I don’t know about you, but I really don’t look forward to my period — not quite “The Curse” as many people have called it, but not quite “The Gift” that many women have reframed it to be. For a while, my period was just a biological something that happened to me without my permission, leaving me with much bloat, many tears, gratuitous pain, and far from a pleasure to be around.
But a few months ago, I read Gabrielle Lichterman’s 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential, which forced me to look at my menstrual cycle more deeply and with a more positive lens.
Hopefully, what I took away will open up the conversation about understanding our bodies while debunking corny, trite, and distorted stereotypes. Each of us has our own unique experience with our menstrual cycle. The information in this story should serve as food for thought and further exploration. Reading this book helped me see the hormones that drive my menses could be my secret weapon to holistic tool to career advancement and wealth building once I learned more about them.
How Hormones Work
Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of this book’s forward says, “Each hormone acts like a microscopic [chemical] messenger. When it arrives at its destination, it triggers a flood of chemical interactions that affect the rest of the body.”
They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood. In addition to affecting these processes, hormones influence our behaviors.
The Triple Threat–Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and a Woman’s Brain on Hormones
Three chief hormones govern women’s menstrual cycles: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The way the levels of these hormones combine has a different effect on a woman each day of her menstrual cycle, but we tend to focus on is the day that “Aunt Flow” comes.
How Your Period Influences Your Financial Decisions and Boss Moves—Day 1-Day 13
On Days 1-13 of a 28-day menstrual cycle, estrogen and testosterone are on the rise. Estrogen is considered the “optimistic” hormone while testosterone is considered to be your “cash-confident” hormone. Together, they can push you to be more impulsive and adventurous, treat yourself more, and overestimate your ability to come up with money to replenish the emergency fund and retirement account that you raided so you could live it up today. On these days, try to pay strictly with cash or a debit card.
To counteract the urges to spend more freely, you are more likely, during this part of your cycle, to be more creative, ask for what you want, and take leadership roles. This is an ideal time of the month to negotiate your salary, speak about stretch assignment, and go after the promotion or raise that you want.
How Your Period Influences Your Financial Decisions and Boss Moves—Day 14-Day 28
Day 14 is your ovulation day, when an egg releases from your ovary. After this happens, your estrogen and testosterone levels begin to decline. The withdrawal of these two hormones from Day 15-Day 28 leads to less confidence and optimism. As it relates to your finances, you may begin to feel more guilty about spending on the whim, and become (relatively) more conservative about your money moves.
In addition, estrogen withdrawal may make you experience bouts of “nervousness, anxiety, teariness, and the blues— usually not related to any specific event that’s happening around you.” That coupled with progesterone, the hormone known for its sedative quality, may make “taking over the world” either seem impossible or be a non-priority when it comes to work.
So instead of calling our periods the “The Curse” or “The Gift”, maybe more apropos monikers would be “The Closer,” “The Spender” or “The Negotiator.”
Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com. Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.