Starting to hear about this idea of using your menstrual cycle to be more productive and in tune with yourself, but have no idea where to begin?
How to Live Intentionally With Your Menstrual Cycle
It can be a bit overwhelming to try and learn everything about your cycle, when you might not have been taught a whole lot about this early on. You’ve been figuring it out along the way and it feels like a lot to try and tackle learning this aspect of it.
This will give you a quick guide for getting started in a way that’s simple and easy to follow. At the end, I will list out some of my favorite books, period experts, and podcasts for you to check out if you’d like.
Before we jump in, why does this matter?
Our society is designed to operate in a 24 hour cycle, which happens to be how male hormone levels operate. Their testosterone peaks in the morning, they have energy early on in their day, their energy begins to wane in the afternoon, and drops off in the evening. The next day, it starts over.
However, that’s not how women operate. Women operate in a 28-ish day cycle. Throughout those 28 days, our hormones change and our energy level changes. We experience fluctuations that reflect the seasons, and that is the best way that I’ve learned to understand how our cycle works. That’s how I’ll explain it here.
Winter – Menstrual Phase
This is when we bleed and also when we have the lowest energy. Likely, you find yourself wanting to cuddle up, relax on the couch, take it easy, and not be out and about doing a whole lot. What’s interesting about this phase is that while your body is low on energy, your brain is actually super engaged. It’s during this phase that both sides of your brain are active so you might find that you have lots of ideas or gain quite a bit of clarity during this phase.
Take this time to jot down some notes, get out your ideas, and be aware of some decisions that you are wanting to make. Use this season to see if you feel particularly drawn to a specific direction.
Spring – Follicular Phase
You know that feeling when winter ends and spring begins to emerge? You feel more alive, more open, more excited to get outside. That’s what happens here. You have more energy, feel ready to be around people again, and are able to get back to work implementing those ideas that you had in your winter phase.
Use this time to begin taking more action, do the workout class that seems fun, and try new things that you’ve been wanting to experiment with.
Summer – Ovulation Phase
The peak of the menstrual cycle is actually ovulation, not menstruation. Because technically, the purpose of the cycle is for reproduction. Whether or not you choose to reproduce is totally up to you. The benefits of ovulation are quite great so let’s highlight those here. During this time, you will have the most energy, the most confidence, and you are most excited to be around people because your body is thinking, “I gotta get out there and meet all the people, particularly a partner to reproduce with”. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to do that, but that’s what your body is experiencing.
What you can do to harness that energy is to schedule time with friends, plan the events where you will be around people you love, teach a class, record several videos or episodes of your podcast, hop on Instagram Stories and share your ideas. This is when your communication is at its peak and you have the most fire within you to share what matters to you.
Fall – Luteal Phase
Once ovulation is complete, your energy will begin to dip. Think about how you feel after summer. The weather begins to cool down, you want to be inside a little more, you might notice that you want to get things in order, as it is back to school season. This is also when you begin to doubt yourself the most. That’s normal and perfectly okay. This is when we experience PMS – the tears seem to come out of nowhere, we are maybe a little snappier than usual, and we find that we want to quit everything. Just me? That doesn’t mean you should follow through on that and ditch everything you’ve got going on.
Instead, use this time to reflect, ask what’s working and what’s not, and what you’d like to do differently. Additionally, this is the time where you are more focused and have the ability to get things done that you’ve been putting off. This is when you’d make appointments, send the email you’ve been staring at for weeks, and wrap up the ideas that you had earlier on in your cycle.
How to Implement This
Step 1 – Begin to track your cycle.
You can start now or wait until the first day of your next period. Either way, begin to notice your energy each day. If you had to describe it in one word at the end of the day, what would you say? That’s a simple starting point that will allow you to see a pattern over time.
Step 2 – One phase at a time.
Don’t think you have to implement all of this during your next cycle. Instead, maybe try doing this with one phase. During your menstrual phase, allow yourself to rest a little more, spend time with a notebook instead of your phone, let your mind wander. During your ovulation phase, notice if you are feeling a little more confident, if you say things in a more bold way than you usually do, and if you are wanting to be around people more. Begin with one phase and see what you notice about yourself then.
Step 3 – Be open to what your body tells you.
Most importantly, this is simply a way to understand ourselves more. Our body will tell us what’s happening. Our only job is to listen. Use this as an opportunity to listen in, to see what your body is saying during each phase, and to follow its cues instead of forcing it to operate at the same level every day. Those simple steps will change your relationship to yourself and will give you so much insight.
A few notes –
If you are on hormonal birth control, you will likely not experience a period, but instead will experience a withdrawal bleed. You can still track your cycle and doing so, even on birth control, will provide you with guidance.
Everyone experiences a different cycle length and different phase lengths. You don’t have to know exactly how many days each one is in order to use this method of living cyclically. Be willing to let this take time as you understand yourself more.
WomanCode by Alisa Vitti
In the Flo by Alisa Vitti
Period Power by Maisie Hill