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How old were you when you learned that your menstrual cycle had phases? And those phases, when tracked and studied on a personal level, can unlock some pretty mind blowing productivity and wellness changes? Were you *today* years old? Yeah, I spent most of my menstruating life not knowing anything in-depth about my cycle.
We’ve had a period coach educator on the show before and it’s clear — you’re a big fan of learning about your body and understanding your cycle in a way to help you do more and do better in business. If you are someone who menstruates, Berrion Berry is about to become your new BFF. She’s the creator of the The Flo Academy, educating people on holistic menstrual health. She helps her clients understand and harness the power of their cycle to increase energy, enhance their mood, and alleviate PMS naturally. If THAT sounds like something you could get on board with, then it’s time for you to meet Berrion Berry.
How it All Started
Berrion started her work in the holistic health space in 2017 after leaving corporate America. She was determined to become an influencer and help other people take control of their health. “Little did I know, Instagram was not as easy as everyone made it look,” Berrion laughed.
As she focused on her business, she kept niching down until she found the area that she was most passionate about. It actually spurred from a conversation on her own podcast in which the guest told her that periods should not be painful. Berrion was kind of surprised, because her whole life she experienced an unpleasant and miserable period. She felt like she’d been lied to.
Now, she’s niched down to focus on women’s health and period health. Berrion is pioneering her own movement within the space and educating women about their bodies and cycles.
The Education Gap
As people who mensturate, we might get one form of education about our cycles either from school or a parent or an older sibling… But there’s a gap between what we learn as preteens either formally or informally, and what else is actually going on with our bodies.
“We’re taught a narrative that periods equal pain,” Berrion explained. “They also teach us that our cycle is 28 days but they only teach us about the days we’re bleeding. What we should be taught is every single phase of the cycle, because it becomes a blueprint for us to truly follow. However, most of us don’t know it’s a blueprint that we can follow.”
That blueprint is covered in-depth in an earlier episode of The Goal Digger Podcast with Claire Baker. Berrion gave a refresher course in this episode. In general, there are two weeks of high energy, high output external focus. Then there are two week of low energy, low output internal focus. The first day of your cycle is your period and that begins your menstrual phase. Hit play on this episode about to hear the refresher on the menstrual phases.
Aligning Your Phases for Business
One of the things Berrion is so gifted at teaching (and doing for herself) is aligning the different phases with various parts of her entrepreneurial life.
“Our brain changes throughout the menstrual cycle, and our hormones tell our body how it’s going to work and twerk. I just like to keep it real!” Berrion chuckled.
Berrion explained that during menstruation there’s actually 25% more connectivity between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This is a perfect time for ideation and brainstorming. “As an entrepreneur, this is what you want to do. Write down all the new things you want to accomplish… Get them out of your head,” she continued, “Your body is physically releasing, so your brain also wants to release, too. That’s a good time for all of the ideas.”
Then, post-period and pre-ovulation, “This is what I like to call my creation time. We want to do strategic planning and detail oriented work. What most people don’t know is that our limbic brain, which is our emotional brain, it kind of goes down and turns off. It won’t be as high functioning as it is during other phases.”
“When we’re ovulating, that’s execution time, that’s communication time,” Berrion continued, “Because of the surge in hormones, because of the surge in energy, let’s get things done and let’s make that vision come to life.”
Finally, in the luteal phase, scale back and evaluate. This phase is great for analyzing the work you’ve created during your more productive and execution-focused phases. Once this is over, you’re back to the beginning of your cycle again.
Three Days Off
“I am so unapologetic about boundaries,” Berrion explained. “But it’s also followed by integrity and generosity.”
Berrion takes off three days each month as vacation days to prepare her body to release in the way it needs to. The three days fall on the day before her period, the first day of her period, and the second day of her period. She doesn’t answer emails, interact on social media, or even really touch her phone. “I focus on me. Why? It actually allows me to do the inner work that I need to be doing.”
Giving herself those three days is about taking care of herself because she understands that if she doesn’t, everyone else is going to be paying for it. Berrion said, “By day 4, I’m back better than ever because I’ve allowed myself the grace and space to do what I like to call ‘bleed and be.’”
Cycle and Hormonal Birth Control
Many people who use hormonal contraception for one reason or another have questions about their cycle and phases, and how it looks different when hormonal birth control is in the mix. I asked Berrion about this and she responded, “Girl, you just opened up a can of worms!” So let’s dig into that.
The most important thing to understand is that if you are on hormonal birth control, you are not having a regular period. You are having a withdrawal bleed. Hormonal birth control actually stops the communication between your brain and your ovaries, which is abnormal. Your cycle, without hormonal birth control, starts in your brain.
“There’s no hormonal connection that we can use science with,” Berrion explained. However, she explained that you can tune into emotions and feelings, notice the changes in your bloating and water retention, and draw that comparison between the phases of a typical cycle and what you experience on hormonal birth control.
Nutrition Support for your Cycle
Throughout your menstrual cycle your metabolism changes, and your body gives you cues as to what it needs during a particular phase.
Finding yourself wanting to eat all the chocolate within arms reach? While you might write it off as just a chocolate craving, Berrion explained that chocolate is actually a signal for magnesium. Instead of reaching for chocolate, Berrion recommends eating something with cacao because it gives your brain the fix that it craves while also delivering antioxidants and magnesium that your body needs.
There are different recommendations for each phase of the cycle, however, Berrion said the simple rule to remember is protein, healthy fats, and fiber are important at every single meal. Then, you can focus on the more specific needs for each phase, such as complex carbohydrates and iron during your actual menstruation.
More from Berrion Berry
Want to learn more from Berrion Berry? Press play on the episode above or tune in on your favorite podcast app. Find Berrion on Instagram @berrionlberry and at @thefloacademy. Berrion is also a podcaster, and you can listen to her show, Flow with Berrion Berry, wherever you listen to this podcast. Download Berrion’s PMS Cheatsheet and don’t forget to contact her online if you’re interested in learning more about your cycle and your body.