Life Happens in the Luteal Phase
Every time I have an introductory conversation about ovarian cycles, I hear the same thing
"If I could just get rid of what I feel right before my period... it's the worst"
It's no secret that the phase before menstruation, the Luteal Phase, is the hardest for most of us.
But why? And what is the gift of this 'shadow' phase?
To start, let's explore the energetics behind it.
An 'average' ovarian cycle looks like this:
Days 1-14, body prepares to prepare egg to be released and make baby. Days 14-28: if egg is not fertilized, body prepares and sheds endometrial lining to try again next month.
This means that post day-14, your body has the sudden realization:
Your body's desire is to reproduce, so we can imagine how it feels to tear down the whole process and start anew. Your energy levels and naturally, mindset, follow that energetic shift.
From ovulation on, your energy levels begin to wane slightly every day as estrogen production wanes, and progesterone (known as the sleepy and hungry hormone) starts to balance it out.
This is the Luteal Phase, our body's inner Fall. At harvest time, the earth begins the slow, inward turn towards death that we know as Winter. And so do we; every single month.
I get why this is uncomfortable. I'm currently sitting here In September feeling terrified about the upcoming 6 month inward shift. Everything within me is scared to die, scared I won't rebuild back to this place I'm in now. Scared at the thought of having to feel those things again, and being faced with my own inner darkness.
I'd rather not.
Even more unfairly, the Luteal Phase is the longest phase. It's nearly two weeks. And for me, those are two slow weeks.
This means that inevitably my life... real, life, happens in the Luteal Phase. Those few days when we're perfectly perky slip by quickly. Meanwhile in Luteal, every day drags by with a little less light. Until suddenly...
It's a transformation. We're no longer the estrogen-satiated being we were in Follicular & Ovulation, noooo sir or maam... We've left that behind.
We've got serious things on our mind now. Important things. Decisions to make, work to complete. Until one day... we're just f*cking sick of it all. And we stop.
We say No. We mean it. We carve out space for an hour to ourselves to do nothing but whatever we want to do for heaven's sake. We give a sh*t about what we put in our body, and we LIKE IT.
This usually happens around Days 23-25 for me. Maybe it's earlier for you? Or later?
At this point, we're really really really good at being honest with ourselves.
We are being assisted to name what's true for us. To make adjustments for next cycle.
It's time to reclaim this time. That's the best solution I can see if we're going to spend 2 weeks out of the month in it.
I offer the perspective that this time serves a helpful purpose... and if we're listening, we can be allies with our body during it.
This progesterone dominant time is the best for internal focus. It brings a new level of calmness and clarity that isn't there when we are hyped up by estrogen.
PMS stands for pre-menstrual symptoms, and arguably, the worse yours are, the more your body is throwing up signs that it needs some support.
If we're paying attention, we may realize that in Luteal Phase (inner fall) we have space only for the things that are giving back in to our lives. And if you dig in to what that is... maybe next month won't be full of quite so many adjustments, cancelled plans, and mental stress.
Let's face it, most of us spend little if any time analyzing our own sh*t. It's easier to place the focus externally, or to stay so busy that we have little energy devoted to our own feelings.
Sis... you wanna build that empire, right? You're looking to achieve all of your life goals and plans, yeah?
This will help, I promise you. This phase serves the purpose of helping you prune back what is no longer serving your highest good.
Culture casts a spell of make-believe on us that achieving more, hustling more, will get us where we're trying to go.
In reality, we have EVERYTHING we need, right inside of us, if we only listened.
I leave you with this... maybe this time doesn't suck.
Maybe it's an important marker of the space you've created in your life.
If it's feeling overly stressful once the fluffy, estrogen glow wears off... maybe it's time to do something about it.
Keep your wild. Tame your life. Make it Yours.
From the author:
"The Luteal Phase PMS life is no fun.... if you're struggling with symptoms around this time of your cycle, they can be considered messengers, showing you where in your life your health could be supported.
As a Women's Holistic Hormone Health Practitioner, my area of focus is helping females make space for healing and hormone balance.
1:1 Work: If you're interested in exploring Lifestyle Medicine together, whether it be for accountability, a safe space, or a specific Menstrual Disorder you need assistance navigating, you may contact me at email@example.com