Cycle Syncing: How to Harmonize Your Menstrual Cycle With Your Lifestyle
Have you noticed how in the run-up to your periods, even a minor issue sets you off emotionally? And no matter how many candies you gobble or romcoms you watch, nothing beats how shoddy you feel inside. It’s no wonder why so many women flip off on their coworkers, family, or friends during “that time of the month”.
If you have ever wondered why you go through this emotional rollercoaster every month, the answer lies in your hormones. As your hormones move through the ebbs and flows of the menstrual cycle, your energy, aura, and mood sync along.
“Our menstrual cycles can greatly impact our mental and physical health”, says Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist, and women’s hormone expert in her book WomanCode. She coined the term “Cycle Syncing” to introduce the concept of how women can tune into their menstrual cycles to prepare against hormonal fluctuations.
What Is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle Syncing means making conscious lifestyle choices for each phase of your menstrual cycle. Irrespective of your cycle length (which varies between 21-35 days), you can optimize your workouts, nutrition, and self-care according to your cycle stages to beat PMS, moodiness, and burnout.
A study from the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics confirms that hormonal fluctuations affect our urges, thoughts, moods, and much more. So as you understand how hormones govern your energy and emotions during a typical cycle, you can pre-emptively take steps to optimize your energy, mood, and overall health.
What Are The Stages Of Cycle Syncing?
Just like the four changing seasons, your menstrual cycle goes through four phases. During these phases, the flux in levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone manifests in physical and emotional clues. Estrogen and progesterone are your “feel good” hormones while testosterone is the “do more” hormone.
On low estrogen days, you might feel weary and low. Come the high progesterone days, you’d feel cheery as daisies. Hence, learning what happens inside your body and how it manifests in your mood can power your self-care. Let’s dive into these phases so you can cycle sync to better health.
Follicular Phase (Spring)
Depending on your cycle length, the follicular phase can start around 7 to 10 days after your period. In this stage, your body prepares to release eggs from the ovarian follicle and bumps the production of estrogen or progesterone.
As these hormones prepare your body for a possible pregnancy, you would feel a surge in energy, productivity, and creativity during this phase.
Ovulation Phase (Summer)
Lasting for 4 days, this phase occurs in the middle of your cycle. So if you have a 28-day cycle, expect your ovulation phase to be around the 14th day. This is also when you are at your most fertile. Your ovaries release an egg in anticipation of fertilizing with a sperm.
If conception doesn’t occur 24 hours after ovulation, the unfertilized egg is destroyed signaling the body to initiate periods in about 14 days. During this phase your estrogen levels peaks along with testosterone and progesterone. As a result, you will enjoy elevated moods and sex drive. This is a great time for your confidence, vigor, and self-esteem.
Luteal Phase (Fall)
Do you reach for the cookie jar more often on days before your periods? This craving for sweet goods and comfort foods is typical of the luteal phase. Also known as the pre-menstrual phase, it comes after ovulation and lasts for 10 to 14 days.
By this point, your body slows down the production of estrogen which shows up in crummy emotions. Fatigue, edginess, and cramps are some of the lousy side symptoms of this phase. Signs that your periods are soon to make an entrance.
Menstrual Phase (Winter)
Lastly, the menstrual phase starts the day you start bleeding as the uterus sheds its lining called the endometrium. This is the beginning of a new cycle that lasts for 3-7 days. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels shrink.
Abdominal cramps, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and mood swings are usual miseries this phase brings.
How To Do A Holistic Cycle Sync?
Doing a holistic cycle sync means tailoring your nutrition, workouts, and spiritual undertakings with every phase of the menstrual cycle. When you work with your body’s natural rhythms, you feel more energized and productive.
Embracing the following lifestyle tweaks will bring balance into your life – regardless of your period phase.
Leverage the high energy of the follicular phase with physically demanding workouts. Zumba, Cardio, and Crossfit are some of the energy-intensive workouts apt for this phase.
During this time, eat iron-rich foods like legumes, dark leafy greens, and lean red meat to support healthy hormone production. Consume calcium-rich foods and B vitamins to regulate your mood and energy levels.
As this phase is connected to the solar plexus chakra, perform activities in the sun to balance this chakra and supercharge your creativity
During this phase, HIIT, Circuit Training, Strength Training, and Hot Yoga are the best workouts to help you get toned muscles and a defined figure.
Eat foods rich in zinc like oysters, nuts, and seeds to support your reproductive health. Also, include omega-3-rich foods like salmon and walnuts that reduce inflammation.
The heart chakra governs this phase so balance this chakra with a heart chakra meditation to activate joy and bliss in your life.
To combat the attack of hormones, anxiety, and low energy levels in this phase, stick to a lighter workout routine. Meditation, Yoga, Power Walking, or Pilates are your go-to workouts.
Opt for magnesium-rich foods like spinach, chard, and legumes to cope with the cramping and bloating. Stock up on treats that you don’t mind eating when your period comes. Fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, chips, crackers, etc. are a great way to eat healthy while you’re on your period.
The crown chakra is the primary chakra of this luteal phase, regulating your moods and behavior. Take steps like using an essential oil blend of lavender, neroli, and frankincense to ease discomfort during this phase.
This is the time to rest and reset. Most women feel too fatigued and crampy to even consider a workout. But if you want to add some movement, opt for gentle stretches, yoga, or walking.
To cope with bodily stress and cramps, eat magnesium and calcium-rich foods like kale, spinach dark chocolate, broccoli, etc. Seeds like flax and pumpkin, soups, and high-quality proteins are excellent foods to nourish your body at this stage.
How to Use Sound Healing To Manage PMS?
A recent research conducted on women with chronic PMS symptoms concluded that sound healing therapy using singing bowls lessened their pain and suffering before and during periods. Additionally, the participants reported an increase in vitality, energy levels, and mood that lasted over the next cycles.
Singing bowls or tuning forks use the power of sound frequencies that resonate through you to minimize your PMS symptoms. You can listen to a sound bath or do your own sound healing session using singing bowls before or during your periods. The tender, soothing sounds oozing out of struck singing bowls will ease your anxiety and calm the cramps.
Get your own singing bowls here