A woman’s menstrual cycle is about far more than the PMS blues, period cramps, and pregnancy scare relief. The ebb and flow of our inner hormonal cycle has a powerful effect on each of us. We’re not often taught to align our daily actions with our inner seasons, but it could be life-changing.
In this article, we’ll dive into cycle syncing and offer practical ways to live in sync with your inner ebb and flow.
Think of your menstrual phases as seasons
There are four phases to your menstrual cycle. Menstruation, follicular, ovulation, and luteal phase.
Within each menstrual phase there is a time for blooming, and a time for rest, not dissimilar to our change in seasons.
Intricate hormonal changes occur within each phase. Living in sync with these phases is what is called cycle syncing –living in flow with the “season” your body is in.
The menstrual phases
Menstruation (days 1-5) is the beginning of your cycle. Think of it as winter. Everything slows down. Deep rest and hibernation are required. You need warmth and nourishment. Nothing is coming into “full bloom” during winter, and that is okay. The potential of spring is still underfoot. Productivity is low, and cozy vibes are high.
The follicular phase (days 5-14) is like spring. Things are beginning to sprout, you’re beginning to shake loose from your chilly winter hibernation. Hormone levels are returning to normal, you’re more and more energetic. This is a great time to catch up with pals for lunch, schedule a pilates class, and flirt with a cutie on Tinder.
The ovulation phase (midway, around day 14) is your hot girl summer. You’re absolutely buzzing, bursting energy levels, peak magnetism, and you’re damn near glowing. You’re a flower in full bloom. You might also be at the height of your sex drive during this time, your body is ready after all!
The luteal phase (days 15-28) is autumn. This is also known as the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) phase. Hormones are dramatically changing. We’re moody, low energy, emotional, anxious, feeling weird in our bodies, perhaps unmotivated, and lacking focus. This is due to estrogen dipping and progesterone peaking. It’s a slow descent into winter.
Throughout the month, you are ever-changing
Men live in a 24-hour hormonal cycle. Women live in a 28-day hormone cycle. We change throughout our monthly cycle and with it our sex drive, motivation, productivity, emotions, and energy levels.
This is why cycle syncing is so powerful.
During each phase, your body has different interests and needs. Trying to push yourself to be in your hot girl summer (ovulation) during deep autumn (luteal) is never going to work out well.
Living in your flow is life-changing.
4 practical ways to live in sync with your menstrual phase
Pick one of the following tips and try it out during your next cycle. For best results, download a free cycle-tracking app to get a good idea of the days of your menstrual cycle.
#1 Schedule exercise that aligns with your cycle
Energy levels start to increase during the follicular phase and peaks during ovulation, dramatically dipping in the luteal and menstruation phases. Take this into account when working out.
High-intensity workouts are great for follicular and ovulation. This is a great time for running, HITT workouts, cycle classes, and weight training.
Think of restorative yoga, pilates, lightweight training, walking, meditation, and rest for low-energy phases.
#2 Explore the depths of your sexuality during ovulation
It’s very common for libido to increase during the ovulation phase. Some lengthy sex exploration might be on the menu during this phase. Estrogen peaks during this phase, which tends to make us pretty randy.
If you don’t want to get pregnant, reigniting partnered sex could be risky. But exploring spicy solo sex featuring an earth-shattering vibrating wand is fair game. Indulge in pleasure during this phase.
Engaging in pleasure during your ovulation phase is a deeply primal and natural function of our bodies. If your body is asking for it, go for it and observe how much more enjoyable it is when your hormones are on your side.
#3 Increase fiber intake during your luteal & menstrual phase to ease symptoms
Eating a high-fiber diet during your PMS week could help alleviate PMS moodiness, and curb period cramps that are on the way. Severe PMS symptoms are often caused by excess estrogen triggering the release of pesky compounds called prostaglandins. If you produce too many prostaglandins, cramping and PMS can be severe.
Fiber is an easy fix. Increasing fiber intake gives excess estrogen an exit route. Thus avoiding excess prostaglandin production.
You can boost fiber by eating foods like beans, lentils, berries, popcorn, apples, and broccoli. You could also supplement psyllium husk powder in a pinch.
The more you know, right?
#4 Schedule high productivity for follicular & ovulation phase
Nothing blooms all year – including you! You can’t expect consistent output from a body that is ever-changing. If you can, schedule high workloads for high-energy weeks.
During your follicular and ovulation phase (spring and summer) you’re firing on all cylinders. Your brain is sharp, you’re motivated, and you’ve got a spring in your step. This is when you want to be pushing projects forward, brainstorming, and managing a team toward the finish line.
Add your menstrual phases to your calendar and plan accordingly.
But of course, for many of us, work demands are out of our control. If you do need to be high productivity during your “winter” just be kind to yourself. When you have to act outside your flow just remain compassionate of your body because it’s damn busy.
Male bodies work on a 24-hour hormonal cycle. Female bodies are on a 28-day hormonal cycle. We tend to ebb and flow far more than our rigid work lives allow. But there are a few things you can do to live in sync with your hormonal cycle. Simple and practical cycle syncing can be a powerful practice to adopt.
Lauren is the founder of BerryLemon, where she works to modernize pleasure products and sexuality education for all.