Making Sense of Your Menstrual Cycle…
Menstrual cycles can vary greatly from one woman to the next, but by becoming more in tune with your cycle, you can gain a better understanding and appreciation of the way your body feels and acts. The best way to accomplish this is by tracking your menstrual cycle for 2-3 months through a journal or computer/phone application. You can track things such as the first day your period, how long your period last, time of ovulation, any symptoms you feel around the time of your period, and how you feel throughout your cycle both physically and emotionally. The following information is an example based off of a typical 28 day cycle.
The first day of a woman’s period is considered day 1 of her cycle, and bleeding for 3-7 days is considered normal. Due to the rise in estrogen and testosterone that occurs during the first 1-2 weeks of the cycle, specifically around day 3, a woman will likely feel more energy, more confidence, and more focused during this time. This might be a time she feels more inclined to take a risk such as having a difficult conversation, making a new friend, or challenging herself to grow professionally, academically, or athletically.
Just prior to ovulation, there is a surge in hormones that might present as a boost in energy, thus a time a woman feels she can get a lot accomplished. During ovulation, which typically occurs around day 14-15, women will feel an increase in sex drive, feel more attractive, and feel more courageous compared to other points in the cycle.
After ovulation, there is a drop in testosterone and an initial drop in estrogen, although estrogen does return to a medium level for the remainder of the cycle. This is the time progesterone dominates. Because of this, throughout week 3 and into the early part of week 4, a woman might feel the need for some down time. This can present as a desire for bonding time with close female friends and/or alone time to rest and reflect through reading or journaling. This would also be an ideal time to plan something creative, such as an art project one has been wanting to take on.
Lastly, during the latter part of week 4, it is very important to nourish the body through self-care, diet, and sleep/rest. This will help to decrease potential PMS symptoms leading up to the next period. By taking the time to learn your body’s menstrual cycle, you will gain a better understanding of why you are feeling certain ways throughout the month. Additionally, you may even choose to navigate your life differently based on where you are in your cycle in order to achieve your highest potential.