If you have a natural menstrual cycle (meaning if you don't take any form of hormonal birth control), you go through four different phases every month: menstrual phase, pre-ovulatory phase, ovulatory phase, and premenstrual phase.
Your reproductive hormones make you cyclical.
There are five hormones involved in the menstrual cycle, each one has a different behavior, and its levels vary throughout the process, triggering different reactions in your body. The four phases of the cycle are created depending on which hormones are present at any given time. You can learn more about how your reproductive hormones work in our article understanding your menstrual cycle.
The interesting thing is that depending on the phase of the cycle you're in, you change physically, mentally, and emotionally. I'm sure you've noticed this one way or another! Some days you're more focused, confident, and outgoing, whereas others, you prefer to be alone, feel more impatient, or introspective.
If you pay attention to these changes and track them for a while, you'll see that most of them follow a clear pattern that is tied to your cycle. Each phase gives you different "superpowers", but it comes with some challenges too—again, this is all thanks to your hormones.
Your own experience is what matters.
Before I tell you more about each phase, please know this: your menstrual experience is unique (as are you!). Some of the things I'll describe may not resonate with you, and that's ok! I encourage you to track your cycle and pay attention to how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally in each phase; this will help you discover your own cycle patterns.
The womb lining sheds.
Menstruation is a big reset for your body, a time for renewal and healing where you may feel the need to disconnect from the outer world and be more in touch with your inner self. In this phase, your reproductive hormones are at their lowest levels, allowing better communication between both brain hemispheres.
This is a good time to set intentions and goals for the new cycle, rest, and reconnect with yourself.
Being in doing mode all the time, and not letting yourself disconnect. Your period consumes a lot of resources, so it's important to have a proper rest. Also, while menstrual pain is not normal, it’s very real, and for some people, it can be debilitating. Check out 6 ways to ease period cramps.
The womb lining thickens.
Estrogen, the dominant hormone in this phase, supports the left brain, giving you better verbal articulation and memory retention. You are more focused, organized, and resilient. Your motivation, physical strength, and energy start to increase—gradually.
This is a good time to try new things, reflect on what needs to happen for your intentions to come alive, plan, and start taking action!
Possible challenges: With the rise in energy, it's common to feel the impulse to do everything at once. The thing is, estrogen is increasing but is not yet high. If you rush things, you may burn out before ovulation.
The fertile time of your cycle. An egg is released to be potentially fertilized by a sperm.
Estrogen peaks. All the superpowers from the previous phase are heightened, but you also have a surge in testosterone, which increases your libido, motivation, and physical strength. You feel more energetic, confident, and magnetic. Your communication skills are at their best, and it's easier to express what you want.
This is a good time to pitch new ideas, take inspired action and connect with others.
It's easy to get caught up in the ovulatory energy and forget that it's just temporary. Tip: don't let your ovulatory self manage your calendar! She will say YES to everything, and you might regret it later.
Your body detects pregnancy has not occurred.
Progesterone is the dominant hormone now. It supports your right brain making you more artistic, intuitive, and creative. You also have a smaller surge in estrogen. Things shift now, and the focus starts to draw inwards. You become more raw and vulnerable; your emotions are on the surface, and it’s not easy to suppress them. This is a feedback phase where you'll receive important messages about what is and what isn't working in your life. These insights won't always come smoothly, but they're so needed!
This is a good time to complete unfinished tasks, edit, evaluate priorities and prepare to nest.
Managing your excess of honesty can be a huge challenge. If you're not mindful of this, you can hurt someone or, worse, yourself. Also, you may experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) during this final phase. Check out our article on how to deal with PMS to learn more.
Learn to flow with your inner rhythms.
The changes you experience in your cycle are normal and have a purpose.
Getting to know your unique patterns in each phase will help you feel more grounded, manage your energy more efficiently, and take better care of yourself.
Author: Carmen Lorenzana / Menstrual Educator and Coach / @carlorenzana
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