If you have ever felt burdened by your period, you’re certainly not alone. But what if you could use your menstrual cycle to your advantage?
During our menstrual cycle, our bodies work in a way that is very similar to the seasons we experience in nature. There are times when our energy feels high and we feel on top of the world (like Spring or Summer), and times where we might prefer to withdraw and take it easy (like Autumn and Winter).
As humans, we have learned how to master the Earth’s seasons in everyday life; we know when to grow food, when to wear particular clothing, when to stay cozy inside or when to head to the beach with friends. Why not learn to use our body’s natural cycles in a similar way? Changing our perspective to respect and use our menstrual cycle as a guide for life, instead of a hindrance, can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health, work life and relationships.
Just like the seasons, your menstrual cycle has four distinct phases:
- The Menstrual Phase - the 3 - 7 days when you are bleeding
- The Follicular Phase - the 7 - 10 days leading up to ovulation
- The Ovulatory Phase - the 3 - 5 days when you are ovulating
- The Luteal Phase - the 10 - 14 days before your period
The diagram below is a great visual guide to show you what is happening with your hormones, brain and uterus during your cycle (keep in mind that the duration of everyone’s cycle varies, so this is a general guide only). Journaling throughout the month is a great way to track how you feel and take note of any patterns that may come up for you.
How can you use the four cycles to your advantage?
The Menstrual Phase (Winter)
During this phase, you may feel more introverted (and that’s okay!). This is the perfect time to:
- Rest, recharge and reconnect with yourself
- Releasing and letting go of old patterns, beliefs or self judgements
- Nourishing your body with healthy foods
- Feeling and reflecting on your emotions through journalling or meditation
- Planning new projects
- Setting intentions for the month ahead
The Follicular Phase (Spring)
Think of this phase as your body’s own personal ‘springtime’! You may be feeling energetic, inspired and focused. This is the perfect time to:
- Have social engagements or attend networking events
- Work on collaborative or creative projects
- Make important decisions and take risks
- Exercise and play more
- Cultivate intimacy with your partner
- Start new projects
The Ovulatory Phase (Summer)
During ovulation, you will be feeling your most playful and feel a surge in libido. As well as being the best time to conceive, this is also the perfect time to:
- Socialise, network or work on collaborative tasks
- Do intense workouts or physically demanding activities
- Verbally communicate your feelings and thoughts (including public speaking)
- Get outdoors and have fun
- Practice gratitude
The Luteal Phase (Autumn)
Your oestrogen levels drop sharply during this phase, and it is when PMS symptoms begin - so it can be challenging! You will feel energetic at the start of this phase, but it will decrease steadily as your approach your period. This is a good time to:
- Nourish your body with grounding foods that are rich in B vitamins, calcium and magnesium (think dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, nuts and seeds) to beat PMS symptoms
- Get organised and tick off your to-do list
- Complete detail oriented tasks
- Do strength building exercise (as the start of this phase) and restorative exercise (as the end of this phase)
- Relax and rest (especially towards the end of this phase.
It may not be possible for everyone to completely structure their life around their menstrual cycle. However, by understanding what is happening in our bodies during these different stages, we can guide ourselves through life that little bit better and become more aware of our actions and reactions! Understanding our bodies and cycles helps us to feel more empowerment and less frustration and confusion.
Rachelle works on the marketing for JuJu, helping to educate and spread the word about the JuJu Menstrual Cup. She is passionate about health, wellness and approaching life in a way that is kind to the planet. Rachelle enjoys applying her background in marketing and communications to give conscious businesses more visibility so that they can continue to grow and have an even greater impact. In her free time, she enjoys getting outdoors, practicing yoga and exploring herbalism.