Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Optimized Woman

 (Link to Amazon page)

I have read a handful of other books about how a woman's body changes throughout the month, and I am always fascinated by the idea of this cyclical fluctuation and how it effects me. I found Miranda's take on the cycle to be very thought provoking. I really enjoyed reading about her Optimal Times, and found that the wording to be great. Sometimes I find books that talk about menstruation either end up very clinical or very woowoo (witch sometimes makes it hard for other people to take seriously). But the terms Miranda used were ones that I think I could easily use when talking to someone who hadn't read the book and they would understand me with a minimal amount of explaining.

The book starts off explaining the concept of Optimal Times: basically that your cycle can be broken down into four quarters and each one you have different strengths and weaknesses. As a woman, I know that I definitely have always thought of menstrual time as effecting my life, but I hadn't thought much about how I might change during the rest of the month. Each of the four Optimal Times is explained, and the strengths and weaknesses are explored. Miranda talks about why each time is good for certain things, using lots of easy to relate to examples. When a phase is weak in one area, but another phase is strong, she points out when certain activities would be better suited.

But she also explains how to work around these ebbs and flows for when you may not be able to do things in their Optimal Time. And I think that is a very important thing, because we can't all arrange our schedules as we may like to. Knowing how to deal with times where we may struggle with things is an invaluable tool.

Another thing I really appreciated was that she really kept the greater picture in mind. Each Optimum time was not only examined for what it shined at, but also for the role it played in the cycle as a whole. As I read, a fuller picture emerged, and I really saw how she was creating this flow over the course of the four Times that could be used to take a project from the start through to the end, with each Time supporting the others. I am definitely looking forward to working with this concept more.

Where this book shines is in the plan that is laid out for me to follow. It gives 28 days worth of activities in three different categories (well-being, goal achievement and work enhancement). Each day's description starts with an overview of how that particular day fits into it's larger Optimum Time. Then the three suggested activities are explained. These activities give several options for things that are particularly suited for this part of your cycle.

Miranda also addresses how to adjust the plan to match your own personal rhythm. As each woman is an individual, we won't all fit into a 28 day plan. And even more than that, some of us may spend more or less time in each of the four Time's (one woman may spend almost two weeks in one phase but only a couple of days in another), and she explains how to adjust the plan to accommodate this. Not only does this mean that every woman can hand tailor the plan to fit their own cycle, but also that if you find your times slightly off this month from where they were last month, you can adapt the plan to fit where you are.

I am really excited about trying out the plan and the activities contained in this book. I think it is very easy to understand, and yet has so much room for depth. I love how she keeps reminding us that the more we pay attention to how our bodies feel, the more we will be able to make the most use of the incredible talents we have at our very fingertips. I think that is one of the things I really find wonderful about the plan is that each month we can focus on a new project or goal and build towards it, so we don't feel like we are doing the same thing over and over.

I think that if you are a woman that is looking for more insight into your body and how to be happy and fulfilled in your life that this book is well worth looking into. I also thought it was great that she included a chapter for men who were interested in better understanding the women in their lives and how they might better interact and support them at different times.


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