Throughout this series, Unlocking Your Cycle, I want you to recognise the vital reason behind delving deep into understanding our ‘ rhythm’, which is supporting ourselves.
If we support our bodies and minds in each phase of our cycle, leaning into the possibilities it creates, we are allowing ourselves to live our best life.
This is what I want to teach you. How to stop sabotaging yourself and working against your natural rhythm.
Instead, I am encouraging you to listen to your body, and nurture it in the way it needs - mind, body, and soul.
This week we are looking at the Ovulatory Phase. It’s important I reiterate this point of supporting ourselves this week because if we provide for our body during this phase, in particular, we can help to avoid any issues which may arise during the second half of our cycle!
Let’s remember, our cycle is not something which operates in isolation. It affects six key systems in our body:
1. Our brain
2. Our immune system
3. Our metabolism
4. Our microbiome
5. Our stress response; and
6. Our fertility.
If we continue to ignore the phases of our cycle and lock ourselves back into what is considered the culturally ‘normal’ way of living – in other words, maintaining a circadian, male centred body clock – we are continually throwing our hormones off balance which negatively impact those six key systems in our body.
We’ve all heard the expression, “Looks like someone got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning!” In many ways, this is how men may feel if their 24-hour clock is disrupted. If they go to bed too late, or wake up too early, or if their day is disorganised and out of balance with their natural hormonal cycles, their mood, ability, and energy will shift in the wrong direction.
For women, when we try to live in this culturally expected way, which let’s remember has evolved with the male body clock in mind, we are CONSTANTLY throwing our hormones off balance.
That’s why only 10% of men experience hormonal related issues, whereas up to 60% of women do. Living in a way which ignores, suppresses, or causes imbalance to our hormones affects more than our cycle. It affects everything from our mental health, to our ability to fight off infection, our weight, our stress levels and more. So let’s figure out how to live our best life through the ovulatory phase.
The Ovulatory Phase
The Science Bit
The Ovulatory Phase lasts from three to five days. However, energetically we can feel its effects for a few days either side, so you may find you get ten days out of this phase from an energetic point of view. As with all things of the mind and body, it is very individual, but you will get to know yourself as you tune into the shifts your body makes.
The Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, which we uncovered last week, now rises to stimulate the follicle to release an egg. Alongside this, estrogen, which is highest during this phase, increases to thicken the uterine lining. And testosterone surges, driving desire, then drops around ovulation itself.
These changing hormones affect our brain in amazing ways during each phase and remember, our brain changes by up to 25% across each 28-day cycle! For instance, as our estrogen levels rise, the hippocampus, the part of the brain used for learning and memory, will actually grow! This is why we can leverage our cycle to lean into our brain's changing structure and take advantage of how our brain's natural proclivities change as we move through the different phases.
During the ovulatory phase our verbal and social centres of our brain are highly stimulated, which means communication and collaboration skills are at an all-time high.
How to Move & Eat with the Ovulatory Phase
The extra energy we have this week provides the power we need for high impact workouts. So find those kettlebells, increase your heartrate with HIIT, or break through a power yoga session. The Ovulatory Phase is a great time for group workouts too, for example indoor cycling, bootcamp, or kickboxing classes.
It is a time for powering through and utilising that extra energy, commitment, and enthusiasm which is sweeping through your body.
During this phase our body temperature is higher so it's an ideal phase to go for the smoothies and eat more raw foods. Fresh, uncooked vegetables and fruit help your body to metabolise and eliminate any estrogen surplus.
It’s a good time to talk through the stress associated with our cycle. The physical and emotional symptoms experienced during PMS and other issues experienced in the second half of our cycle are often a sign that something is out of alignment in the first half of our cycle. It is another reason why it is important to lean into our cycle and provide ourselves with everything we need at all stages of our cycle.
Excess estrogen which is not metabolised and eliminated during ovulation can show up later as hormonal breakouts, painful cramps, and breast tenderness. Foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats can alleviate these symptoms.
Caring for our bodies during this week is essential as we guide our bodies into the next phase and the second part of our cycle. By eating well, providing the correct nourishment our bodies need, we can help alleviate issues which may follow. By exercising our bodies and minds, we prepare ourselves for the next intensified phase which will encourage us to slow down, be mindful, and rest. We can take this opportunity to open out and explore.
How to Work & Mother with the Ovulatory Phase
This phase is energetic but not solely in body. Our minds are alight with the same energy and enthusiasm. Our concentration levels are higher, our commitment is stronger, and the social and verbal centres of our brains are lit up. We are pretty much ready to take on the world. So what can this mean for the different areas of our lives?
How to Work:
Unlike other phases in our cycle, we are loving the limelight, the attention, and are inspired to take on more responsibility, tackle difficult jobs, and lead. It’s a time when having those important conversations with your colleagues, your team, or your boss will be in your favour as you exude self-belief and confidence. You may find you are more open to negotiating deals, pitching ideas, or excited about job interviews. You may even find asking for a raise or going for a promotion much easier around now compared to any another time.
Our verbal skills are heightened, our ability to be social and connect improves, meaning it’s the best time to provide talks or give a presentation or workshop. At meetings you are more willing and capable to entertain clients, network at events, and work on team projects.
It is a time to pretty much get stuck in and explore how you can connect with those you work.
How to Mother:
The same goes for how to mother during this phase. We are open and energetic, connected, and social so get together with the family, organise those playdates, and connect with friends. Our social centres are alight, and we revel in time with loved ones.
During this phase we are more akin to show our nurturing side also and our connection and bond with our kids is wonderfully amplified. Estrogen boosts this desire so show them added and focused love and affection. If possible indulge in one-on-one time with your kids as it’s a great time to talk to them and focus on emotional check-ins. Our want and need to connect with others is increased and our ability to listen, observe and get along is strong. In fact, it’s easier now to resolve any conflicts which may transpire.
How to do Self-Care:
Remember to include self-care into this phase, as it’s very easy during the ovulatory phase to suppress our own needs, so we need to be intentional about making time for self care.
We tend to feel extra confident and desirable during this phase as our bodies prepare for fertilisation. So dress up if it makes you feel good, have a date night, or indulge in a bath with salts and give yourself a massage with coconut oil afterwards. Love yourself!
Unlock Your Cycle Blog Series