The Basics of Cycle Syncing
Cycle Syncing has become a popular topic among menstruating millennials, but what is it and how does it help you live your juiciest life? Cycle Syncing is the practice of tracking your menstrual cycle through all four phases (Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation & Luteal) and understanding how those phases affect your mood, energy, cravings, and bodily needs. The most simple definition of cycle syncing I’ve found is that it aligns your strengths according to the phase of your menstrual cycle with eating, exercise, and other self-care practices.
"Cycle Syncing has helped me set reasonable expectations for different phases of the month, especially when it comes to exercise and energy levels."
Cycle Syncing has changed my life by giving me a long-term, seasonal view of my body. The Earth experiences daily sun, moon and tidal cycles, and seasonal rhythms in Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. This is why in the winter you’re drawn to hearty squash soups, naps, and hot cocoa, whereas in the summer a lime spritzer and a bathing suit will do you just fine. Think of your cycle as a microcosm of the Earth, with each phase being a little season. Cycle Syncing has helped me set reasonable expectations for different phases of the month, especially when it comes to exercise and energy levels.
"I now embrace the couple of days every month where I can wake up at 5:30 am and crush it all day, write, work, exercise, hang out with friends and feel awesome."
This seasonal view of my body has helped me make sense of breakouts when I had thought my skin was “under control”, given me a sane view on weight fluctuations, and a kindness toward energy levels that change throughout the month. It’s allowed me to take a compassionate, long-term view of my body. I now embrace the couple of days every month where I can wake up at 5:30 am and crush it all day, write, work, exercise, hang out with friends and feel awesome. Whereas on other days I just want to nap, be alone and quiet, and only drink peppermint tea. These changes are completely normal and become easier to anticipate and care for when I track my cycle. Here’s a view of each phase, when it takes place, and how to support it:
Menstrual Phase: About 3-7 days long.
This is the first phase of the cycle, where uterus walls have shed, and are releasing as menses, or, your period. This is a phase where it is beneficial to be alone, and quiet, resting and caring for yourself. This is a great time to set intentions for the month ahead. You may notice your intuition is heightened at this time, and you may have increased creative and strategic ideas. Write them down, but hold off on taking action if you can. Save your energy and keep resting, it will pay off the rest of the month!
Follicular Phase: About 7-10 days long.
This is the second phase of the menstrual cycle, where the Follicular Stimulating Hormone is released promoting the follicles in the ovaries to mature, prepping the egg for release. As estrogen and testosterone rise during this phase, you’ll feel an energy increase. This is a great time to take those intentions and ideas and put them into action. Start working on new projects or endeavors, and it’s a great time for increased body movement.
"Cycle syncing helps us reclaim menstruation as our superpower, and dismantle our bodies from a system that tells us we should be hyper-productive all of the time."
Ovulation: About 3-4 days long.
The egg is released! This is an important step to note if you are trying to get pregnant, or are trying to avoid getting pregnant. In this phase, you are glowing! It’s a great time to engage in social activities, and release your project, business, or idea to the world. Energy levels are peaked at this phase, enjoy it! This is the phase I love to wake up super early and enjoy a very long, productive day and increase my exercise.
Luteal Phase: About 10-14 days long.
In terms of emotional state and energy, the first few days are similar to ovulation. The body starts to produce progesterone, and decrease estrogen and testosterone. The latter half of this time is the phasing into the menstrual cycle, it is natural to feel like you’re winding down and beginning to feel less social and more internal. This is where PMS symptoms may occur, and with that awareness, you can take care of yourself by taking a bath, practicing yoga, and avoiding inflammatory foods. This is a great time to focus on your to-do list, incorporate more rest and slowing down, and enjoy some yoga.
Cycle syncing helps us reclaim menstruation as our superpower, and dismantle our bodies from a system that tells us we should be hyper-productive all of the time. Syncing helps us acknowledge our bodies cyclical needs, and allows us to practice meeting those needs. It gives us the view to take stock of our work and social life, and plan it according to how our bodies will be feeling.
All of the suggestions above are from my own research and experience, so I recommend tracking your cycle and planning your self-care in what arises most naturally for you! If you need support tracking your cycle, there are many amazing apps out there. I use Flo Living and have great success with it. It also gives me the long-term view of my cycle by allowing me to see over the course of many months when I’ve ovulated or started my period. It helps me be in tune with my needs, and track the ways I’ve cared for myself. Cheers to you and your cycle syncing journey, let self-care prevail!
About the author:
Brooke is a Virtual Assistant for small, women-owned businesses and brands. She is passionate about women reclaiming their time and taking up space in the world. Brooke is an advocate of curiosity over judgment, which arises in her writing about menstruation, millennial life, and business.