I’m on day 123 of my cycle. That means I’m 99 days late for my period. This is my longest stretch ever!
When perimenopause hit, my cycles became irregular in the opposite direction. Less than a year ago, I was regularly getting my period every two weeks. Which is quite common in perimenopause. Common and a big pain in the ass.
Now I feel like my perimenopause journey is headed in a new direction. And I’m getting closer to hitting the menopause milestone of going 365 days without a bleed. The actual moment of menopause.
In the meantime, I’m frustrated (and anxious and sad and angry) because I’m still having mood swings and anxiety. And it still seems to be in line with when I should be pms’ing. Even though I’m not having a bleed, I am going through the emotional unease, physical symptoms and eating habits that I always had before my bleed.
Is this going to be my life forever?
I thought that with menopause, these monthly cycles of unease, anxiety, cravings and apathy – my pms symptoms – would disappear. But it turns out, I am wrong.
Here’s what I’m discovering:
- As we progress into menopause and we are no longer ovulating and maybe no longer bleeding, our months will still be cyclical in nature. We will still oscillate between feeling energized and motivated (like we did in our follicular phase) to feeling quiet and introspective (like during our luteal phase).
- Unfortunately, these phases may not be as obvious to us because we are not having a bleed to help us track them. Maybe you’ve been paying attention, but I certainly haven’t.
- So, I’m going to start tracking the ebbs and flows of my energy and emotions. I’m quickly learning this is as important in perimenopause and menopause as ever before.
- I’m reopening my period tracking app (but a journal or regular old calendar will do) and I’m going to start using it again. Regularly.
- I’m pretty confident that if I start to pay attention again, I will quickly see patterns forming that will help me understand where I am in my new cycle. And will help me ensure I take time for the self care I need and deserve.
Why should I care about what phase I’m in?
Because it’s incredible how much this can help us to live a calmer, more balanced (even though I really hate that word) life.
For me this means that if I know that I have more energy / feel more vibrant and outgoing at the beginning of the month, I can plan accordingly. I will try to plan more social activities during this time, offer to host a dinner party or book an important work meeting/presentation.
The weeks of the month when I have lower energy is when I try to plan my introspective work, like writing or planning. And I always dial up self love and care during those weeks.
For me this means taking a break during the day for a long hot bath with a book. A completely indulgent bonus that comes with working from home.
I might take an extra 20 minutes in the morning to walk the dog a little further than usual instead of rushing home to open my laptop. I might take 10 minutes to lay down and close my eyes before a podcast recording instead of reviewing my notes.
Anything that is calming, gentle and loving. It does incredible things to ease the tightness and panic coursing through my body.
It’s not always possible, but I’ve used this method before. I find that it really helps me to create a schedule that feels really good for my body and mind.
It’s time to pay attention
I realize that because I haven’t had a bleed for months, I’ve stopped paying attention to the ebbs and flows of my energy and the rise and fall of my emotions. I’ve done myself a disservice.
And so today I am committing to opening up my favorite tracking app every day. And to start paying attention again to the emotional, energetic and even physical changes that I’m experiencing from one day to the next.
Today, I am committed to honoring my body. To learn more about its new monthly cycle. And to celebrate what it means to be a woman.
I hope you’ll join me.