Harnessing the motivation to be creative (by following your cycle)

My husband laughs at the tower of clean laundry I crowd into the living room once a week. I gradually queue it up in the basement then spend an evening instagramming my full baskets, watching a movie, sorting laundry and protecting my whiskey glass from tipping over between the sock piles.

mom feeling creative 'by following your monthly cycle'

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Why should we pay attention to our cycles?

I recently read WomanCode, a book all about our menstrual cycles. Yes, I’m as exciting in real life as I am on paper. It outlines the necessity of paying attention to our bodies and our cycles and living life differently depending on where we are in our cycle. It made me rethink the ‘burden’ of periods, the ‘downsides’ of having ovaries, etc.

This book spurred me to pay avid attention to my mood and body throughout the month, and I’ve noticed a certain cycle. Other than the obvious. I call it the creative peril-passion cycle. Actually, I don’t, just made that up, but it gives you a heads up of where I am going.


The Peril-Passion Cycle

PASSION AKA I have awesome ideas and I want to make them happen NOW

It seems there is a certain time of the month where I am wildly creative.

I stay up late to write a post that I just thought of at 10pm.

I put in a frozen dinner instead of cooking those Lentil Bean Burgers from Thug Kitchen (try them, they are lovely) – all because I have this giant surge of brain ideas that needs to be dump trucked into my laptop RIGHT at 4pm

This is currently happening, I just pulled up chicken pot pies from the freezer and my kids are squealing with excitement that I’m not serving more beans.

I might also be binging in other ways, like eating all the nachos and salsa I stocked up on at Costco, and power reading For The Love (one of my favourite books, every woman must read this one.) 

sanding the spare room walls and podcasting
sanding walls and listening to podcasts at 8pm because I FEEL MOTIVATED TO DO IT!

This is a time of motivation and ideas and energy. If you come by my house I will probably be in sweats with one earbud in listening to a podcast, and the other listening for kids as they follow me along and do whatever looks fun to them.  

It is a time of motivation and I fuel that motivation and respond to it with action. 

Because I know there is a downside to this cycle.


PERIL AKA all my ideas suck and I want to shut it all down 

Come two weeks from now I will be face down into my arms sobbing that all my ideas suck.  I will consider deleting my blog and want to throw my computer into the river, or at least a dramatic reenactment of that.

I will be eating all the ‘snacking’ chocolate I stocked up on at Costco and googling the premiere date for the new season of Outlander (like if I just keep googling it I will change the outcome..?).

There will be no indulgence, only indolence in my creative endeavours.

This is the peril portion.

It is back to vegan dinners (to counteract my chocolate snacking shame), Netflixing like it’s a paid position, and feeling like a talentless fraud while also trying to still be a fun and present mom. Conor is a big fan of these couple days of fun!

I used to feel really embarrassed by these days. I didn’t understand why I felt down and frustrated. So naturally, I blamed things OUTSIDE of me (like how hard mothering is, or looked for a reason my husband was to blame). Paying attention to my emotions and thoughts on these days has really freed me to remember that this is a normal cycle, that I don’t have to run off with all the negative chatter my brain gives me, and I know it will be over (and that I will be glad I didn’t drown my laptop)



Some of what WomanCode taught me is that balance is sometimes a long-term thing instead of a daily thing. I love how the author put it – that we are ingrained with this sense of a daily cycle to our lives, but women really operate on a monthly cycle.

It can be liberating to crest and fall with this cycle.  Rather than stressing about fitting it all into a DAY, you can fit it into your MONTH.

It can be valuable to pay attention to what is happening in your body, mind and heart and avoid pressing the delete button on life when you are in a week of lows and wasting your taste buds on salad greens. (Of course, if you think you might be at risk of depression talk to your doctor about it, because we need to take care of ourselves ladies – instead of just ‘waiting it out’ each month – you deserve more than that.)

Gretchen Rubin says ‘what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while’ and I think there is value in that. We need discipline in our lives to keep us healthy and proactive. But sometimes the things we really love doing get pushed out in all this daily routine.

So my new motto is ‘when the mood strikes’ because when we really crave to do something and never do it, it is a slow little death in our hearts. 

Getting shit done and done well means

1. starting,

2. immersing in it and

3. completing it.

I think we all shine in one of these areas but the other two, meh….oh! a new season of the Mindy Project is out!…

So ‘when the mood strikes’ cupboards are emptied, fingers are clacking, the midnight oil is burned, it’s waffles for dinner and housework goes to the back burner. We can immerse ourselves into our endeavours and bring them to completion.  Even if it is making the most glorious spreadsheet excel has ever seen, or planning a four-course dinner party, or painting a bedroom wall. Whatever you feel motivated to create and bring to life, DO IT!

We all need to be a bit more passionate in living life and without the time and space to make it happen, we just need to go for it ‘when the mood strikes’. 

Love Shawna, Your Nerdy Girlfriend + Life Coach who is doing ten loads of laundry tonight.

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