Updated: Oct 12, 2020
The more I study about women’s health and bodies the more I am struck by how beautiful and sophisticated they are! Our bodies are uniquely designed to create life on a level that is mind boggling when you stop to think about it. But we don’t just use our bodies to create life from practically nothing, we also use our bodies and minds to create beauty, culture, and industry. And just as our monthly cycle shapes and guides our bodies in creating life, it also guides us in creating those things outside of ourselves.
When we are in balance we have access each month to a wealth of strengths and abilities that assist us in whatever it is that we are called to do. Unlike men who are basically the same each day as far as their bodies and capabilities go, we have a whole month to ebb and flow and pull from our “buffet” of abilities to accomplish our tasks. When I think of time that way, it always makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders!
Though our bodies are powerful, they are also delicate. Our body is designed to be sensitive to our surroundings, so it can know how best to adapt to keep us safe and healthy. Unfortunately, our modern diet and lifestyle has caused us to live so contrary to the way that we were designed to function, that we are severely out of balance.
I want to tell you today about what it looks like to be IN balance with our cycles and how to best harness our natural energies during each phase so we can experience more energy and productivity without needing to do more things!
Our cycle is divided into 4 different phases. If 6th grade health class was your only introduction to your body then this might be a surprise to you! The phases are: the menstrual phase, the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase, and the luteal phase. Each phase serves a different role in preparing our bodies for the miracle of conception, and each phase also allows us access to a different set of skills. I like to think of these as “super powers”, because I am a nerd like that! So let’s take a look at each of these phases and see how we can best support them with our lifestyles.
Menstrual phase: This is the 4-7 days of your period. The mind-body focus during this phase is about rest, introspection, and evaluation. If you deal with cramps, bloating, headaches, etc… during this phase, then it is likely your body pumping the brakes and telling you to sloooow down! This doesn’t mean dropping everything to sit on the couch and binge Netflix, but it does mean switching our focus from our go-go-go activities, to those that are quieter and more in line with this phases focus.
This might look like sitting down with your calendar and taking stock of how the past month went, what worked well and what you can change in the coming month. You might also spend more time doing activities that nourish you such as reading, journaling, or crafting.
Follicular Phase: This 5-7 day phase is when your body is ripening an egg to release during ovulation. The focus during this week is on creativity and new beginnings. Your feel-good hormone levels are on the rise, so take advantage of them to start a new project, plan out your month, or learn something new!
Ovulatory Phase: This phase is the shortest at 3-4 days long, but it packs the most punch. The super power in this phase is that your energy and communication skills are at their peak. This is a great time to schedule meetings, a girls night out, have that important conversation with someone, or go on an adventure! Something else that is interesting, is that your pain threshold is higher during this phase, so this is a great time to schedule any of those uncomfortable checkups like the going to the dentist or the OB-GYN!
Luteal Phase: This phase is 10-14 days long and is the time when your body is preparing to sustain a pregnancy if necessary. During the first half your energy will be very much like that during your ovulatory phase, but during the second half your energy begins to soften and turn inward. The focus during this phase on completion and nurturing, and you have a greater ability to pay attention to details.
This is a good time to complete those projects you started during follicular phase, to tackle a decluttering project and to focus on reconciling your checkbook and budget. If you find yourself getting “grumpy” during this phase about the same things every month, this is a great time to explore this feeling and figure out if there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed that you might be stuffing during the rest of the month.
I have given you a lot of information about cycles today, and it might be a bit overwhelming if this is all new to you. I want to encourage you to just focus on the phase that you are in today and pick one or two ways that you can work with your body’s focus. Little changes are how we build up to the big changes!
If you want to know more about bringing your body into balance with your hormones, then I have something really special for you. I have just finished creating a 4-Day Hormone Jumpstart. I can’t wait to see you for the challenge!