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Sick Leave, Mental Health Days, and now, Menstrual Leave?!

We have just about every sort of leave available to us in the work force these days. There's public holidays, sick leave, mental health days, but have you ever thought about MENSTRUAL LEAVE? I know, right? Me either! Back in the olden days, before I used cloth, if I was ever suffering through a heavy, particularly painful period, I have always just taking a sick day... because, you know, I felt sick!


Now, a professor in obstetrics and gynaecology from St Bartholomew's Hospital in London has suggested that paid menstrual leave might just be a good idea! Well there is a brain wave! It has been a thing in Japan since 1947, and in many other asian countries, and will definitely happen soon in Canada (because Canada get most things right).

It's been argued that paid menstrual leave would make it harder for women. In general it was suggested there'd be more discrimination (like the gender pay gap would be harder to close).

But for us cluey women, we know something that most men (and some women) don't; That a period doesn't just flow in cycles of feeling crap (menstruation), feeling ok, feeling meh (ovualtion), feeling okay, PMS, and then back to feeling crap again.

There's so much more to a period than that.

There's what we call phases: 

FOLICULAR PHASE - which is the first 7-10 days after your bleed. This is the time when we are full of new energy. Your hormones are doing new and wonderful things: Progesterone stays low, oestrogen is released, testosterone is lifting. In general we are happier, more productive, more social, full of energy, and more creative. Work/Study wise this is the time to plan, start a project early, do extra tutorials, try that "out of the box" idea.

OVULATORY PHASE - 3-4 days after folicular. Oestrogen is reaching its optimal level. You are probably a bit more reflective, a bit more focused. This is a great time to collaborate; if you want to talk through your crazy new work strategy (that you developed in your folicular phase) this is the time to do it. Dwell on the issues and work out the kinks. Edit your assignments, proofread your essays - this is the perfect time. 

LUTEAL PHASE - This is the 10-14 days after ovulation. This is where we can start to feel critical. Progesterone starts to increase again, and oestrogen is at its highest. You might find your breasts are starting to get a bit tender, or you feel a bit depressed. But NEVER FEAR! This is the time where we get stuff done! It's the time to plan the next month. Finish the final copy of your assignment and hand them up (hopefully early). Clean your room. Hang out with those people who ONLY add value to your breaths... if a friend makes you sigh and roll your eyes, they are the friends for your folicular phase. Ditch them this week. Some people call it PMS. I call it knowing what's worth your time. Prepare some self care habits and practices because they are going to come in handy!

And finally - the big show - the time we have all been waiting for: MENSTRUAL PHASE - This is the one we all know about. Everyone knows how they feel during their bleed. It generally lasts 5-7. Most people say this is the start of their cycle. I like to think of it as the end. My body is washing away everything it prepared for in the last month, in preparation for my next month. Hormones decrease. Energy is at an all time low. It's time for rest, replenishment, reconnection. It's a good time to reflect on the previous month. Think about what worked well and what didn't. Do some yoga, go for a gentle walk, have a long hot bath.

So why wouldn't you have a day or two off while you in your menstrual phase? It makes sense, and it's nothing to do with pain, or productivity when you feel like crap. It is about taking a day to reflect and show yourself some self care - but sure as you wee every morning - if you work to your cycle, you are going to be SO much more productive than the average person for the remainder of your cycle.