I want to help you to unlock your cycle and benefit from the tremendous array of hormonal fluctuations which we experience because of our natural body clock. Over the next few weeks, here on the blog, I will guide you in how to unlock your cycle! We will go through each of the four phases and finally how to track our month and make the most of it.
But why should we be doing this and why has no one told us about this before?
The Tradition of the 24-Hour Clock
Let’s think about how we as people are viewed in terms of our energy levels, our hormones, and our livelihoods. Traditionally, we work around a 24-hour clock. We get up, we eat, we work, we exercise, we rest, we sleep. And repeat. This is great for men, who thrive on the peaks and troughs of testosterone. But this 24-hour clock our society runs on simply ignores a quite important aspect when it comes to being a woman. Our monthly cycle.
The world at large, runs on and values the 24-hour hustle. If you listen to the well-meaning but unbalanced wellness gurus or the keen and driven business strategists, they will tell you to go to bed early, get up at five, do a high intensity workout, and then schedule, schedule, schedule, before kicking back and socialising. So much of the research says this is the right way to live and work but, and big surprise here, that research is all based on men and their body clock which naturally works off of a 24-hour rhythm.
Men have the ability to reset their clock daily. Making the most of their testosterone during the night, when it comes to the morning, he is raring to go. His schedule, his workout and downtime all work so effortlessly and perfectly for him. Which brings me to a quick reminder here, the corporate culture we are involved in has been tailored around the body clock of men. It completely forgets that women are also connected with our infradian rhythm, our second body clock.
This is our 28-day cycle (or 29, 32, whatever is right for you). Because of this, we do not hit reset every 24 hours like men. Our reset happens every 28 or so days, after our hormones go through four very distinct phases. And if we understand this rhythm, we can lean into it and tailor everything about our lives from the way we eat, the way we exercise, the way we mother, the way we work … to basically the whole way we life!
Unlocking Your Cycle
In order to lean in to living our best lives we need to learn about the phases of our cycle, how to approach them, what is common within them, why they occur and how to flow with them. For example, during the Ovulatory Phase our hormones are at their highest. Our brain chemistry is affected by these hormones which stimulate our verbal and social brain centres. During this phase it is also very easy to suppress our own needs, it is a time when we have the ability, energy, and emotional strength to connect with others and give our all. It’s the perfect time to be the mother society expects us to be. The high energy, ‘giving and doing’ woman and mother.
But then we move into the Luteal Phase when our hormones decrease which in turn creates an energy drop. Our brain chemistry alters, and we don’t have that same high energy or ability to suppress our feelings which we had the week before. We are more inward, more in need of looking after ourselves. But because we are not aware of these phases, we don’t move with it. We judge ourselves for not being the superwoman we were last week, forcing ourselves to live in one particular part of our cycle because that is what society expects of us. Be the wonder woman.
So when we move out of the ovulatory phase, everything seems so much harder, because we’re not allowing ourselves time to rest or focus on our self-care. We push ourselves beyond our limits because we think we should. But this simply doesn’t work.
The Science Bit
Our brain chemistry fluctuates by up to 25% during our cycle. This is what creates the hormone unbalance we are all quite familiar with. We often think our cycle is simply connected to our fertility, but along with fertility, it is connected with five other key systems in the body – our brain; our stress response; our metabolism; our immune system; and our microbiome.
If we are living out of balance with our cycle and all of these systems, then we are wreaking havoc on our entire body. So many of us have been messing up our second body clock while also wondering why we are struggling. Bear in mind that up to 60% of women struggle with hormone related issues, while only 10% of men do.
Why We Need to Refocus on Our Cycle
Our cycle is very intuitive. But we are not told this or taught this.
In fact, it’s pretty upsetting to learn about this in our thirties and forties, realising we have been working against ourselves this whole time. But we now have the ability and opportunity to understand why we feel differently at different times of the month and what we can do about it.
By knowing all of this and unlocking your cycle, you will learn that if we subtly shift the way we eat, the way we exercise, approach work and motherhood, everything starts to feel a lot more effortless. Understanding the menstrual cycle, how it ebbs and flows, and how to leverage it, gives you a great deal more predictability over your life.
Even better, as mothers of daughters, we can embolden our children to understand their own cycle. The next generation of women will be empowered by their cycle rather than viewing it as a limitation, or women as being overly emotional and unreliable, thereby changing the negative discourse surrounding our cycle.
Learning this now, applying it now, and understanding the inherent gifts of the different phases is nothing short of life changing.
Unlock Your Cycle Blog Series