The 28-day cycle can roughly be divided into four major phases, which for ease can be classified into winter (day 1-5), summer (day 6-12), monsoon (day 13-18) and autumn (19-28). The actual periods mark just one of the 4 stages of what happens to our body during the month.
The key thing impacting our body during our period cycle is our hormones. And they affect more than just our period. They can affect the way we look, eat, have sex and even think!
The winter chill - Days of the period
This is the time (day 1-5 of your cycle) when the body is working overtime to shed the innermost layer of your uterus (endometrium), resulting in your period, leaving you exhausted and possibly in pain.
Since you are feeling reflective and withdrawn, it’s a good idea to slow down, watch movies on the couch and basically chill. Give yourself permission to rest and recharge for the month ahead. Some light exercise will help alleviate cramps and heavy moods.
Bring on the summer - Your period ends
As your period comes to an end ( days 6-12) your estrogen levels rise, making you feel more energized, confident and optimistic. As your body begins maturing eggs for ovulation, you feel more outgoing and future-focused; your brain is also wired to learn things faster in this phase.
With estrogen levels high, your skins glows and with testosterone levels high you feel on top of your game. This is the perfect time to power through – make big plans, learn new things and take initiative at work. You wake up bright and shiny ready to take the world by storm.
It’s raining estrogen - The ovulation phase
As your body gets ready to release an egg (day 13-18) for fertilization your estrogen levels peak and you are at your sexiest best and fertile in this phase. With such confidence boosts you are also at your most persuasive stage.
It is a great time to use your voice in that meeting, argue for that pay rise and show off your smarts in the office. Get out there, meet new people, engage in social events and charm your friends. It’s also a great phase to have sex (trust me, your body will want to); orgasms are at their intense and attainable in this phase.
Autumn’s here - The premenstrual (PMS) phase
In this phase (days 19-28), the egg that was released during ovulation, if not fertilized dissolves. Estrogen levels are steadily dropping and new hormone is running the show – progesterone. Although progesterone has a calming effect on the body, the sudden changes in hormones can lead to mood swings, irritability, and sensitiveness.
It’s that time of the month when a restaurant getting your order wrong can send you into a fit of anger or a Meri Maggi ad can have you reaching for a box of tissues, sore breasts and body ache don’t make things easier either.
This is a time to exercise to boost serotonin levels and alleviate mood swings. Progesterone also makes us more detail focused, so it’s a great time to do detail-oriented laborious tasks at work, and clean out that closet at home. You are also more oriented towards self care, so taking a long bath, meditating or reading that self help book you have been wanting to catch up on is a good idea in this phase.
Understanding your cycle and working with it instead of expecting yourself to be the same every day is the secret to living with the flow rather than against it.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.