Knowing Your Menstrual Cycle (and the Benefits of Being in Tune With It)
by Saalt and Kindred Spirit
We all know that our periods bring about hormonal changes that affect our mood, appetite, complexion, energy levels and so much more. Did you know that there are four phases of your menstrual cycle? When we learn about the changes happening to our bodies, we can see how they might affect other parts of our lives. To experience the benefits of being in tune with your cycle, brush up on the different cycle phases, and find a tracking method that works for you – whether that’s an app or a traditional calendar – to understand which stage you’re at.
The Menstrual Phase
Your cycle begins with your period, or the bleeding phase, which lasts anywhere from 4-7 days. Since bloating is usually associated with this phase, avoid consuming too much salt or alcohol. Plan your night out for a different time! This is when you’ll feel the most cramping and physical symptoms of your period. You may also get more food cravings, have less energy and be more withdrawn. This could be a great time to lay low and do some organising. Getting stuff crossed off your to do list at work and home will help you get in a better mood!
The Follicular Phase
The follicular phase follows the bleeding phase and lasts until you ovulate. You’ll feel much more energetic, focused, have fewer cravings, and more emotional stability. This is a great time to fill up your social calendar, hit the gym hard or schedule big meetings. You’re braver and more curious during this time, so take advantage of it!
The Ovulation Phase
This is probably the time during your cycle when you feel your most flirtatious, outgoing, communicative, and forthcoming. Use this time to make big moves like asking for a promotion or going on a date. Biologically speaking, this is when you’re flaunting your feathers to attrat romantic attention. It is also the time when you are most fertile, so be mindful of this and make sure you are prepared accordingly.
The Luteal Phase
This phase leads back to your menstrual phase and occurs about 2 weeks before you bleed again. This is when PMS symptoms come. Your moods may swing a bit more, you’ll have less energy and feel symptoms like headaches and tiredness. Try to keep your schedule light and manageable, give yourself time to rest, and be patient with yourself and others. Since you may get frustrated more easily, try not to go too hard at the gym, or tackle a big project.
What are you putting in your body… and then into the Earth?
“It’s just one tampon” …said two billion people
Rubbish and plastic waste add up. On average, one menstruating person will go through 11,000 tampons in their lifetime. With a little period maths we can see that if things don’t change, the current period population will use and dispose of 12 trillion tampons. But, where do they all go? They fill landfills and spill over to our oceans.
As well as their effect on the environment, tampons can be harmful to the body. Most mainstream tampons on shelves (especially fragranced ones) are composed of chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins which could be unsafe for the human body. Bleached cotton used in tampons and pads can also create a chemical called dioxin which doesn’t break down easily in the body or the environment.
With more and more of us spending our time at home, now could be the ideal time to try a menstrual cup. The cup is worn inside the vagina like a tampon, but collects your period rather than absorbing it. With menstrual cups lasting upto ten years and the use of just one saving over 100,000 tampons and single use sanitary products going into landfills and oceans, this might be the kindest option for your body and for the planet.
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