The menstrual cycle can be divided into four phases: the menstrual phase, the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase, and the luteal phase. Each phase is characterized by its own unique hormonal changes and bodily functions. By understanding these phases, you can sync your activities and self-care practices accordingly, where it makes sense with your schedule, to support your body during each phase.
The Menstrual Phase - Your Inner Winter
The menstrual phase- aka the period- is the first phase of the cycle, characterized by the shedding of the uterine lining. This phase typically lasts 3-7 days. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are low, which can lead to fatigue, cramps, and mood swings. It is a time for rest and introspection- just as nature slows down during winter, it is important to give yourself permission to slow down during your menstrual phase. Take time to rest, meditate, and practice gentle yoga or low impact exercises.
The Late Follicular Phase - The Body’s Spring
The late follicular phase begins after the menstrual phase, and lasts around 7-10 days. During this phase, the body prepares for ovulation by producing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulate the growth of follicles in the ovaries. Estrogen levels increase, which can lead to feelings of optimism and energy, similar to the spring season. This is a great time to focus on activities that require creativity, such as painting or writing, and to try new things.
The Ovulation Phase - Hot Girl Summer
The ovulatory phase occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube. This phase typically lasts for 3-5 days and occurs around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. Estrogen levels peak during this phase, which can lead to increased energy and libido, similar to the summer season. This is a great time to engage in social activities and to lean in to new projects at work.
The Luteal Phase - Your Inner Autumn
The luteal phase is the final phase of the menstrual cycle, and lasts for 10-14 days. During this phase, the body prepares for potential pregnancy by producing progesterone, which helps to thicken the uterine lining. When pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels drop, and the menstrual cycle begins again. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, which can lead to mood swings and PMS symptoms, similar to the fall season. It is important to prioritize self-care during this phase, such as getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and eating a healthy diet.
Cycle syncing as an overall wellness practice can help you optimize your physical and emotional well-being by aligning your lifestyle habits with the phases of your menstrual cycle. By understanding how the four phases of the menstrual cycle are similar to the seasons, you can sync your activities and self-care practices to support your body during each phase. Remember to listen to your body above all, and give yourself permission to rest and take care of yourself in every season.