My period is due in a couple of days, which, for me, means I’m feeling lethargic, demotivated and I’m having a hard time concentrating on anything. The science behind how your menstrual cycle affects your thoughts is unclear: some studies suggest your hormones have little or no effect on your cognitive performance while other studies have shown that women tend to view themselves more negatively just before their period. Our fluctuating hormones undoubtedly affect different women in different ways; I notice a definite difference in my mood between the first half and the second half of my cycle. In fact, I can tell when I’ve ovulated because of the pronounced shift in how I feel.
I also notice a definite difference in my daydreaming style depending on where I am in my cycle. In the first half of my cycle, when my mood is generally highest, I feel more connected to my daydream world. My characters and scenes feel more vivid, and I’m able to use their inspiration to be more productive in real life. I daydream more and I get more done. In the latter part of my cycle, I can still daydream, but it takes more effort, and the plot doesn’t flow as easily. But, at the same time, real life also loses its appeal, and I find myself procrastinating about even the simplest of tasks.
Noticing that I am at my best in real life when my daydreaming is strongest was one of the things that convinced me that, for me, daydreaming is an asset to be managed rather than a curse to be overcome. But I can imagine that it could easily work the other way. I’ve seen some women comment that their daydreaming is worse just before their period, and I can understand how that could make be the case.
If your hormones are making you feel lethargic, and if everything is taking just a little bit more effort than usual, it’s understandable that you might want to curl up somewhere and be alone with your thoughts. If your hormones have caused your mood to dip, real-life social interactions might be more than you can manage just now, and you might want to retreat to the safety of your predictable daydream world where everything is OK. If this sounds like you, there’s nothing wrong with just accepting you’ll be less productive for a few days, knowing that this time will pass.
If you really struggle in the days before your period, there are plenty of websites offering helpful advice on how to manage your hormones and bring your cycle into a better balance. I’ve found that things like improving my diet, getting a consistent amount of sleep and managing my stress levels do help, but changes are best made across the whole cycle. In the first half of my cycle, when I’m feeling at my best, I can be excited and enthusiastic about establishing new habits. Just before my period, I’m too hard on myself, and I sabotage any efforts to change before I’ve had time to see progress. For me, awareness is key: learning to live my very best life when my motivation is high, being kind to myself when it isn’t, and accepting that neither state lasts forever.