Cycle Syncing Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Menstrual Cycle
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? This is what cycle syncing aims to help us do.
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 cosy inside or when to head to the beach with friends. Why not learn to use our body’s natural cycles in a similar way? This is where cycle syncing comes into play. 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.
The Menstrual Phase (Winter)
This is the 3 - 7 days when you are bleeding.
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
- Avoid or limit fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods
- Feeling and reflecting on your emotions through journaling or meditation
- Planning new projects
- Setting intentions for the month ahead
The Follicular Phase (Spring)
This is the 7 - 10 days leading up to ovulation.
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
- Enjoy fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi to help metabolise oestrogen
The Ovulatory Phase (Summer)
This is the 3 - 5 days when you are ovulating, around the middle of your cycle.
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
- Focus on anti-inflammatory foods that support the liver
- Enjoy connecting intimately with your partner
The Luteal Phase (Autumn)
This is usually the phase which lasts about 2 weeks before your period starts.
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 you 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 empowered and period positive, and less frustrated and confused.