Life is full of cycles, each with notable differences in phases that define them from each other. The Female Cycle is one of these cycles.
When we understand patterns of cycles, it is easier to see that nothing in life is linear. There are always ups and downs, periods of growth and decline, and most importantly, shifts and transitions.
The easiest example of cycles is seen in the changing of nature through the seasons:
The regrowth and birthing of Spring; the full bloom and expansion of Summer; the winding down and fall of Autumn; and the metaphorical death, sleep and hibernation of Winter.
The same cycles are replicated throughout our lives. For women, we see short-term and long-term examples of this in our monthly cycle and the longer-term overall cycle of our life transitions from birth to puberty, through perimenopause to post-menopause.
Understanding your monthly cycle
Being a social extrovert, I would often get annoyed and critical of myself when I started finding that sometimes all I wanted was just to be alone. As my energy levels dropped, a date night with Netflix was far more appealing than socialising. There will be times during the month when you are full of energy and get up and go, and others when you want to just hunker down in your home and shut the world out. It is no coincidence that often these times are very reflective of what is going on in the shifts of your monthly hormonal cycle. Recognising these natural shifts is really imperative to allowing the flow of your natural energy. When you know your cycle, you can literally plan life in your favour – organising social events and working around your natural monthly ebbs and flows. Understanding your energy flows can make you more efficient, but importantly will allow you to understand yourself better and your needs.
Just like the seasons, we have 4 distinctive phases in our monthly cycle.
This phase begins with Day 1 of your bleed (period) when the lining of your uterus is shed in the absence of a fertilized egg and pregnancy. Just like its seasonal partner, Winter, it reflects the time of low-level energy and the need for rest so that you can replenish. Naturally, many animals got it right here – hibernation and hunkering down is the key to self-care at this time. We replenish and attend to our own needs, not the needs of others. This is not the time for filling your diary with social events or even running around after everyone else. It is ok to be quiet and fully attend to your needs first.
Welcome to Spring! Estrogen levels rise to help thicken the uterus to protect the incoming egg during ovulation. Your energy levels start to increase too after the rest of winter. Just like your body, your mind starts to get back in the zone. It’s a great time for formulating new ideas, learning new things, and getting focused on new challenges. You will probably feel energized, focused and have renewed vigour so start planning, researching and getting excited about new projects.
This occurs around day 14-17 in a 28-day cycle. The rising estrogen in the follicular phase signals luteinizing hormone to be released, which in turn, signals the egg to be released. The egg goes ‘out out’, making its way to the uterus to hook up with sperm to be fertilized. You are at your Summer high here, super social and flirty (to find your mating partner). Summer is the most social time of your cycle, lending itself beautifully to increased expressivity, forming new relationships and building connections with others in your community. It is also the time when you are in creative mode – not only with making a baby and making love, but also a time for bringing new projects and ideas to fruition after the planning stages of ‘Spring’ and the follicular stage.
The Luteal phase signifies Autumn. Once your egg is released, there is a surge in progesterone which helps to keep the lining of your uterus thick in case a fertilized egg is implanted. If you don’t get pregnant, your progesterone and estrogen hormones will drop. You will naturally experience a drop in energy at this stage in your cycle, and as your hormone levels drop, you may feel moody, and agitated. You will not feel as sociable as your extrovert summer self and will probably notice a change in your desire for sex, coupled with bloating, food cravings and weight gain. It may not be the sexy time of your cycle! Instead, it’s a time of self-care in preparation for your Winter phase and menstruation.
Understanding your cycle now will also help you transition better into the next cycle of your life. Getting to know your cycle helps you understand what your normal is so that you can recognize changes and shifts more easily and manage and adapt your life accordingly. Know your cycle. Knowledge is power x
Nat is a Pain and rehab therapist, specialising in Women’s Health. She helps women through all stages of life to make their journey through the shifts and transitions of womanhood, with ease and grace.
Nat uses a multi-disciplinary approach to provide a ‘whole-istic’ approach to helping you understand and move more easily in your body, emotionally and physically. She uses a combination of manual bodywork, neuromuscular repatterning, movement, nervous system regulation and energy work to help you move beyond pain and emotional blocks and back to living life with joy and zest.
Nat helps with:
- Postnatal recovery
- Diastasis Recti recovery
- C section recovery
- Pelvic Floor Function
- Perimenopause and Menopause Lifestyle Coaching
- Nervous system regulation
- Hysterectomy Recovery
- Post-op rehab
- Scar care
- Functional Movement repatterning
- Relieving pain
- Reintroducing Stability to the system physically and emotionally
Are you ready to feel empowered?