Have you ever noticed that you are full with energy around the time of your ovulation? Craving sweet food just before your period starts? Or feeling tired and drained of energy when menstruating? That’s no coincidence. Research has proved that progesterone and estrogen fluctuations play a crucial role in neurological and psychological development and function, which includes brain function, cognition, emotional status, sensory processing, appetite and more. In other words: these mood swings, energy shifts and food cravings are caused by changing hormone levels. Rather than just dealing with it and ignoring the signs of your body, you can take advantage of these hormone fluctuations by cycle syncing.
Living in sync with your cycle
Cycle syncing is when you shift your diet, exercise, work tasks, intimacy and rituals based on where you are in your menstrual cycle. You’re living in sync with your cycle – hence the name. The natural hormone cycle consists of four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal and menstrual, each with its different characteristics. As women are cyclical in nature, it doesn’t make sense to keep your habits stagnant. Cycle syncing can help you regulate your cycle, be more productive and increase balance between work, self-care and family.
Listen to your body
Cycle syncing is all about listening to your body. Be gentle, follow its rhythm and pay attention to its cues. If your body doesn’t feel like a high intensity workout class when you’re on your period, don’t go. If your body is sexually aroused, go for it! To get started, observe for a few months how you’re feeling each day, what your energy levels are like, and what type of foods you crave. At the same time, track the length of your menstrual cycle, either with an app or just by writing it down. After a few months of observing, you will notice patterns that coincide with the phases of your menstrual cycle. Then it’s time to start planning your month according to your cycle.
Menstrual phase: rest, read over your work, self-reflect and let go of things that no longer suit you. Do light exercise like yin yoga or go for a slow walk in nature. Pamper yourself. Drink cramp-soothing tea and a lot of water and eat nourishing foods that are rich in iron to make up for the blood loss.
Follicular phase: dream big. Energy is on the rise so this is a time to try new things and show up for social events. Go for a light run or a hike and top your plate with vegetables and foods that are rich in protein.
Ovulation phase: energy peaks, so this is a wonderful time to speak on stage, deliver a pitch or go on a date. Workout-wise, go for high-intensity interval training and group classes. Eat foods that are rich in magnesium like spinach and dark chocolate.
Luteal phase: the best time to pay attention to detail and do administrative tasks. Try pilates, stretching and yoga. Food-wise, go for warm, soft and comfort, like vegetable soup, avocado and sweet potato.
Boost fertility: get busy when ovulating
International wellness expert Erin Doppelt works with cycle syncing and has shared its practices with female entrepreneurs for a more productive workflow. Doppelt, who has helped many women through her healing techniques, says cycle syncing can also help with fertility issues. ‘When women show up for a phased-based routine, they’re supporting the natural fluctuations of their hormones. When you connect to the natural rhythm of your body and move in flow rather than force with the natural harmony of your body, healing occurs. Each phase has specific super powers: for example, when you ovulate, you have a 48 hour window where you have amplified energy. This is also the time you’re most fertile and the opportune time to get busy with your partner. When you track and become mindful of your cycle, you increase the changes of the egg and sperm meeting at the right time.’
Chakras & cycle syncing
Blending eastern rituals with western psychology, Doppelt has a range of coaching programs to ensure women come into their connected, mindful and best selves. The cycle syncing practices are a core teaching in her Mindfulness and Wellbeing Strategy Certificate. She also works with chakras, spiritual energy centres within the body, in conjunction with cycle syncing to help women with period issues. ‘Cycle syncing and the chakras are tools to use to get into alignment. The aim is to work, move and play from a place of alignment. When you’re comfortable in your body, connected to your breath and your natural rhythm, you can be at peace with both yourself and your natural moon flow.’