What would you do differently if you could predict when your body was more prone to stress and anxiety? Or if you could predict when you would be at your creative peak? If you could know exactly when you will want to retreat into your own thoughts and reflect.
This is where menstrual cycle syncing begins. Cycle syncing is the idea that by aligning exercise, work, self-care, and what you eat with your menstrual cycle, you can really understand your body and maximise your health and wellbeing.
Understanding your cycle
The first step to cycle syncing is understanding your menstrual cycle. This can be a little tricky since it’s not like most people take the time to learn about their own bodies on a regular basis. The good news is that there are plenty of resources out there that can help you figure out what’s going on with your body. For example, many apps will track certain aspects of your menstruation, including the length of flow and the length between cycles. If you don’t have an app handy (or if you’re feeling old-fashioned), there are plenty of online resources as well!
Your menstrual cycle has four stages. Winter (menstruation), Spring (follicular), Summer (ovulation) and Autumn (luteal).
Winter (menstruation): Cycle days 1-5
Your winter phase is your period. Day 1 is your first day of full bleeding. Your hormones are at their lowest levels of the entire cycle here. Because of this, you’ll likely be at your lowest energy levels and crave rest, alone time, and going inward.
“All females deserve menstrual well-being, and that includes knowledge and reassurance about her body from the earliest possible age.”Nikki Tajiri
Winter is a time for retreating and prioritising self-care as much as possible. Go gently with exercise, sleep more, and let go. It’s time to push the restart button and set intentions for the new cycle you just began.
You likely won’t feel like a social butterfly in this phase. If you do see people, you may want to surround yourself with people who don’t drain your energy. Try taking a break from social media during your winter as well. Because winter is a time for going inward, comparing yourself to others on social media can be disruptive.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of retreating completely from our daily lives while we’re on our periods, so the key is to prioritise. Ask yourself, what items are absolutely essential to get done in the next few days? How can you take care of yourself and slow down in your winter?
If you don’t allow yourself to slow down and take time for yourself in your winter, your spring and summer phases can feel overwhelming.
Be intentional about taking even 10 minutes a day during your winter to rest, it will make a world of difference later in your cycle. See my post on simple self care ideas for mothers.
Spring (follicular): Cycle Days 6-12
During Follicular Phase, your body is preparing for ovulation. This means that estrogen levels are steadily rising in preparation for ovulation. We have a slight testosterone boost before summer that keeps us feeling strong and energetic.
Your Spring phase is all about renewed energy in all areas of your life. It’s a great time to re-commit to past goals and intentions. Spring is also the perfect time for an indulgent massage or spa day or cleaning up your space (think – Spring clean).
You’ll likely start to feel the pull to be more social during your Spring phase. Because oestrogen is rising in this phase, you’ll be feeling more energetic and excited to spend time with loved ones. This is the perfect time to start new projects, experiment with ideas and be open to learning new skills and ideas.
It can be tempting to want to do all the things when you feel your energy return after your Winter phase, but it’s important to be mindful of not doing too much, too soon. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burned out here ahead of your Summer phase.
Summer (ovulation): Cycle Days 13–18
Ovulation occurs somewhere between days 12-16. Estrogen peaks and you also have an extra boost of testosterone. This is the time when your body will be most fertile, which means it’s the time when you are most likely to conceive!
You’ll feel like a total superwoman at this point in your cycle. Your energy levels soar, and you’re probably doing things that require more physical stamina than usual (like working out or cleaning).
You may find an increase in your libido – your body wants to make a baby (even though you might not). This is the best time to get pregnant and it’s also the start of your ovulation cycle. You may feel more relaxed, happy and energetic than usual during this period, which can be attributed to the release of dopamine in your brain.
Positive self-talk is easier during your summer phase and you’ll feel more resilient. Doing creative projects and expressing your love and appreciation for loved ones at this point in the cycle can be life-giving (literally)
You could extra summer energy to prepare for your upcoming autumn season. Try to take some things off your list for the upcoming few weeks. If there’s something that can be done ahead of time, try to do it during your Summer phase. You will thank yourself when you aren’t feeling as energetic in your Autumn and Winter phases.
Autumn (luteal phase): Cycle Days 19-28
The autumn phase is not only a time of rest and recovery, but it can also be a time of increased stress (this is your body’s PMS’ phase. As you enter the luteal phase, your body begins to release melatonin and other hormones that signal your body that it’s time to slow down and prepare for winter. This may lead you to feel an increase in fatigue or low energy levels.
During this phase, you may want to spend more time alone. Self-care is paramount in your autumn phase. Try journalling about the emotions that come up this week. They might feel easier to manage this way and you will feel more in control.
You could also focus on positive self-talk. Affirmations like
- “I love myself; I love my body; I love my mind; I love who I am”
- “My body is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing”
Ultimately, the goal is self-care and prioritising your physical and mental wellbeing. So put you first, no guilt. Listen to your body as it takes you into another Winter phase.
Listen to your body for prime health and wellbeing
Your menstrual cycle is a tool for you to know how to connect to yourself, stay aware of your body’s needs, and optimise your health and wellness potential. When we are in tune with our own bodies, it becomes easy to identify when we need a break from strenuous tasks or changes in diet. By connecting with your menstrual cycle, you can listen for the subtle signals that let you know when it’s time for some self-care.
You can use your menstrual cycle as a tool to know how to connect to yourself and maximise your health and wellness potential. Women do not need to be slaves to their hormones.
You can use your menstrual cycle as a tool to know how to connect to yourself and maximise your health and wellness potential. Women do not need to be slaves to their hormones. Menstruation is a natural process that happens in every woman’s life, but it shouldn’t be viewed as something that limits you or holds you back.
There are many ways you can use this information to help improve your life, including balancing out hormone levels, understanding how certain foods affect those levels and choosing healthy foods based on the way they make you feel during different cycles of the month.
Although your menstrual cycle is completely natural and normal, it can still be hard to understand. There are so many myths surrounding women’s health that it can be difficult to find the truth. The truth is that your hormones have a huge impact on your well-being, but there is no need for them to control every aspect of your life. The female body is an amazing and complex thing – and by paying attention to our body and its needs we can work with the body instead of against it.