The female body is a work of art. To describe it as anything less would be to do it a disservice. As women, we have the ability to create and sustain life. And what could be more beautiful than that?
Every month, from puberty to menopause, the female body ebbs and flows as it goes through a series of changes. It’s for this reason that the female body has a very different hormonal landscape to the male body. Yet, we live, work and operate in a world that doesn’t acknowledge the changing seasons of menstruating women’s bodies throughout their fertile years. However, knowledge is power and it’s never too late to learn the subtle intricacies of your menstrual cycle.
Here, the four seasons of a menstrual cycle and how to embrace them:
The winter season begins on day one of your cycle (i.e. your first day of bleeding). Now is the time to bunker down at home and focus on self-care. During the winter season, our hormones are at the lowest point that they will be for the entire cycle; it’s not unusual to feel like you’re running on empty right now. The physical release of the uterine lining drains energy from your body, so this is the perfect time to rest and reset. Curl up on the couch and set your intentions for the month ahead.
Once you become familiar with the timing of your cycle, you might choose to highlight the winter season and plan accordingly. As women, we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders; however, you’re entitled to block out a few days each month to rest.
When you think of spring, what comes to mind? Flowers in bloom, long days and a sense of vibrancy? This season of your menstrual cycle isn’t too dissimilar.
As your period draws to an end, your oestrogen levels begin to climb; this has a direct effect on your energy levels and should put some pep in your step. Spring exists in the transition between menstruation and ovulation, and many women experience this season differently. Some may feel enthusiastic, creative and motivated; while others may feel tender and vulnerable. There is no right or wrong way to feel; wherever you’re at is perfect.
When summer hits, we are on top of the world. During this time, the body is ovulating, which is what it has been building up to since shedding the uterine lining. Right now, oestrogen levels are high and we even experience a boost in testosterone. This is a fiery period where introverts become extroverts, and natural-born extroverts reach Beyonce-levels of confidence. In summer, our body is naturally primed for sex – we’re more wet, more fertile and more juicy. If you’re trying to conceive, now is the time to grab some body oil, lube and hit the sheets.
After ovulation, the female body goes down one of two paths – if you have conceived, this is where the beautiful journey of pregnancy begins, and if you haven’t conceived, we transition into autumn.
Now, progesterone levels begin to spike. Compared to fun-loving oestrogen, progesterone is a little more tetchy. We can feel more sensitive during this time and more insular. While this big hormonal change is afoot, autumn can be tricky. As progesterone increases, oestrogen levels go through a series of dips before making their final decline. These sudden changes can make us feel moody, teary, and sensitive; or in more extreme circumstances, you might feel anxious and depressed.
A typical menstrual cycle features highs, lows and everything in between. Sure, autumn might be tricky but armed with the right knowledge, we can embrace the journey and make it through. Brighter days are never too far away.