Let’s dive deeper into what really happens throughout your menstrual cycle and how it impacts your productivity, sense of self, and overall, what each stage means. Having a period is something all women have to go through, it’s a part of life, just not always very understood, or enjoyable.

Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash

(Originally posted on Medium)

I’m about to share some easy-to-digest information about why you feel full of life one week and ready to curl up in bed the next because I don’t know about you, this is a never-ending story women will have to tell for the rest of their lives, all thanks to the menstrual cycle.

It’s about time we knew a little more about it.

Here we go.


1. The Period.

Your body is getting rid of the uterine lining because an egg wasn’t fertilised. All hormone levels are super low, so low your productivity is almost non-existent. This is day one of the cycle, and probably when you feel the most rubbish.

Grab your sanitary products, chocolate, hot water bottle and tissues just in case you need a little cry.

During the first day of your period, even the smallest of tasks feel like a huge deal. Your brain is foggy, everything hurts, and sometimes some of us experience pain so incredibly bad, that we can’t even get out of bed.

What should you do during this stage?

Take it easy. That is the best advice, oh and don’t be afraid to take some meditation or practice herbal remedies to support your period pain. Whatever works for you, make sure you are prepared. There are also tons of different vitamins and supplements for women to take to help with pain.

So yeah, minimise your to-do list and focus on yourself. If you work from home make sure you get up and move about a little bit. Movement does help with the pain even though it feels like you want to be horizontal all day.

Make sure you keep yourself hydrated and well fed, you don’t want to be feeling dizzy from what’s going on inside your body! Also, keep track of time if you use tampons, and be sure to stay comfortable and clean.


2. Proliferative Phase

This phase of your menstrual cycle begins when your period ends. Estrogen is rising, preparing your body for an egg to be released. So, to make that a little more clearer, after your period ends, another phase will begin, and more hormones will be going wild.

Although a lot is happening inside, you will likely feel more energised, confident, and ready to get sh** done. This can also be thanks to no longer losing any blood, feeling all groggy and being able to go out without worrying about what’s in your pants.

So, during this phase, make the most of it. Tidy your space, get ready for the next phase in the cycle and get some things done you may have missed last week.

What should you do during this stage?

Roll with it! There isn’t much you can do for most of your cycle other than go with it and look after yourself. After your period you have time to get things done and feel good about it. Enjoy the small boost of productivity and self-esteem.

Again, if you haven’t moved a lot for the past week, you could also integrate some more cardio into your daily routine, maybe even some pilates or yoga to slowly ease back into it. There’s tons of advice on what exercise you should do at each phase, but just pick something you enjoy.


3. Follicular Phase

This may sound confusing but we have to cover it. You have probably heard of the follicular phase when reading about the menstrual cycle. It is happening throughout the period and the proliferative phase. (I know, confusing but it’s usually just broken down into follicular, ovulation and luteal).

The follicular and luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

The period and proliferative phase are within the follicular phase as you can see in the image above. The period you have just had was created by the unfertilised egg of the last ovulation. Now you are getting ready for the next. This happens behind the scenes for this stage.

I KNOW IT IS NEVER ENDING.

Throughout your period and proliferative phase, the next follicle is chosen and getting ready for ovulation, weird to imagine a little egg is waiting to be chosen to then either become a baby or your next period. Estrogen continues to rise now and FSH is being released from the pituitary gland.

What should you do?

Once your period is over your energy levels should still be increasing. You’re feeling good, sexy, and ready for life. During the follicular and proliferative phase your body is experiencing a lot of changes and hormone levels are rising.

This means you may have a burst of motivation and productivity one day and the next feel a little burnt out, just ride with it. Once your period ends, make the most of the burst of energy you will feel and get things done.


4. Ovulation

The chosen egg has matured and is released! Woo hoo! So, like we said in the last phase, the follicular phase, an egg is chosen and prepared to be released. This is how babies are made… So you guessed it. You’re feeling erm, reproductive?

Estrogen has peaked so hold onto this feeling because it’s not going to last long. With the rise of estrogen, your body feels like it should. You may feel like you want to make babies, so if you do, and don’t want one, maybe avoid the possibility…

Some women claim to feel really empowered at this stage, this is where they feel the most motivated and ready to go. However, some women may also experience ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz, this may make you feel a bit rubbish, but at least you know you’re ovulating!

What should you do now?

Well, productivity-wise you should still be feeling full of it. Please make the most of it now. As soon as your estrogen drops so will your energy. That being said, don’t overdo it or burn yourself out, your body is also doing lots of things in the background now, especially if you are trying to conceive.

So, get things done, make the most of feeling super sexy and prepare to get pregnant, or prepare for another period to come along, because this isn’t the end, we are nearly starting all over again.


5. Secretory Phase

This is the period of time after you have ovulated, as shown in the previous image. This is happening throughout the luteal phase, which we will cover in just a minute. During the secretory phase your body is now preparing to grow a human, or for your next period.

During this phase of your menstrual cycle, your brain also becomes a little calmer, right after feeling super motivated and raring to go. Make sure you relax during this time because before you know it, your progesterone levels are going to drop again, and your period will be here.

This is a weird time because now your progesterone is rising high, and other hormones are dropping low. This time can be different for anyone but mostly you feel pretty good whilst hormones are level, and then pretty rubbish when progesterone increases and the rest plummet.

What should you do during this phase?

Try and get things done whilst you still have some energy. Move slowly, and don’t get mad at yourself for feeling empty. Once you have ovulated your body is working hard to get ready for the next phase, a period or a baby.

Make sure you have everything you need for the impending period if that’s what’s coming. Get everything done, and save some time in your calendar for when your period is about to arrive.


6. Luteal Phase

Ovulation happens and then the secretory phase occurs along the Luteal Phase. Ugh, I know it’s confusing, the secretory phase means the second half of your menstrual cycle, which is also the luteal phase once ovulation has occurred.

If you are pregnant, progesterone stays high if you’re not, it drops. This causes all those PMS symptoms you might get before your period. If you track your period this can also be an indicator you are pregnant because your temperature will also remain high.

You can learn more about naturally tracking your menstrual cycle here.

What should you do during this stage?

Once you start to experience discomfort, cramps, and mood swings, give yourself a break. Don’t force anything, you’ll get even moodier… This is how you know the luteal phase is over and your period is about to begin.

Then, there we have it!

The cycle begins again 🔄


(Everyone experiences their menstrual cycle differently; you may feel differently.)

Thank you for reading if you made it to the end of this post. I would love to know your thoughts.

Let’s connect if you’re looking for someone to create similar content!

You can email me at writtenbycharlotte@gmail.com or find me on IG at @writtenbycharlotte

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