Mastering your Menstrual Cycle: Getting your Body and Schedule in a Groove

0

When it comes to your period it’s important to remember that it’s not just the time of the month when you are bleeding, but it’s an entire cycle that has repetition and predictability.  Once you understand your own menstrual cycle, you can build your schedule and routines around it to make daily life more manageable, and hopefully more enjoyable!

The First Time!

I can remember the first time I got my period.  It was highly anticipated, because I was one of the last amongst my friend group to get it.  I was actually excited.  Also, clueless.  I just wanted to be on the “in,” but didn’t really understand what it was, or what the heck my body was up to!  After that, I sort of waited with suspense each month for the onset of my period.  Would I have bad cramps during 4th period again?  Would I have to change my pants at lunch because of a heavy flow?  Or to my horrific surprise, would I spontaneously start in the pool during P.E.?!  And what in the world was that goopy stuff I found in my underwear?  Bleh!

It seems often when I talk to other women, everyone has their “first period story.”  Remembering where they were, their age, the confusion, and sometimes trauma that came along with it.  We ladies seemingly stumble into menstruation and don’t feel terribly equipped to take control of our periods — rather, we let our periods control us.  It all felt a bit random and too complicated to understand.  Am I alone in this junior high drama, or can I get an Amen?

Getting to Know Your Menstrual Cycle

I had no idea the beautiful design and purpose of my cycle that would shape my days for… oh, you know, just most of my adult life!  The better you understand what you’re experiencing, the more you can make the most of your cycle and schedule.  Knowing about your body’s reproductive cycle can be truly empowering — especially as a mom.

I’ve become enlightened to my menstrual cycle in the last decade and it’s nice to feel like I can be on top of my emotions and schedule without feeling like I’m visiting crazy-town every month!  Understanding the fabulous work that your body is doing empowers you to create a lineup of healthy lifestyle habits to boost your confidence and awareness of self.

Knowing the four phases of your cycle is a great place to start.  Each cycle you have a fluctuation of hormones (progesterone and estrogen) which cause the changes we see in our bodies and emotions.  Here is an overview of the four phases of your menstrual cycle and some suggestions of what to schedule during each phase.

4 Phases of Your Period

Phase 1: Menstruation (Days 1-7)

The first day of your period marks Day 1 of your cycle.  Each woman’s flow varies in heaviness of bleeding and symptoms like bloating, headaches, cramps and more.

What’s going on: Your hormone levels are lower.  Your immune system may be low.  You have higher pain tolerance and more energy.

This is a good time to: Try a new eating plan.  Increase your intake of immune-boosting foods and supplements.  Exercise with weight resistance.  Make decisions, because you’re more clear-minded.  Schedule time with friends, and plan to get out of the house.

Phase 2: Pre-ovulation (Days 8-14)

This is probably your best phase — yay!  You’re past the pain and entering your fertile window.

What’s going on: Estrogen is on the rise, so you may feel energetic and positive. You’re at the peak of your fertility, likely feeling more confident and sexy.  Your mood and energy are increased.

This is a good time to: Plan a ladies’ night out.  Tackle that DIY or home project… finally!  Dress up and get out for date night.  Dream about the future and make some goals.

Phase 3: Luteal (Days 15-21)

The good feelings from hormones fade away.  Once ovulation happens, you enter your luteal phase. Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) increases, so you may have more cravings and need more to eat.  Don’t be surprised if you get hotter than usual and need to shed that cardigan.

What’s going on: Progesterone levels rise up and prep your uterus for egg implantation.  If you don’t become pregnant, then your estrogen and testosterone levels dip down.  You may feel more sleepy, less energetic and reflective.

This is a good time to: Journal and reflect on the happenings of the last month.  Sweat it out with an aerobic workout.  Take a bubble bath and plan an earlier bedtime.

Phase 4: Premenstrual (Days 22-28)

We all know it — the PMS phase.  This can feel like the worst!  There are so many PMS symptoms that women experience.  Many women feel stressed during this time, so go easy on yourself, sister.

What’s going on: Estrogen and progesterone levels plummet.  The hormonal change is real and can cause you to feel cray!  Your bowels may change because of hormones that prepare your body for menstruation and your uterine lining to shed.

This is a good time to: Rest and relax.  Schedule in some alone time and watch your favorite show.  Ask your partner to takeover bedtime, or hire a sitter to help with the kids.  If you don’t have kids at home, perhaps get housecleaning help.  This is not a time to play the “PMS” card and be mean to everyone, rather be honest with your family about how you feel.

Mama, you’re in control here.  You don’t have to be a victim to your period.  So sit down with your calendar and take charge of what’s inevitable to come.  Become a master of your menstrual cycle and look for smoother days ahead!  Remember, you’re not meant to be the same woman everyday!

 

Previous articleHome is…Where?
Next articleHappy St. Nicholas Day…With a Twist
Hello! I’m Melisa, pronounced muh-leesa. I’m an enthusiastic wife to my husband of 10 years and homeschool mama to four curious children. My roots are in the PNW and I currently reside in Colorado Springs, where I soak up all the sunshine and snow. I love all things beautiful—but most of all Jesus and all the wonderful people created by God! When I’m not sweeping up crumbs and juggling school lessons, I like to spend an afternoon to myself going to the spa, wandering Anthropologie for inspiration, creating something handmade and eating yummy food in a gorgeous outdoor space. Oh, and if there’s time I always love scoring a great thrift store deal!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.