Honoring the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
What if I told you that the phases of the menstrual cycle each have their own special and unique strengths? Or that you can do different things to support each phase of your cycle in order to optimize your health and potential?
This isn’t something that’s discussed when we learn about our body or our period as young girls. And it’s certainly not how our culture portrays the menstrual cycle. But, it’s true!
As cycling women, we have four distinct phases to our cycles, with different energies and gifts that allow us to access certain skills with more efficiency, clarity, and ease during each phase. With some planning, you can learn to sync certain aspects of your life with your cycle, which helps to optimize your energy, health, and strengths.
By coordinating the phases of your cycle with your work, family, and personal life, you can manage your energy throughout the month in a way that allows you to feel one step ahead instead of always behind. This process teaches you to listen to your body and be discerning in how much you take on and when.
When you learn to honor the phases of your menstrual cycle, you’re given the opportunity to live with more contentment and balance in your life and achieve your goals with greater ease.
Many women in our culture are simply surviving, pushing through their days exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious about getting “everything” done. Honoring your cycle can allow you to thrive in your work, as a mother, and in your relationships… not just survive!
Your Infradian Rhythm
An infradian rhythm is defined by The Merriam Webster Dictionary as “being, characterized by, or occurring in periods or cycles (as of biological activity) of more than 24 hours.”
The menstrual cycle is roughly a 28-day infradian rhythm that women of reproductive years experience monthly.
During this monthly rhythm, there’s an optimum time for playing, exploring, and initiating. Then comes the time for socializing, networking, and connecting. After that is the ideal time to be creative and do deep work. At the end of the cycle, there’s a time to rest, reflect, restore, and renew so that you’re ready to start the next cycle fresh and re-energized.
As you read about the ideal activities and times, know that these are the optimal times for most women. However, to truly honor your individual cycle, I invite you to start observing and making notes throughout the month. Notice things that come easier or that are more difficult during each phase.
At the end of each phase or the end of the month, look back and see what patterns you notice. These patterns are important for planning into the months ahead and identifying imbalances in your system. Scroll down to see more on getting started on this journey.
Here are a few tracking and planning tools that I use to track my cycle and plan each month. I use the first one to track the days of my cycle, the second to gather information about what’s happening in each phase, and the third to plan out the month ahead.
The Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
Each phase of the menstrual cycle corresponds with one of the four seasons, as well as one of the stages in a woman’s life. Let’s dive into a brief description of each phase to get an idea of the optimal times and gifts each one brings.
The Follicular Phase
The follicular phase is the beginning of the new energy cycle and begins when your period ends. It corresponds with the season of spring and the young maiden. This is a great time for initiating new projects, planning, and organizing for the month ahead. The follicular phase is an ideal time to be creative, try something new, explore, and have fun. It’s also a good time to complete and check things off of your to-do list, catching up from the more passive menstrual phase.
The Ovulatory Phase
The ovulatory phase corresponds with the high energy, outward focus, and connection of summer, as well as the nurturing mother energy. This is an outward time of increased social connection and improved communication. The ovulatory phase is a great time to network, plan social events, attend parties, and connect with family and friends.
The Luteal Phase
The luteal phase or the premenstrual phase comes after ovulation. This phase corresponds with the autumn season and the enchantress phase of life. The luteal phase has two parts and the first part of this phase has similar energies to the ovulatory phase.
During the second half, the focus shifts inward. This phase is the optimal time to do deep work and dive into creative projects at work, home, or artistically. During this phase, feelings and emotions may bubble to the surface and you might feel more sensitive. When this happens, take note as this is an opportunity to process these emotions and shed what is no longer serving you. This is a time when it’s easier to access your subconscious mind, making it a great time to gain clarity and shed emotional baggage.
The Menstrual Phase
The menstrual phase starts at the beginning of your bleed and lasts until your period stops. This phase is the end of the cycle and corresponds with the winter season and the crone stage of life. The menstrual phase is passive and has an inward focus.
Allowing yourself to rest, renew, and reflect on your month and life is invaluable and you may notice that your body is demanding this downtime. Especially for the first three days of the cycle, allowing yourself to rest as much as possible will boost your productivity as you enter into the new month and your next follicular phase.
This is also the optimal time to decide what intentions and seeds you’d like to plant as you enter into the next cycle.
Connection to Your Health
Choosing to live your life by honoring the phases of your menstrual cycle will boost your life in unbelievable ways. As you sync each phase of your cycle, you may notice that the way you deal with stress, your resiliency, and your energy levels are much stronger and more balanced.
Stress has a major impact on your digestive health which directly impacts your immune system, your hormonal system, and your physical and mental well-being overall. Minimizing and managing your stress can improve your health in incredible ways and is an important aspect of healing.
Living in a state of fight or flight (with constant anxiety, overwhelm, and chronic stress) affects the gut-brain connection via the vagus nerve which is the major connection between the gut and the brain. As this connection is disrupted, you may begin to notice a plethora of physical and mental health challenges.
Here are some more free resources that might be helpful for you on your healing journey:
Click here to get a free download discussing a variety of ways to decrease stress in your life.
Getting Started Syncing the Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle
I’m a realist and I know from experience for myself and with my clients, that implementing new lifestyle routines, rhythms, and habits take time. The goal is not perfection. The goal is to tune into what works for you and to take sustainable action one step at a time. These small consistent steps cumulatively will add up to profound changes over time.
If you’re ready to dive in, go for it! But, please don’t stress yourself out and try to let go of any expectations of perfection. That mindset is counterproductive as it will add more stress and take away from honoring your cycle and yourself.
A gentle way to begin to honor your cycle is simply to start tracking and observing what’s happening throughout the month. This may be all that you do for the first month. In the second month, maybe you add in one thing that supports each phase. The next month add another and so on.
FREEBIES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED TRACKING & PLANNING YOUR CYCLE
Click here to get a few free worksheets that you can use to get started. I hope these are helpful as you embark on this journey of cultivating awareness and honoring the phases of your menstrual cycle.
If you like this post, be on the lookout for more information about how to honor your menstrual cycle and what you can do during each phase. So you don’t miss a thing, sign up for my email list here. I’ll send you biweekly tips and recipes, so you can be on your way to vibrant health and a life full of vitality.
I hope this has been empowering and inspiring and I look forward to sharing more on this topic soon!