4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle: How they affect Body and Mind
Did you know that your mood, productivity, and energy levels fluctuate throughout the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle?
Do you feel some days that, for no specific reason, your energy is non-existent, you are very sensitive, or you can’t complete any of the tasks you set yourself for the day?
That “no specific reason” is actually your menstrual cycle’s evolution.
Yes, our bodies go through 4 different stages in a single month, so our body and mind are inevitably affected by these changes.
It feels like we always come to the same questioning; why did nobody told us about the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle before?!
Learning how your menstrual cycle, energy levels, mood, hunger, and productivity are intertwined is a game-changer.
Not only it enables you to be more kind and understanding of yourself, but you can also take action and plan your life accordingly.
The menstrual cycle is oftentimes compared with the moon’s cycle or the four seasons of the year. In this article, I’m taking the seasons as an example since I found it to be so much easier to understand.
The 4 phases of the menstrual cycle
This phase starts on the first day of your cycle (1st day of period) and ends on ovulation day (varies from day 8 and 21 depending on women and cycles).
The follicular phase can also be divided into two stages: menstruation and post-menstruation. Then comes ovulation, and the luteal phase.
If you don’t take any hormonal contraceptive and want to figure out how to detect when you ovulate, I highly encourage you to check the Fertility Awareness Method.
1) Menstruation phase – Winter
The menstruation stage is the easiest to recognize since it is when you are bleeding.
We already know that having our periods can be uncomfortable physically. It is therefore a time to take care of yourself, listen to your body, and rest.
Since the body is getting rid of the endometrium, this phase is considered as an internal cleaning (yes, to welcome spring!). The same applies to your mental state.
During this period, you should focus on yourself, your emotions, reflect on the past month, and set yourself new goals.
It is also the time to have empathy for your body going through this process of elimination and stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
Estrogens are pretty low, which explains your lack of vivacity.
To do: slow down, take a bath, relax, go to bed earlier
2) Post-menstrual phase – Spring
The period just after menstruation is when estrogens are rising. For most women, this phase is characterized by high energy levels and enhanced mood.
You’ll be interested in the world again, be curious, and come up with great ideas.
It is the perfect moment for you to focus on new projects, be creative, and practice your favorite physical activity.
If on the contrary, you feel fatigued during this period, it is recommended to take a blood test; you might be deficient in iron.
To do: express creativity, exercise, start a new project
3) Ovulation phase – Summer
Mother Nature does things well since the days around ovulation will translate into self-confidence, interest in people, and high sex-drive.
Since you’ll want to show yourself to the world and socialize, it is the perfect time to have meetings, go out, or public speaking.
This phase is also great to exercise.
However, you might find it difficult to focus on your work and be productive.
To do: go out, meet people, plan meetings and oral presentations
4) Post-ovulation phase – Fall
Post-ovulation is characterized by a peak in progesterone. Since estrogens tend to control your hunger levels, progesterone has the opposite effect.
That’s why we tend to have a bigger appetite just before our periods, and I know what I’m talking about lol.
This last stage of the cycle can be one of the most difficult phases to handle since it is time for PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
You can experience fatigue, cramping, bloating, or breast tenderness, but that’s not all. It can also affect your mental state; mood swings, anxiety, introversion.
It is the best time to align with yourself, spend time alone, and reflect on your relationships, work, and mental state.
If you have to take an important decision, it is the perfect moment to do so since that’s when you’ll be the most aligned with yourself.
Some women find it to be the most productive time of the month.
The post-ovulation phase is the one that is most likely to differ from women to women since it is directly linked to our lifestyle, stress levels, and diet.
Having a healthy lifestyle has an important impact on hormonal balance and the way you feel throughout your cycle.
For example, you could completely get rid of menstrual cramps by eating healthy food, resting enough, and managing your stress. Having painful periods is so common but not normal.
I explain how to treat menstrual pain naturally in this article.
To do: spend time alone, take important decisions, cancel your plans if that’s what you’re in the mood for
Understanding the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle for health
So this is what our cycles look like from a different perspective from which we are used to.
From the day I understood how the menstrual cycle works, I prefer to base my life according to it rather than referring myself to the weeks of the month (well, it can be difficult to explain to your boss, especially if he’s a man lol).
Understanding how your body fluctuates throughout the month is knowing that feeling how you feel is normal.
Yes, it is normal to feel fatigued even if you did nothing all day. Yes, it is ok to go from very happy to very sad from one day to another.
You’re not crazy, nor bipolar, and you don’t have to account to anyone for the way you feel.
It is also the reason why I don’t really agree with diets, counting macros, or training programs that tell you what you should do or eat day after day.
We are not robots. Our bodies’ needs vary from day to day, week to week. In my opinion, listening to your body is the first step in achieving health.
What about you? Do you take into account the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle to plan your life? Let me know in the comments!