I used to specifically train endurance athletes for things like marathon events, which take months and months of training. Interestingly this is the same style that I would do with athletes. It’s the same kind of four week style. You’d ramp up your training and then you come down and you rest. Then you repeat.

You find that this kind of cycle is not only ideal for performing at your best, but also increases your performance, getting better and better every month. As you continue you’re able to take on more, able to feel better and handle a greater load, because you’ve had that time to restore. 

What I often see is that we’re just ramping it up for weeks, months, maybe even for years. You’ve just been ramping it up for a long, long time. And you didn’t take that time to take it down and restore. People easily get burnt out like this. They get burnt out, they get frustrated, they get moody. You have blood sugar issues, you have hormone issues, cortisol issues. There are a lot of things that can be going on when you continually ramp it up and you don’t scale back. So building in restoration on a monthly basis, I find is crucial. It’s crucial for optimal health. 

If you’re not looking for optimal health, if you’re not looking to feel your best or to optimize your hormones. That’s a different story. But if you are, I highly recommend thinking about applying this to your workweek, applying this to your business. You can also get your team on board. You can let them know this is my restoration week and you can build activities that are best for that time.

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During the restoration week is a really great time of the month to reflect. How did things go this month? Where do I want them to go next month? It’s a week for reflection. It’s a week for review. It’s a week where I don’t have a lot of appointments, so that I have the flexibility to take the time I need to restore if I need it. If, for example, my energy is really low and I feel like I maybe need to go get a massage or need to do something to really help ramp up that restoration I can do that. Due to my schedule being a little bit more flexible and open to that. 

That repeats month by month. Then every six months you take it all down for four weeks. You turn the dial down and you give yourself four weeks of restoration.

I understand that as a business owner, you may not be giving yourself those five or six weeks of vacation. I have made it a point, since I’ve been in business for myself, to give and take those vacation days for myself. So not to work and have a vacation at the same time. Just as you would want, if you were working for a company. If you were working for a company, would you want them to expect you to work while you’re on your vacation? Probably not. Therefore I try to do the same for myself. I don’t expect myself to work while I’m on vacation. I try to make sure that every year there are two significant moments where I turn the dial down, I rest and I don’t work.

I prioritize restoration. 

So prioritizing restoration will look different for different people, but I also think it’s great to add variety, like for me, prioritizing restoration is adding in some variety. 

So what are the things that you do all the time in your job? And maybe try to do something different. 

So during those weeks of restoration, if most of the time I’m having appointments, I’m doing podcasts, I’m giving presentations. During my restoration weeks, that I do twice a month, it would be just turning all that off. Turning all that off and maybe taking a course on something I want to learn. 

Like I said, taking a trip somewhere, making some time to spend more time with family and friends during those weeks and doing this kind of cyclical pattern can 100% hands down help us manage stress better.

It can help you show up better for your business, because you’re feeling much more restored. You feel more creative. You’re feeling more decisive. You’re feeling more like yourself. You’re showing up at your business and at your work more like yourself. So that’s why I do it.

How to get started

If you only start doing this for one month, you’re not going to probably notice much of a change. You need to get the body into the rhythm, usually for a few months to start to notice changes. I also wouldn’t recommend making drastic changes. Rather make subtle changes over time. 

So looking at your schedule and seeing what it looks like throughout the month for yourself?

I like to plug it into Google calendar. I always have the four different phases in Google calendar. So anytime I’m booking an appointment or planning something in my month, I can see what phase I’m in. 

I even make a little note in my Google calendar together with that phase, what activities I prefer to do during that phase. 

So I can remind myself as I’m booking things, that this is what it’s going to look like during this phase of the month for me. And I try to stick with that. 

So it’s a process. It’s a journey. I’ve been working at getting better and better and better at doing this. 

Why give it a try?

And over time you notice more and more. It works. If I sit down at my computer to do some writing during the time of the month that I’ve designated as, this is the better time for me, which is usually around the middle of the month, where the hormones are kind of at their peak. Women tend to find that they’re much more productive and much more creative at that time of the month. So that’s when I sit down and I feel like the words are flowing and I can get so much done. I get so much written all at once, as opposed to trying to do that at a different time of the month, where the words aren’t flowing and the creativity isn’t there. 

Finding the best times to schedule events, to schedule projects, to schedule your work can make a huge difference in the output and also the energy it takes away and the amount of stress that it gives you to do those activities and to get the job done.

So just planning that out can make such a difference, by reducing our stress levels, increasing our energy levels and just having more fun and joy doing our job, because it’s not taking so much out of us. That can make a huge difference in our hormones and how we feel and show up on a daily basis. You can check out some other conversations about cycle syncing on my Instagram.

Cycle Syncing for Optimized Cycles with Kela Smith

Cycle Syncing to reduce stress and increase productivity with Meredith Ashton

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat disease or serious conditions. Always check with your doctor before making any changes. It’s important to consult a well-informed health practitioner for personal advice about your situation before relying on general information we’re all wonderfully unique.

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Laurie Villarreal, FNLP, CHWC, FNS, LMC, CPT, RYT

Hi, I'm Laurie, a functional nutritionist and health coach, athlete, dog-mom, and biohacking adventure-lover. After having struggled for years to find lasting solutions for my own debilitating hormone-related symptoms, I created my online practice to begin helping other active, driven women get the support they need. I now help  women around the world elevate their health, energy, business and life by optimizing their hormones with personalized nutrition and lifestyle tweaks. Together, we discover new tools and strategies that keep you showing up at your best so you can play even bigger in your life and work.