Updated: Jun 20
Do you ever feel like you’re unstoppable one week, and the next it feels like you can’t keep up? Does your cycle hamper your productivity?
You're not alone! This article aims to provide information and tips for the four phases of the menstrual cycle to help support the well-being and productivity of working menstruators -- that is, people with cycles who work!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been conditioned with a capitalistic belief that you need to constantly strive and produce in order to feel valuable and worthy of taking up space in the world (Thai, 2021). Likewise, systemic structures are built to appease the rhythms of men and people in male bodies. As a result, patriarchal culture devalues women's bodies and people with cycles and inclines menstruators to take on masculine traits. Not only is this a recipe for perfectionism, self-criticism and burnout, but it also perpetuates white supremacy and oppression (Olivera, 2021).
The thing is our energy, emotions, bodies, desires, and needs fluctuate with the different phases of the menstrual cycle. In fact, fluctuations in hormone levels provoke significant physical and psychological changes throughout the menstrual cycle (Montero-López, 2018). As menstruators, it’s essential to adapt our workload, expectations, and lifestyles to meet the unique needs and natural rhythms of power of each phase of the cycle to promote wellbeing and productivity. This is what cyclical living is all about.
Even though the menstrual cycle is a completely natural biopsychological occurrence that directly affects 1.8 million people, respecting it is not a common practice in society (Holst et al., 2022; Unicef, n.d.). The menstrual cycle continues to be highly stigmatized and, unfortunately, damaging misconceptions are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of millions of women, girls, transgender men, and non-binary menstruators. For this reason, "many [menstruators] are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in a healthy and dignified way" (Unicef, n.d.). This is even more true for people from marginalized groups.
A study conducted in Spain found that the majority of people with cycles have limited access to information about the menstrual cycle (Holst et al., 2022). Through my work as a cycle educator in Canada, it has become evident that most people have not received adequate support and education on this level.
As you read through the following information and tips for each phase of the cycle, remember that your personal experience trumps everything.