In this blog post, Head Empress, TaKisha August, is sharing the 411 on menstrual cycle phases.
I was an adult before I really connected with my “period” being a full cyclical experience. I didn’t recognize its power or purpose at all and saw it only as a marker that I could get pregnant if and when I ever had sex. Basically, the message I received that summer before my 13th birthday was “don’t have sex.”
But what if we fully understood the ins and outs of a menstrual cycle? When does it begin? When does it end? What can it tell us about the health of our bodies?
So let’s break down the basics, shall we?
If you are a person with a period, you are designed to cycle consistently every 25-35 days. These cycles are broken down into four distinct phases.
Phase 1: Bleeding.
This is the “on my period” phase of a menstrual cycle and is the START of the 25-35 day cycle as it may exist in your unique body. So your “day 1” is the first day of bleeding and it can last anywhere from 3-7 days.
This phase also has the energy of the New Moon and Winter season, where rest, reflection and intuitive connection may be at the forefront of your body’s internal focus.
This phase may also come with a bit of felt relief if there were any anxious feelings or agitation the days leading up to your DAY 1.
I’ve come to love this phase because if I was ever on the fence about a decision or an idea, I often get a clear answer once the bleeding phase in my own body begins.
This phase also counts as part one of the follicular phase where the brain and ovaries correspond via some really great hormones that get the follicles in the ovaries going and ready for phase two.
Phase 2: [non-bleeding] Follicular.
The bleeding has ended during this half of the follicular phase and the body continues preparing for ovulation. This phase begins around day 8 and, if pregnancy is desired, is often the most fertile time. Internally the lining of the uterus thickens and cervical fluid gets wetter.
Energetically your body takes on the energy of the Waxing Quarter Moon and Spring time energy. So it’s a great time to start fresh with new ideas, brainstorm and do some mind mapping around whatever ideas are percolating or projects that have been on the horizon before this time.
Phase 3: Ovulation.
This is where the magic happens. And not necessarily in the baby making sense. This phase, which is also the shortest inside of the body at a whopping 24-48 hours, consists of a well coordinated dance between hormones, eggs and reproductive organs.
My imagination always sees this phase as a Disney movie song and dance montage with bright colors and flashing lights before it all goes dark again.
However, the real magic for me is in the energetic shift that occurs during this phase. It feels like the peak of a sunrise after the dampness of spring.
So it makes sense that this phase takes on the energy of Summer and the Full Moon. It’s a beautiful time for connecting, collaborating and letting the world see you.
You might also feel extra pretty and reach for clothes that accentuate your most beloved features on your amazing body.
Phase 4: Luteal.
In this final act of your full cycle that ranges anywhere from 12 to 14 days in most menstruating bodies, you get to tap into all that follow-through energy.
While beginnings can be so fun, the finishing is where the real pleasure gets to continue washing over you.
In this phase that takes on the energy of the Waning Quarter Moon and Autumn is where the “doing” part of the creation process happens.
In a physical sense this is where the body (if fertilized) continues the process of supporting life in its early stages. In an energetic sense, this is where you get to see your ideas and implementations take form and come together.
This is where you get to lean on the systems you put in place, set your creativity on autopilot, and focus on the details that will help sustain your project or creation until they are complete.
So how do you even begin to keep track of your own menstrual cycle? Of course, our favorite tool here the Do Less Planner which is designed specifically for keeping tabs on your physical and energetic cycles.
You can also start by writing the day of your cycle in your calendar or journal. For example, when my period begins I write a number “1” on whatever day of the week it is on the monthly view of my calendar and write a few words to describe how my body feels in my journal each day.
Some people find it helpful to also note other markers like the foods they eat or crave each day, what physical activity they do and how they slept the night before.
While it may seem pretty simple in theory, learning to recognize and honor these embedded phases takes time. Most of us have been taught some pretty diminishing messages around menstrual cycles from the time of our first period sighting, so “un-learning” requires patience and a healthy dose of curiosity.
Now we’d love to hear from you! What messages did you have to unlearn to understand your menstrual cycle better? What “aha’s” have you had after reading this post? Share with us in the comment section below.
TAKISHA AUGUST, Community Manager/Head Empress
On calls, in the community, and sometimes 1-on-1 in the inbox helping members of our community feel seen, heard, and more confident about how to use the tools inside of the membership.