If you’ve noticed lately that you’ve had exceedingly long cycles, you’re not alone. As a casual experiment, during your next zoom office meeting, you may even want to ask a few of your closest coworkers whether they, too, have noticed that they’ve had long cycles recently. Then prepare for a long awkward silence . . . before women burst into nervous giggles.

The phenomenon of these type of cycles is known as “stress-induced delayed ovulation” and often occurs when women are experiencing unusual circumstances, often beyond their control. Um, Covid-19 come to mind, anyone? For all of us alive today, we are living in unprecedented times. At this point, it’s cliché to list all the ways that this nasty virus is impacting our lives, but you can be sure that one way that most people haven’t thought about is the way it is likely wreaking havoc on scores of women’s cycles.

Stress is one of the most common causes of delayed ovulation. But the beauty of charting temperatures is that it can give you a sneak preview of how long your cycle will ultimately be, simply by observing when the temperature rises. Once your temperature shifts, it will remain basically the same length from the rise until your period. So, for example, if you have a lot of stress leading up to the release of your egg, you may experience a delayed ovulation that will be reflected in a late thermal shift. In such a case, you will still be able to count ahead to determine when you will menstruate, even though it will be a longer cycle than usual.

So there you go. One practical little tidbit that you can use to feel a modicum of control in an otherwise surreal time in your life. Please stay healthy and safe, and hope that this will be but an extended phase in all of our lives.