artisan wellbeing is a blog to inspire small business creatives how to merge their unique visions with sustainable wellbeing practises.

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The female economy - building your cycle into the business model

The word equality has been abused. It has an underlying assumption that men and women should be treated the same, not equal. To be treated equal would presume that each sex is given an opportunity to operate according to their innate nature, not to change their nature.

We should get paid for the same job that men are doing. In the current climate, with how we view ourselves, that's a more than fair statement. However, I propose to extend the discussion further. I believe we haven't created the right environment to begin with that honours how our biology works. There is room to move with this momentum that has been created in a more direct way and that's creating a female economy, an economy that moves like a woman. 

Health and wellbeing is one of the biggest growing economies of our times and women have a foothold in it. (The yoga industry is worth $27 billion!) Another one is the kids economy, worth $87 billion worldwide, mostly purchased by women. Cosmetics, household design, fashion. The point being that there is already an established spending focused towards women.

So where are the women business owners selling to women? Without that, our driver is testosterone.

As Vanessa Friedman, the New York Times fashion critic, noted, fewer than 20% of the 91 brands on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule have female creative directors. “Where are the women?” she asked. They’re not just missing from the upper echelons of big fashion houses, but also as successful heads of their own independent labels.
— Source: Quartz Media (www.qz.com) "Even in 2015 the designers of womens clothing are mostly men".

Merging your menstrual cycle with business

I have worked with female reproductive issues. I have healed my own reproductive issues. I have helped women to get pregnant. All by honouring how their cycles work.

Personally I suffered severe cramping until I started my own healing through Ayurveda. The main change I needed to make was to slow down during my menstruation phase. Something as simple as this stopped all pain to the point that I have never relied on pain medication since. My flow was better, and the timing was more consistent. I used to dislike my cycle and I have heard other women complain about that time of the month. However, when things flow well in that area, a whole new world opens up. It's the gateway to deeper intuition, releasing of excess heat through the blood, a cleansing of a culmination of thoughts.  When you bleed well, you feel amazing at the end of the cycle, like a mini cleanse.

I attended a lecture on planning at the WDS in Portland, OR by Mike Vardy. The lecture was excellent, guiding us to create a weekly planner that was thematic, such as Monday is Admin day. His premise, geared towards a bunch of eager business owners and wannabees, was to understand how your personality works and organise yourself, consistently, on getting shit done. He believes it's easier to have one theme going for the day for the mind to focus in, rather than jumping all over the place.

However, I asked him how to factor in the female cycle. Crickets.

Fair enough - the start up world is mostly coveted by men and on Mike's page are testimonials mostly from male business owners. His page is definitely worth a look - he's a wonderful, down to earth, engaging speaker and I highly recommend his service.

But even with things like this, there's always something missing, for us. 

So, how do we factor in our cycle into a 9-5 world between Monday - Friday?

The Menstrual Budget - planning your month

There are two obvious phases of a cycle - ovulation and menstruation.

Ovulation is the pinnacle of hormones expressing a passionate desire to merge with sperm to create a child. When we are healthy and relaxed the desire for sex is strong and there is great creative energy. Your sense of smell is heightened, your thinking is clearer, there is more energy - this is a time of Pitta which gives heat to the body for the transformation to occur. It inspires passion and focus and is a good time to check off the to-do list. 

The Pitta dosha is responsible for transformation. It is also a visionary, having the super power to see the truth. Those with Pitta in their body type or as an imbalance will feel this time most acutely. If imbalanced, this time could result in excess intensity, arguments, irritability, and a lack of compassion for others that don't have the tunnel vision going on. So it is important to understand the balanced state of where you want to get to, rather than turning into a competitive vixen out to cull any females in a 100 metre radius.

Menstruation happens when the egg released doesn't have the opportunity to fertilise. It's a downward spiral and the energy in the body is slowly pulling gravity downwards. If you allow your workload and commitments to slow down alongside, you go with the flow and there is little repercussion. If the mind chooses to go into full swing and go against the energy, then the body reacts by trying to compete with pulling it downwards. Result can be pain, irritability, headaches, backaches, and other symptoms.

This time is best used to review, write, go inwards, get creative ideas - get the whiteboard out and imagine new ways for your business to thrive. The amount of slow down depends on your body type and it's worth understanding your limitations in this area. There is no need to go away and hide (unless you're healing), however creating a practise of inward retreat sets up the next month more powerfully. And you are more intuitive during this time which is an innate skill woman possess and are not utilising if their menstruation is suppressed.

Being ok with the up and down swings can be used in our benefit, if you know how to prepare for them.

Scheduling from the Inside

Following Mike Vardy's idea of creating a theme to be productive, I recommend first getting to know how your menstrual cycle works for you. I have learnt to view it from the Ayurvedic lens, which gives me a language to  observe my doshic make up and then how that plays out during the monthly cycle. 

From this point, you can determine how much vitality you have at ovulation or rest you need during menstruation. Any opportunities, such as business meetings or launches, can be clustered around the ovulation time. Anything like website updates, writing, employee assessments, and so on can be clustered around menstruation. 

You would then get used to allocating the event when it arises according to the nature of it.

From this, reviewing how Vardy's thematic planning idea could work - if Monday is Admin day, for instance, then the Admin days would vary according to your cycle. You might leave the accounting books until menstruation as it's an inward activity checking off receipts and such. And you may make those calls to supplier and negotiate with a bank manager around ovulation time.

Not everyone's schedule can work with yours. And depending on the food chain you're in, you might find yourself working around others' schedule to begin with.  It all has to do with your immunity. When it's strong - you affect others. When it is weak - you are effected.

When your self confidence rises in what you do, you will have the innate power to create the world your business lives in. It is of prime importance, therefore, that you consider well being an asset on the books. It will be the driver for the world you will want to create. The idea of owning a business shouldn't just be about the creative output, but the long term lifestyle that comes with it.  Ideally you won't have to create bags under your eyes getting there.

As women we get stronger as we get older but as long as we observe our cycle and learn how to dance with it. We are creators and we can change the way the world works reconnecting back to the greater nature by honouring our wax/wane nature. 

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