A couple of years ago I started habit tracking. It isn’t something I stick to every month, but I still find it really useful to come back to when I get out of routine and find my good habits slipping.
I’ve streamlined my habits a bit and I now just track the few things which I feel make the biggest difference:
- My sleep routine.
- Switching off my phone in the evening.
- Eating at least five portions of fruit & veg per day.
- Exercise (going for a walk or doing some pilates).
Last year I started thinking about also tracking my mood, energy levels and sleep quality alongside these habits to see what effect the habits were having. I was interested to see whether sticking to the habits or letting them slip had an immediate impact on my mood, energy and sleep.
This also led me to thinking about how hormones affect our mood, energy levels and sleep quality and the fact that these things vary throughout the month as part of a natural cycle – regardless of habits. So I started tracking all these things alongside my menstrual cycle to see what patterns emerged!
It hasn’t been a particularly scientific experiment, but after tracking five cycles, I found that my habits don’t have a huge impact on a day to day basis, but that maintaining good habits (such as eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep) help to keep me happier overall.
Unsurprisingly – I found numerous patterns between my menstrual cycle and mood, energy and sleep quality. Most notably – at the beginning of each cycle my energy is really low despite sleeping really well and towards the end of each cycle I’m buzzing with energy despite sleeping poorly.
A magazine article I read about menstrual cycles, moon cycles and yoga (sorry – I can’t remember what magazine it was!) broke down suggested actions for each week/phase of a cycle. I cut out part of the article and have looked back at it regularly to see how my cycle fits in with it.
Below I’ve outlined what the article suggested for each phase and I’m planning to make my own list of actions/intentions incorporating what I’ve discovered whilst tracking.
Phase One (approx first week of cycle)
- Set intentions.
Phase Two (approx second week of cycle)
- Develop new possibilities.
- Make decisions.
- Overcome challenges.
Phase Three (approx third week of cycle)
- Celebrate you.
- Have fun.
- Express yourself.
Phase Four (approx fourth week of cycle)
The information I found whilst tracking has given me a better understanding of the impact hormone fluctuations have and how I can work in sync with what my body needs. I’m much better at knowing when to push myself and when to go easy on myself.
For example – I no longer give myself a hard time for being ‘lazy’ at the beginning of my cycle. My body clearly needs lots of rest and that’s okay. I’ve been saving all my monotonous jobs that involve lots of sitting for this phase of my cycle and it’s actually turned into a super productive time!
Tracking my cycles also made me aware that I tend to have mini-meltdowns around the same time each cycle! This is when I’m feeling really creative and have lots of ideas pinging around my mind. It’s a perfect time to be designing and planning but I need to be mindful of not overwhelming my already busy brain!
Do you fancy tracking your cycle and working out your own personal actions/intentions for each phase? Drop me an email if you’d like a copy of my habit/cycle tracker!