Period Emergency Plan
In an ideal world, I’d never need to enact my Period Emergency Plan.
I’d start my Day 1 at home, hot water bottle on my belly, dictaphone by my side as I wade through delicious research I’d been carefully putting aside all month.
My calendar would already be clear of all major meetings, scheduled instead for Day 5 onwards.
My extra childcare plan would already be in place, and I’d have a selection of handcooked meals in the freezer ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.
When I look out the window, the sun would be shining on my empty washing line because I would be totally up to date with all my laundry.
And because I’d done all the work throughout my cycle to create this wonderful space to let my body do what it does best, I’d be able to really sink into my Seedling menstrual superpower.
With my Seedling Journal by my side I’d be industriously writing down all my new business ideas with colour-coded markers and those little cute post-it flags.
But… (cue Jaws music).
What happens when my period arrives EARLY?
Caught unawares with a diary full of appointments, no food in the house, plus my dad’s eulogy to write AND deliver?
(cue escalation of Jaws music).
Not to mention the piles of laundry, the work emails yet to write, the overdue haircut I still hadn’t booked in?
(cue full orchestra of Jaws music!).
Plus last minute flights to book, an early morning plane to catch, and tears spurting from my face regularly and most unexpectedly?
Well, this happened to me at my last cycle.
My father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease had been anticipated for 13 years, but the actual date was still a shock – and then my period arrived 4 days early.
What did I do?
After checking my 2019 Cycles Calendar for the 17th time, I conceded that the blood in my knickers was probably a better barometer than my meticulous tracking, and so I went on to enact my Period Emergency Plan.
My Period Emergency Plan (PEP) is enacted each time my actual menstrual cycle arrives differently to my planned cycle, and looks like a bit like this:
Step 1: Breathe
I’ve totally got this.
I remind myself that I’ve got a lot of credits in the menstrual superpowers vault.
I’ve lived by my menstrual superpowers for so long now – each day changing my workflow to only using my superpowers when they come naturally and easily.
This means my menstrual superpowers arrive from a place of being deeply resourced – and I knew I had them available now to draw on in an emergency.
So yes… breathe.
Step 2: Preparation
My talent for preparation has always been my superpower and it’s fascinating how often it follows the same stages as the menstrual cycle.
When I pulled out my notes for my dad’s eulogy (I started writing it a year ago), I realised I’d already done some good groundwork and I was actually now in the Spreadsheet phase of my presentation.
While it’s always easy to write loads of notes in the exciting and creative Seedling stage, or tinker on the Strategy phase, Spreadsheet can sometimes feel like the most uneventful part of a project – but it’s just work.
And that was actually quite perfect in my stage of grief.
Time to roll up my sleeves, do the work in finessing the layout before Showtime.
Step 3: Trust
Trusting in ambiguity during Showtime is sometimes a difficult ask for me, particularly when I feel like all my carefully laid plans have gone awry, or when my reputation is on the line… or when I’m worried I’m going to spurt tears and nose juice all over the microphone.
To overcome this, I trust in what I know.
I trust I have solid speaking skills after years of practicing.
I trust I am a good improviser (actually you are too – it’s what we all do every day of our lives).
I trust I am passionate about my topic and that translates into an authenticity that’s compelling.
I trust my audience wants me to succeed – watching a speaker fail is incredibly uncomfortable for an audience, and everyone is looking for a win/win scenario.
Step 4: Delegate / do less / outsource
I had to remind myself that I was bleeding, and even though I didn’t have all my usual plans in place, the basics still stand.
While I couldn’t shift the date of my keynote presentation (hello! It’s a eulogy! The dead don’t wait for no one!), I could shift all the other work that was stopping me from prioritising the work.
So that meant:
- Rescheduling non-critical meetings.
- Implementing a 3 day out of office on my email to manage client expectations.
- Working on one urgent project at a time (my self-doubt is low when I am bleeding – BONUS! So I used this energy to focus and finish).
- Calling on my husband / in-laws / neighbour / nanny to provide extra support with childcare.
- Only doing absolutely critical laundry.
- Ordering takeaways / making eggs on toast for dinner.
- Opting out of the family meetings over every single funeral detail (my area of genius is definitely NOT how many toilet rolls are needed for 140 people)
- Regular rests during the day – set my alarm for 20 minutes, lay on the floor, close my eyes, do nothing… rest.
Step 5: Rest
I know I’m repeating myself.
Because I need to be told twice to rest – and I bet you do too, Corporate Wonder Woman.
I did only what I needed to do to get me through this period, because I knew all the rest could wait – but my rest couldn’t.
So there we have it – the Period Emergency Plan I recently enacted.
And while I know a last minute dash across the Tasman, a funeral and a eulogy are unlikely circumstances to present again anytime soon, my PEP is still here to remind me how I managed it all in my darkest hour.
Because I know I can draw on this Period Emergency Plan again one day.
Because I know when I live according to my natural daily rhythm, I’m also storing excess superpowers into my reserves.
Because I know my menstrual superpowers are always ready to serve me in any emergency.
Even when I’m carrying his coffin and saying my last gut-wrenching goodbye.
Rest in Peace Daddy. May you recognise me when we next meet.
If you would like support for Alzheimer’s Disease, I highly recommend the educational services available at Dementia Australia.
For more information on Menstrual Superpowers, you can download the 2019 Cycles Calendar here by signing up to my newsletter – it’s a complimentary digital download.
Or, you can send me $25 on Paypal and I’ll a pop a professionally and sustainably printed copy (it’s on recycled paper – SWOON!) in the post to you.
For information on my Menstrual Superpowers Coaching Services, please visit my Services Page.
Menstrual Superpowers Leadership Coach
In 2016, after nearly 2 decades working in corporate, I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. Designed to celebrate the cycles (lunar, menstrual + seasonal) I also loved interviewing imaginative women in inspirational careers. Now, I'm a Life Coach + I support Corporate Wonder Women just like you, to explore + harness your own Menstrual Superpowers. When a client discovers her Menstrual Superpowers + plays to her strengths on these days, her corporate life + home life transform. She is more productive, more inspirational, more creative + more rested. Yup. All of it.
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Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis