So lately, I’ve really been trying to check in with my body before I decide to do something. This is a big change for me. Instead of answering yes to everything because I feel obligated to, or really because I’m codependent, I ask myself how I’m feeling to see if I really want to say yes. This helps me slow down, avoid stress, and stop the addiction to being busy. Too much stress in our lives can lead to disease, adrenal fatigue, and many other health problems.
Many people talk about slowing down, being more mindful, and listening to our bodies, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. I felt that way until I came across some really insightful information in Alisa Vitti’s book WomanCode. I love, love, love this book! It talks all about balancing hormones and addressing hormonal issues through lifestyle and diet changes. And even if you’re thinking that you don’t have a hormonal issue, I urge you to read her book. You might be surprised to find that you do have some imbalances, and might not even be recognizing the symptoms. Hormone imbalances don’t just affect our emotions and periods. They can also affect our digestion, energy levels and many other things. I honestly believe that everyone could benefit from reading this book. Enough raving, let me tell you what I found really interesting, that changed the way I live my life.
Cycle syncing. Yes, syncing your cycle to your life. Somewhere along the line, we got to thinking that our cycles are just a nuisance and that they don’t have too much of an impact on our day to day lives. Oh, we were so wrong. They have everything to do with how we feel and operate. So, if we can acknowledge what’s going on in our bodies and sync up with that, then we can live a more sound, serene life. We’ll be moving with the flow of things, instead of against it. I’ve started to implement this in my life and, I’m telling you, it’s made a huge difference.
“I call it cycle syncing – think of it as a form of embodied time management – where your hormones create structure. This practice comes back to the idea of using your body as a tool – harnessing your hormones to perform better, smarter, and more proficiently every single day.” – Alisa Vitti
This is the first phase of your cycle, after you finish your last period, and it usually lasts about 7 to 10 days. In this phase, your estrogen is starting to increase, because your body is preparing for ovulation. Your physical energy, creativity and focus are up during this phase. It’s a good time to tackle new projects and mentally challenging tasks. Your body is also primed and ready to embrace new experiences and to get out of your comfort zone. And the new things you try during this time are more likely to stick, because you’re forming neuroconnections in the brain more easily. Because energy is higher during this phase, it’s a great time to exercise. Try a new routine, socialize, and get active.
In this phase, your body is preparing for and carrying out ovulation. It lasts around 3 to 4 days. Your estrogen continues to increase, while your testosterone peaks and then drops right around ovulation. This phase is all about communication. Your body is ready to have meaningful conversations, including communicating and listening. If you can, wait to have any serious talks during this time, as it will be easier for you to communicate more clearly. This is also a great time to ask for that raise or go on a first date, as your communication skills will be on fire. Your energy is still up during this phase, so it’s a great time for heavier exercise, like weight lifting or running. Because you’re also feeling communicative, go out on a group workout or participate in a team activity.
In this phase, progesterone rises, as well as estrogen. Once progesterone stops being produced, it signals the start of your period. Testosterone increases toward the end of this phase. This phase lasts around 10 to 14 days. The luteal phase is when your energy levels start to drop and you start feeling those ever familiar PMS symptoms, such as irritability, bloating, cravings, and mood swings. And that’s why it’s very important to pay attention to your body and give it the comfort it needs. This is when your body wants to nest. It’s a great time to stay home and take care of that chore list. Because of the progesterone to estrogen ratio, you’ll be more detail oriented and tasks like organizing and cleaning will come naturally.
Increase your self-care regimen during this time, take a relaxing bath or read a good book. Focus on slowing down and committing to less, your body needs the rest during this time in your cycle. As far as exercise goes, your energy will be higher during the beginning of this phase, so you may still wish to have some strenuous workouts. But toward the last 5 days of this phase, focus on calming, lower resistance workouts, such as yoga or walking.
We all know this phase! Your progesterone drops, while your estrogen peaks and then drops to prepare for another cycle. It can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days and you will have your period, and all of the symptoms that come along with it. During this phase, the left and right hemispheres in your brain are communicating very clearly with each other. Because of this, we often get those gut impulses or messages about changes that we need to make in our lives. Instead of ignoring them and saying that we’re just being too emotional, now is the time to pay attention. Listen in, especially if every month you come up against the same issue. Journaling is another great way to track what insights you might have during this time. And it might just lead you to the answer that you’ve been looking for.
These feelings of restlessness and unease are completely normal because of what your hormones are doing at this time in your cycle. You’re not crazy, your body is trying to tell you something. During this time, keep track of what you learn and what things you might want to change or address in your life, and then use the other weeks in your cycle to address those issues. If you decide you need to have a serious conversation with a loved one, wait until the ovulatory phase. If you really need to finish an overwhelming project at work, tell yourself you’ll do it in your follicular phase. For exercise during this phase, rest and relaxation are important. Do some calming yoga or stretch and go for a relaxing walk. Don’t push yourself too hard during this time. Stay aware and carry that awareness into the rest of your cycle.
- Follicular Phase: First 7-10 days, energy and creativity increases, try new things, try out a new exercise routine
- Ovulatory Phase: Lasts 3-4 days, communication skills increase, have those tough conversations, heavier exercise, group exercise
- Luteal Phase: Lasts 10-14 days, energy decreases, nest at home, tackle the chore list, increase self-care, last 5 days engage in less strenuous exercise
- Menstrual Phase: Lasts 3-7 days, gut impulses and instincts increase, pay attention to the messages your body is sending you, journal about those instincts, rest and relax, try some easy yoga or walking
Realizing that my body works in cycles was huge for me. I used to get frustrated with myself when I didn’t feel like tackling a project or meeting new people for dinner. But now I know I was in my luteal phase and my body just wanted to nest at home. It’s allowed me to stop beating myself up when I’m not feeling how I think I should feel. Our hormones are always changing and with that comes a change in our mood and what we want to do in our lives. It’s so much easier to accept my body and give it what it needs, instead of trying to force it to do what I think it should do. It’s a working relationship and the more we work with our bodies, the more they will work with us.
I urge you to read Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode. There’s so much more helpful information available. Honestly, this synapsis was just from a few pages in her amazing book. As she says, perfect your cycle, amplify your fertility, supercharge your sex drive, and become a power source.
Sync your cycle and stay natural.
How do you plan to sync your cycle? What could you do differently to work better with your body?