By Dr. Shawna Darou, ND
As a continuation from last week’s article about empowered cycle tracking, we’ll be going through the four phases of your monthly cycle and the typical patterns that occur. Remember that the goal of track your cycle is to map out both the gifts and the struggles through the month, so we can work with, rather than against our hormones. Tracking your cycle is not only for fertility. Let’s go through the weeks one at a time, and see if your patterns match what other women experience. Note that in this article, I am going through patterns of a balanced hormonal cycle – if you’re struggling during certain phases of the month we can definitely trouble-shoot, and bring your hormones back into balance.
The Menstrual Phase begins on the first day of your period. This is when your hormones are at their lowest. There is typically a drop in energy and mood. This is the time for extra self-care, rest and renewal. Meditation comes easiest during this time. It’s important not to overdo it during the menstrual phase. A couple of days of rest will do you the world of good – enjoy the introspection and self-are time.
The Follicular Phase comes next with rising estrogen, and testosterone. Most women feel good in this phase with higher estrogen and a steady mood and energy level. You’re productive, physically at your strongest, and full of ideas. This is the time to take on new challenges, move vigorously and tap into your creativity.
The Ovulatory Phase is mid-cycle during and after ovulation, when estrogen peaks, and progesterone starts to rise. This is the time in your cycle where it’s easy to connect with people socially, and is the best time to create and build relationships. Your focus turns from yourself to others, and you’re more confident and charismatic. It is also the time where you can visualize your life, and also your writing is at its best.
The Luteal Phase is the final week of the cycle, and the one we commonly refer to as PMS. Progesterone and estrogen both peak and then decline, and the dropping hormones are notorious for creating symptoms. You’re more prone to amplified emotions, but on the other side may find that you’re more productive and focused – striving to create order out of chaos. One important note during this phase is that if you’re not in touch with your own needs, the PMS time may amplify. Spending some extra time listening to what you need, and letting go of some responsibilities during this week will help.
Remember from last week’s article, that it’s most useful to track your own cycle and watch for patterns unique to you. You’re not the same every day of the month, and it’s time to get to know yourself better – the gifts, the challenges and the physical patterns. When you know yourself, you can use your cycle to optimize performance, creativity, athletics and more.
If you would like to learn about how to support your stress hormones and cortisol levels better, or are interested in testing please book in for an appointment. This can make a profound impact on your feelings of health and wellbeing.