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Last Updated on October 12, 2022
Menstrual cycle syncing helps you live in tune with your body by adjusting your lifestyle based on your hormones. Here are 5 benefits of cyclical living.
Each month, your menstrual cycle can be unpredictable and tumultuous, sending you on a roller coaster of emotions and symptoms. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Menstrual cycles magically mirror the phases of the moon and the four seasons of the earth (seriously!). Cycle syncing and following the natural rhythms of the universe can help you listen to your body and regain control over your hormones.
Menstrual cycle syncing is when you adjust your diet, exercise routine, workday, and social calendar to align with the different phases of your monthly cycle. Switching up your routine throughout the month gives your hormones the support they need. It can prevent them from wreaking havoc on your body.
During your cycle, you’ll be able to:
You’ll follow biological rhythms and truly take care of yourself. No more pushing yourself to perform through the ups and downs.
If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re not alone! This information isn’t taught to women in our patriarchal society — we have to search it out for ourselves. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I found out there were four phases in a menstrual cycle; I always thought we were either on or off our periods.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which started my cycle syncing journey. After my diagnosis, I was introduced to Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode, which explores the power of cyclical living and helped me start to understand my body through my cycle. Her work has inspired me to go deeper into this topic and I wrote about cycle syncing a lot on my old blog, Root + Revel (which I sold in 2021 and am no longer affiliated with).
Years later, I heard Claire Baker speak on Jenna Kutcher’s podcast, and learned about how our menstrual cycles mirror the four seasons of the universe and the phases of the moon. Around the same time, a friend told me about Kate Northrup’s Do Less, which really drove home the importance of cyclical living by applying it to work and business.
The concept of cycle syncing seemed like the best way forward for my entire life. So I went down a rabbit hole of time and energy management strategies. I learned from Vianney Leigh and read Lisa Hendrickson-Jack’s The Fifth Vital Sign, as well.
Before you start adjusting your lifestyle to be in tune with your cycle, you need to get in touch with your natural rhythms and start listening to your body. This is especially important if you’ve recently gotten off hormonal forms of birth control, like the pill or IUDs.
Tracking your cycle and taking notes on your emotions, physical symptoms, cravings, and energy levels throughout the month are crucial to this process.
Once you’re ready to start cycle syncing, you need to learn about the four phases of your cycle and how you can support your hormones through each of them.
The menstrual phase is what we recognize as our monthly period. It’s when the uterus sheds its lining due to decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone. This results in vaginal bleeding and symptoms like abdominal cramping, headaches, and GI issues. This stage typically lasts from 2-8 days, so it’s important to track your cycle and figure out its usual length.
While you’re menstruating, your energy levels are at their lowest. This is the time to rest, reflect on our lives, and focus our energy inwards. It’s known as the winter of the cycle (who doesn’t want to curl up and get cozy on a snowy day?). It also aligns with the new moon, making it ideal for new beginnings, setting new intentions and re-evaluating existing ones.
Next up is your follicular phase, which lasts about nine days. This is when your estrogen and progesterone levels start to rise as the follicle develops in the ovary, but is usually free of the symptoms that appear during menstruation.
This is the spring of your cycle and your energy will slowly increase as you get closer to ovulation. You may still feel some lethargy and fatigue from menstruation at the start of the follicular phase. So it’s a good idea to take things slowly and schedule high-energy tasks for later in this stage.
It also aligns with the waxing moon, which signifies the germination of your intentions, meaning it’s a good time to start new projects and explore new directions by taking action.
The ovulatory phase is the shortest phase of the menstrual cycle, only lasting for the 3-5 days when ovulation occurs. During ovulation, your estrogen peaks and progesterone levels rise as an egg is released and gets ready to be fertilized. This typically occurs around day 14 of your cycle. You may experience light spotting or cramping during this phase.
This is the summer of your cycle. It often comes with your highest energy levels and a high libido to match. You are most likely to get pregnant during this stage. As ovulation is connected to the full moon, you can tap into this lunar energy by spending time with friends and engaging in more ritualistic and spiritual activities, including celebration, harvest and gratitude. The full moon does amplify emotional sensitivity, and is a great time to do releasing rituals to create powerful shifts in your life.
Finally, we have the luteal phase, which is the longest phase of your cycle at 10 days. It begins directly after ovulation and ends on the first day of menstruation (aka the start of your next cycle). If pregnancy did not occur in the ovulatory phase, your estrogen and progesterone levels will decrease as your body prepares for a new cycle.
This is known as the fall or autumn of your cycle. As your energy levels drop and your mood may begin to fluctuate. This is when PMS symptoms like bloating, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, migraines, and more typically occur. It also aligns with the waning moon, and as the moon’s energy decreases and shadows form, so to do our own energy and emotions. It’s a great time to turn inward, let go of what no longer serves you and reflect.
Though cycle syncing is a great idea for anyone who menstruates, some key benefits may make it the best course of action for people with certain symptoms or conditions. I’ve found cycle syncing to be incredibly beneficial throughout my journey with PCOS. I want to help others find the same relief.
Cycle syncing is all about listening to your body and getting in touch with what you truly need at all points of your cycle. You’ll be working with your body instead of against it like we’re so often pushed to do.
Being more in tune with your body helps you recognize when you need to take a break, when you need a few more healthy snacks in your day, and can even help you spot symptoms that are out of your ordinary.
I originally started cycle syncing as a way to support my own reproductive system after my PCOS diagnosis. Following my body’s cues and patterns has helped reduce hormone-related symptoms and allowed me to live a more balanced life.
If you are dealing with dysmenorrhea (painful periods), intense PMS, infertility, or PCOS, living in sync with your cycle can help you regain control of your symptoms and find some relief. If you’re on any medications related to these conditions, be sure to talk to your doctor before trying out cycle syncing.
As you move through each stage of your cycle, your energy levels naturally grow and fall. Don’t force yourself to work through the low-energy stages (which only causes stress and anxiety). Instead, it’s best to plan your social and work schedules around these energy fluctuations whenever possible. My Mindful Planning Printables take you through this process step-by-step and help you work and play from a place of rest. And to do it all without guilt or shaming yourself during the ebbs.
Set aside time for relaxation and rejuvenation when you’re at your lowest before, after, and during your menstrual phase. When you feel a bit more pep in your step as you move toward ovulation? That’s when to schedule intense work projects, tough workout classes, or fun outings with friends.
I’m sure you’ve felt your mood fluctuating while PMS-ing and menstruating. But cycle syncing can help stabilize your mood by directing your energy towards the activities that will do the most good in your mind, body, and soul.
During the luteal and menstrual phases, be sure to schedule self-care nights. Focus on affirmations to ward away any self-esteem dips.
Throughout your menstrual cycle, your productivity increases and drops in line with your energy and hormone levels. With cycle syncing, you can use this knowledge to your advantage to execute your biggest, most important tasks during your high-productivity days. Plus, resting when you already know you won’t have a ton of motivation helps you bounce back quicker and get back to work faster.
You’re the most reflective in your menstrual phase, most creative during your follicular phase, most confident in your ovulatory phase, and most focused during your luteal phase. Follow these shifts to plan out your work accordingly.
It can be a bit overwhelming to get started with cycle syncing. But it’s changed my life and has the power to change yours. I’ve created some Mindful Planning Printables to help you get started on your journey and find true balance in your mind, body, and soul.
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COPYRIGHT © 2022 • KATE KORDSMEIER
We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.