We’re going there today, ladies: talking all about your period and career, and how together they can truly be your superpower! At Team Viviano, we’ve been fans from afar for a long time, so we’re delighted to welcome Claire Baker to the podcast and introduce her to all of you!
What We’re Talking About
- The seasons of your cycle
- How your period can truly be your superpower
- Navigating your cycle in the corporate world
Claire’s Career Path
Aka, how do you become a period coach? Claire didn’t set out to do this. Her background is in visual arts and business and she always knew she wanted to work for herself. She shares that she wasn’t a great employee. She knew from an early age that she wanted and thrived in something different than the traditional 9-to-5. She longed to work for herself and to serve people via nutrition and wellness. She studied nutrition and wellness and began to do it on the side, just for friends and family...then very quickly it took on a life of it’s own and she realized she could do it full-time and LOVED doing it!
Her business began as more of a women’s health coach business. Simultaneously, she was going through getting off of birth control and losing her own cycle, which led to a lot of learning about female hormonal rhythms. And this led to a lot of incredible learning for herself and sharing with her clients. She began sharing this as part of her coaching.
And then came the moment of decision: was she going to be “that coach” who talked about periods?! Claire shares that it was a hard decision with a lot of resistance, not quite what she wanted to jump into full tilt. But she weighed it with how much she believed in it and how much it could help other women. So she dove in! And she has found it to be incredibly rewarding, fulfilling, and definitely the right decision!
The Seasons of Your Cycle
There are four seasons of each cycle just like there are four seasons of the year – fall, winter, spring, summer. There’s a death and rebirth, ebb and flow of energy and life in the earth over a year...and there are cyclical seasons in our hormonal rhythms and cycle each month (or month-ish).
- Winter – Menstruation – You may be feeling more low-energy, curled up in a blanket, chill
- Spring – Pre-Ovulation – You may be re-emerging, lots of energy, momentum
- Summer – Ovulation – You are fertile, primed to procreate, generous, confident, sociable, loving
- Fall – PMS – This week can be really tricky for some of us, slowing down, may want some time alone, but also very creative and powerful
It helps SO much to know these seasons and where we are in the cycle. Claire recommends a daily check-in on what day you’re on to see where you are in the cycle today. You can find Claire’s guide to each season on her site and more fully in her new book!
How Your Career & Period Can Interact Well
First, start to make some observations around work and your cycle – how was your energy level, focus, mood on certain days? What tasks do you feel drawn to? When do you need to have more rest or to take time away from work? When are you more creative? After a few cycles, you will see patterns emerge.
There are times in your cycle where you will feel much more drawn to study, research, and learning. There will be moments where you are much more extroverted and drawn to do a presentation or networking activity. And some weeks you may be feeling more like going into a “creative cave” with your headphones on and getting things done. There may also be a week in your cycle where you want to hit pause and feel into the vision of a project rather than action. There are some weeks for action and moving things forward and some for taking a step back. Lean into this and see what emerges from each space.
Is There Guilt In Taking a Step Back During Your Cycle?
We’re both type A’s and perfectionists, and we talk about how sometimes the shadow side of being a high performer is guilt for any time of not being uber-productive. But we also both talk about how knowing our cycles and doing this work helps us know when we need to take a break. (And maybe a sabbatical!)
Learning the rhythms of the cycles and the ways to maximize my energy and choose rest. The awareness of our cycles helps us know when we can most effectively take action and when we need to take a step back and not act.
Channel Your Superpower: Your Most Productive Season
The most productive season in your cycle actually varies from person to person. Each cycle has it’s own version of productivity.
The Spring season has incredible energy – you’re coming out of the period cave, feeling a resurgence of life and energy, an increase in estrogen. This season lends itself to getting things moving and getting things done. This is a great place to get things off the ground and to plan.
The Summer is really high energy, confident energy, being seen energy. It’s a good time to give a presentation or record video content. It’s a good time for group work for your energy levels and for accountability. Warning though: it can also be a time of lots of distraction because we get too social and drawn towards fun!
The Fall phase can often be overlooked in terms of productivity but when we have the conditions we need (like working on own timeline, not group work) it can actually be a time of getting things finished. It’s a good time to edit, finish projects, put a wrap on things.
The Winter is when your energy is not at its highest, but it can still be appreciated for what it brings. It’s a good time for rest, getting clarity on a project, taking a break to check our vision, strategizing, planning pieces of projects for your upcoming cycle.
When we use all of these together it is a superpower of menstruation to supercharge our work! We can have brilliant insight into how to maximize our energy throughout each cycle, how to draw good boundaries, and how to thrive. There are superpowers in each part of the cycle, so lean into yours.
How to Use This Superpower in Corporate
In the corporate world and especially in male-dominated industries, this scheduling and timing of rest/energy can be a little tricker. Claire’s number one advice is to go gently.
There may not be much you can do about the day your period hits coinciding with a huge work presentation, but you can be gentle with yourself. Choose to make your schedule work for you – maybe skip the gym or go more gently, sleep more, nourish your body well. One of the best things you can do is to prepare great nourishing food ahead of time so you don’t have to expend energy during your winter on this. Make sure throughout the days of bleeding you stay hydrated, get extra sleep, and nourish your body well. They’re the basics of self-care, but they make a huge difference in terms of your cycle. Claire offers a number of other ideas on the episode as well.
We have superpowers in every phase of our menstrual cycle. During winter, you may not be your most high-powered self, but you can do it. It will be brilliant. And you can tap into the superpowers of the winter phase – insight, intuition, clarity, vision-casting, and power. Work with this energy. Tap into the superpower of each phase.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is awareness of your cycle – what day you’re on, how you’re doing. And then remember to be gentle with yourself.
How to Adapt For Your Team
Some great ways to approach this if you’re leading a team is to be aware of what day you and your teammates are on in your cycle. Claire shared about her cousin who leads a team and she introduced cycle charting and talking about where you are in the cycle as part of their regular conversation. Then you can try to sync tasks up based on where the other person is. And you can relate to your colleagues and those you’re interacting with based on the energy and tone of where they might be.
So you can then use your superpower and tap into theirs! We can be better whole people and teams in our offices if we’re aware of this.
What Claire Wishes Women Knew About Their Periods
“I wish women knew that their cycle can be a real gift in their life.”
The conversation in the workplace doesn’t have to just be about menstruation and maybe saying women need a break during their days of menstruation. Claire wants to take it to the next level. Our cycles are a benefit, a gift, a superpower, something we can optimize. It’s not just something to be aware of because of vulnerability, it’s actually something that can be used and optimized as a superpower in work. The different phases of the menstrual cycle offer so much creativity, depth, opportunity to take action, opportunity to reflect, and edit. All of the shifting, changing seasons of your cycle really are a gift.
I was always the girl who hated her period. But learning about it over the last year has made it much more understandable and enjoyable. It’s connected me with my body in a much deeper way. So join us and see what you can learn!
Get In Touch with Claire
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Claire Baker is a sought-after period coach and author of '50 Things You Need to Know About Periods'. For nearly a decade Claire has taught thousands of women how to live in harmony with their menstrual cycle, rather than working against it. Claire believes menstrual cycle awareness is the missing key in women’s wellbeing, empowerment and creativity, and her immersive online courses and workshops inspire women to know their flow and become the authority in their own lives. Claire’s online program Adore Your Cycle has students in over 35 countries.
With a background in visual arts and creative business, Claire is a certified health and life coach, has studied Menstruality Leadership and is trained as a natural fertility teacher. Known for her authentic voice and ability to ‘make periods fun’, Claire is regularly featured in publications such as Red, Glamour, and Women’s Health magazine. Originally from Australia, Claire now lives in sunny East London and spends her days coaching, teaching, writing, dancing and being as close to trees as she possibly can.
How Your Period Can Be Your Superpower in Your Career with Claire Baker
August 19, 2020