You probably didn't know this about your menstrual cycle.
By Menstrual Cycle Coach: Haley Cada
Just as we experience seasons of the Earth, the female body moves through seasons within our Menstrual Cycle. Understanding the different seasons that live within our womb space is an empowering act of coming into deeper connection with our cyclical rhythms as women.
So, why is this important information?
Women’s hormonal clocks are vastly different than our male counterparts. While men’s hormones operate on a 24 hour cycle, women’s hormones are in a constant ebb + flow over the course of their 25 - 35 day cycle.
If you look at the way we are expected to operate in this world, it’s easy to begin seeing how the external environment was created more for a man’s hormonal clock, versus a woman.
Instead of feeling defeated by this truth, those with wombs + uterus’s are asked to step deeper into our biological truth + autonomy. While there are radical shifts happening in our environments, we can’t wait for the world to change before we are willing to do our own work.
A very tangible tool that we have embedded in our own womb space, which is essentially an internal time keeper, is the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is a tool that helps you navigate the external world. You are no longer being dragged around by a society that doesn’t honor rest, reflection & internal processing. Instead you are using the guide within to plan everything from your self care, work schedule, social events, exercise routines, and more. By understanding the themes that each phases presents itself with, you can become more in tune with how to direct your energy!
Here is a brief overview of the 4 distinct seasons or phases of the Menstrual Cycle:
Menstruation | Inner Winter
Days 1 - 5
Menstruation or the Inner Winter begins on the first full day of blood. Sex hormones, estrogen + progesterone, are at an all time low. Just as the Earth pauses during the winter, so do our bodies. The communication pathways between the pituitary gland and the ovaries slows down, and our bodies demand rest.
Menstruation sets the tone for the rest of the cycle to unfold & to shine the gifts that each season holds. In order to truly feel the deep effects of each season, honoring the stillness, detachment & void that our bleed contains is crucial. I have found that in cycles where I work through my bleeds, or don’t allow myself proper rest + repair, I am unable to connect with the potency of this phase, nor am I able to feel the distinct shifts in seasons throughout my cycle either.
From a body based perspective, the endometrial lining of the uterus is shedding, which is what our period blood is!
This is the phase of the cycle to really indulge in self care & fully detach yourself from the external world. Take a bath, lay in bed + read, journal around what is coming through for you. Making an intention to move very slow through this sacred phase of the cycle will support your hormones, energy levels & allow you to feel nourished as you navigate the rest of the cycle.
Follicular Phase | Inner Spring
Days 6 - 11
Following Inner Winter, is the Inner Spring season, also known as the Follicular Phase. After resting + nourishing the body during menstruation, you emerge out of the menstrual cave feeling like a fresh, new woman. Just as the Earth emerges into Spring in her absolute lushness, we may similarly feel a new surge of fresh life + energy!
Many women experience a surge of focus + motivation towards the trajectory of their lives. This makes complete sense ~ since the menstrual phase offers a time of deep visioning + clarity towards where your energy gets to be directed this upcoming cycle. Come the Inner Spring, you may be bursting with ideas + creative endeavors that you are so excited to jump into!
From a body based perspective, estrogen is rising, as it begins to re-build the uterine lining. 10-15 individual eggs in the ovaries are also racing to be the first one to reach maturation, as women only release 1 (sometimes 2) eggs each cycle.
This is a great time to try something new, to engage in a fun hobby & move gently back into the world!
Ovulatory Phase | Inner Summer
Days 12 -20
Ovulation, or the Inner Summer, is the season where you really can have it all. You can excel in work, balance your relationships, workout & still feel sane. Your energy levels are at their highest, due to peak levels of estrogen + testosterone. Most women note that they feel the high of this phase for anywhere between 5 -10 days.
Around day 12 - 17 of the cycle, ovulation will occur. Ovulation is when an egg from your ovary has burst free and is available for fertilization. The egg is only able to be fertilized for 12-24 hours, yet it is sperm that can live in the vaginal canal for up to 5 days!
The Inner Summer is an excellent time of self expression, communication & allowing yourself to be seen. This is a great time to schedule workshops, speaking opportunities & social events as you are highly magnetic during this time!
Because there is an intense surge of energy that occurs during this phase, it can feel overwhelming if you don’t have the proper container to pour this energy into. It can be supportive to sit down and get clear on how you want to exert this additional energy. Ask yourself ~ What is it that is demanding my attention? Are there projects, work related tasks, or areas within my business that need my focus? Using this energy in a directed, intentional way is key.
Luteal Phase | Inner Autum
Days 21 - 28
The Luteal Phase, or Inner Autumn, serves as a time of tuning back inwards. While the Spring & Summer have been externally focused, our bodies + hormones are shifting ~ calling us back to our internal core.
We may feel more permeable or sensitive to our external environment. While this may seem like a curse, it’s actually an incredible blessing. We are being gifted a time to see what is and isn’t working in our lives. The rose colored lens of the spring and summer have been replaced by a more practical, honest perspective. While this may feel challenging to navigate, often times it gives space for what is truly pressing in our lives to bubble to the surface to be resolved.
Up to 80% of women experience some type of physical or emotional PMS symptoms in this phase. Often times it’s a combination of both. Irritability, breast tenderness, anger, frustration ~ these are all symptoms women experiencing cycle after cycle.
There is absolutely a hormonal imbalance that is contributing to PMS, which manifests most intensively during this phase. However, using Menstrual Cycle Awareness practices, you can learn to work with your hormonal flow, instead of going against it. This over time, in combination with holistic lifestyle changes, can absolutely lead to hormonal regulation & peaceful periods.
There is a natural urge to clean, edit & refine in this phase. This is a great time to tie up any loose ends and finish that project or work task. Since your body is preparing for your bleed, it’s supportive to clean up your space, so that when it does come time for you to rest, you will feel comfortable doing so.
My advice for this phase is to recognize that you will not be the same woman in the Autumn phase, as you will be in Summer or Spring ~ and to be complexity okay and understanding of this. Granting yourself time to be in your own company, and not take on too much can be extremely beneficial. As you prepare to bleed and release, it is only natural that your energy is going to be declining.
Following the Luteal Phase is Menstruation & the cycle begins again!
I hope you all found this helpful! Starting to track your own personal experience of the Inner Seasons is very supportive & can allow you deepen into the wisdom of your body + cycle!
Want to learn more about Haley? Check her out at avoeats.com
Want to learn more about Viv for your V? Check us out at vivforyourv.com