For so many of us, our periods are often revered as one of the worst parts of being a woman.
Just think about how they're marketed to us... unpredictable mood swings, frustrating breakouts and painful period cramps, not to mention the actual inconvenience of having to deal with bleeding.
However they're a super-useful indicator of the current state of our whole body health, as well as an inbuilt reminder for us to slow down and check-in with our energy.
The truth is that everybody's period experiences are different. And I really do believe that when we track our cycle then we can understand what is happening with our body, and this is the real key to respecting our bodies and shifting our period-perspective.
DAY 1-5 MENSTRUAL
HORMONES - Our cycle begins with menstruation, the “winter season” when our body resets hormone levels. Oestrogen and progesterone are both at their lowest, with progesterone's dip causing the shedding of your uterine lining (the bleed). Our body also releases prostaglandins - a chemical signal-controller that stimulates muscle contractions and ensures blood clots.
SKIN - Oestrogen and progesterone are both responsible for cellular hydration and barter function so skin can feel dull and lifeless. The release of prostaglandins can also cause skin to feel sensitive and irritated.
MOOD- During this season we turn inwards, enjoying our own company and feeling quite introverted. The physical process of menstruation can also be quite energetically draining and we can easily feel tired and irritable.
DAY 6-12 FOLLICULAR PHASE
HORMONES - As we move into the follicular phase and move towards the “spring season”, oestrogen levels begin to rise. A hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is released and causes the follicles in one of your ovaries to mature. These follicles contain your eggs.
SKIN- Skin starts to behave itself again after any potential PMS breakouts subside. With oestrogen responsible for collagen production, our natural luminosity begins to increase and skin feels hydrated and is at its most absorbent.
MOOD- Our mood begins to pick up as we begin to feel more outgoing and creative.
DAY 13-18 OVULATION
HORMONES- Ovulation is next and is the time when we really blossom into our “summer season”. A surge of Luteinizing hormone causes the follicle to release its egg into the fallopian tube. Oestrogen and testosterone are at their highest.
SKIN - This hormone peak places skin at it's best, dewy and hydrated but not oily with pores minimised.
MOOD- Our rising energy peaks and we experience a high in confidence levels and libido.
DAY 19-28 LUTEAL PHASE
HORMONES - Finally we head into the Luteal phase - the “autumn season” where oestrogen and progesterone dip and testosterone rises.
SKIN - The decrease of oestrogen causes us to lose our natural glow while the surge of testosterone encourages oil glands to produce more sebum making us more breakout-prone.
MOOD - As we enter this final phase we begin to turn our energy inwards, feeling more reflective and analytical. The dip in progesterone can also makes us irritable and more likely to feel frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed.