Navigating the 2nd Half Of Your Cycle
So you've begun cycle syncing, congratulations! It is a huge step to take back the knowledge and understanding of your body in this way. Perhaps you've noticed that there's a certain time of the month where you think about your cycle a lot more. If we may offer up a guess, it would be that the second half of your cycle gets to ya most.
Days 15-28ish are what we consider the second half of the Menstrual Cycle. Like the moon, you have a distinct halfway point where the "dark" starts to overtake the light. This cycle can be backed up hormonally as well, it's the second half of your cycle where progesterone starts to "take over" the brain and smother all of the good estrogen we've had running the show up to this point. (We're learning all about this in book club right now -- join us!)
This second half of the cycle also known as the LUTEAL & MENSTRUAL phases is typically the hardest for women. It's the time where we're forced to descend and meet our shadows because everything is leading us to turn inward. This shift first occurs after ovulation, so once you see the signs of fertility, start to pay attention to your waning energy levels which will be gradual at first.
Seasonally, these phases are our inner autumn and inner winter. We can't have a rebirth without first having a "death" and though this sounds grim, it's an absolutely essential part of the process. Let's be glad it doesn't last as long as actual autumn and winter! There's the hope and renewal of the Follicular Phase riiiight around the corner.
If you're starting to cycle sync and you wonder where to begin, we say lean in to this second half of the cycle where you start to become really conscious of how you feel (sadly it's when we don't feel quite as "good"). All of the phases are important to sync with eventually, however below we've outlined a few really important things to keep in mind when navigating these phases specifically.
Luteal + Menstrual Phase Survival Strategies:
You. Will. Be. Hungrier. Your body needs more calories because your metabolism has actually sped up here. Eat more slow burning carbohydrates for energy [sweet potato, a real hero] brown rice is good too, these brown rice and millet noodles on our phases grocery list are are a great gluten-free meal option for noodle bowls, ramen, stir fries, and more!
Be really mindful of your work outs. As we've discussed in the group, if you're struggling with hormonal imbalance, intense workouts over 30 minutes can actually cause you to gain weight ESPECIALLY in Luteal + Menstrual. Your body does not need this extra stress. It's best to focus on less intense workouts that incorporate stretching such as active yoga, a power walk, and lots of rest for Menstrual!
Get down n' dirty with your journal. Having a regular practice of talking to yourself through words on a page is so essential for a busy female brain struggling to make sense of it all. During Luteal and Menstrual you'll feel an especially strong pull to write because it's likely you'll have a lot going on in your brain. Estrogen has a soothing effect on the brain, and Progesterone is like its frazzled cousin. Once progesterone starts to rule, we really follow suit and can feel a lot more insecure, nervous, anxious, and depressed. Since women have a 2-1 rate of depression compared to their male counterparts, it's really important for us to be the ultimate masters of how we feel and not rely on someone else to tell us it's ok.
Curb cravings. Craving salty foods or sweets around this time means your body needs something. Salt cravings can be a sign of dehydration and/or mineral depletion. Try adding in a tasty electrolyte to your water like these LMNT packets, which are full of magnesium, sodium, and potassium while giving that salty flavor (think margarita with salt on the rim.) If sweets are your vice, it likely means your mood is low and you could use a healthy carbohydrate boost. Try some mashed sweet potatoes with maple syrup and toasted walnuts! A 2005 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women whose diet included foods with higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D had less of a risk for PMS than women who got loss of these micronutrients from their food. Additionally, magnesium is a MUST try if you suffer from painful cramping.
Have a cramp plan. Having cramps is no fun, have a plan of what you'll do to ease these symptoms if/when they arise. If your cramps are so painful, you feel the urge to reach for pain medication every time, there's definitely a deeper look needed in to your hormone levels. However, mild cramping is to be expected with the uterus contractions and especially in the in-between of balancing hormones. A nice heating pad on the couch is a great solution, as well as a soothing salve to rub on your uterus. We recommend dark chocolate too, trust us, it helps -- and that's why we offer it and other helpful goodies in our period box.
Do you, boo. It may be necessary to avoid making plans in the week you're most impacted. It's not as fun to go out or show up in the world when you aren't really feeling like yourself. Maybe you're just tired, or perhaps your mood and outlook on life is suffering as well. Either way, taking the time you need to do self-care activities as simply as cleaning and organizing your house, or slow mornings spent reading and relaxing, these are food and fuel for your body, mind and spirit. You have permission to say yes to what's right for you.
Working on your cortisol levels and supporting your adrenals is also really key in these phases, we'll save the details on that topic for a future post.
Our recommendation? Work on one thing at a time. One do-able regular practice will make much more of a difference than trying to do half a dozen new things at a time.
Making sense of these shifts is what we're focused on in our group community + weekly Hormonoscope texts. Join in if you are feeling called to learn more!
Group Community Access is Now Free, and Hormonoscope is only $7 per month for a limited time. Join on our website to get the Horoscope for your Hormones timed to your moon cycle and texted to you every week.
Wishing you wellness and deep enjoyment of life.
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