Tracking Your Inner Cycles
Discover how to track your inner cycles with Cyclical Living Mentor and creator of the Life, Aligned Planner Jen Wright
I took my first deep dive into cyclical living in 2019, after several years of near-exhaustion. My twins were nearly three years old and I had been suffering with severe sleep deprivation and postnatal depression for most of that time. I knew from this experience that I needed to approach my work and my everyday life in a different way, or face total burnout.
I had recently closed down my stationery brand to focus on mentoring other creatives in building their own sustainable businesses, but other than preaching slow and seasonal living, I was still simply speaking from my own experience.
When I started reading about cyclical living and learning more about the menstrual cycle, I was simultaneously thrilled and infuriated. How could it be that I had made it into my 30s without knowing about this incredible tool and wisdom within my own body? One of the most common things I hear when talking to my clients about their cycle is, “Why didn’t we learn about this in school?”. Why, indeed!
I had spent my life believing my period was a curse, an obstacle, and something to be kept very private. Yet if I tuned into the full flow of my cycle, I could learn so much more about my body and why certain things felt easier or harder at different times of the month.
By working with natural cycles – menstrual, lunar, and seasonal – I now approach my business with purpose and no longer burn energy swimming against the tide. I create when at my most creative, network when at my most confident, reflect and plan when my energy turns inwards. This small step of listening to and respecting my body has been revolutionary, and I am now able to work far fewer hours, yet be far more productive.
Cyclical living is not just for people with periods. If you do not menstruate for whatever reason – whether pregnant, menopausal, transgender, or due to hormonal birth control – the lunar cycle can still offer a way to find your rhythm and create a working pattern that supports you emotionally, mentally and physically.
Our natural feminine energy follows the ebb and flow of the lunar phases beautifully. Just as the moon grows darker, we too need to slow down and rest at different stages. The new moon gives us the gift of a new cycle – the perfect time for setting plans in motion and setting new intentions. Just as the moon becomes bright and full, we too can be filled with energy and confidence as this natural light increases.
I believe that working in a cyclical way is key to avoiding burnout in this modern world. Understanding what our body and mind need at different times of the month reminds us to get off the treadmill, to take a breath and nourish ourselves before we reach breaking point, and tracking your cycle through menstrual cycle awareness or lunar living can be as simple as recording a word a day in a journal or calendar.
Day one of your cycle is the first day of your bleed or the day of the new moon. Jot down how you are feeling and over time you will begin to see patterns emerge. These patterns can become a blueprint for living. If you notice you always need quiet and space in the final days of your cycle, you can introduce downtime into your schedule.
Of course, it would be lovely to think we can all just drop everything when we know we will be at our lowest, but life is not that simple. Personally, as a mother of two small children, peace and quiet was hard to come by even before lockdown.
As I approach the end of my cycle, I desperately crave time to myself, physical space and a tidy home, so I start with the smallest things to help safeguard my energy. For example, I may plan a walk by myself, create a soothing playlist to listen to, and make a rewards chart to entice my children to keep the place tidy for the day!
When the schools are open, I can organise my client sessions so I have a morning or day free for myself to rest in whatever way feels good.
Rest can look different for everyone, and it is so important to remember that we do not need to earn it. Rest should simply be part of our routine.
As I introduced cyclical living into my mentoring work, I realised that one of the biggest challenges that kept coming up was remembering to track cycles. In fact, getting into the habit is often the hardest part.
Wanting to make it easy for people to bring cyclical living into their daily lives, I set about braiding my love of stationery and my cycle knowledge together to create my planner. I also created the planner in line with my natural flow of energy; I was able to design, promote, crowdfund, launch and deliver the Life, Aligned planner all within a matter of months during lockdown last year, without feeling overwhelmed or totally frazzled.
There were plenty of productivity planners and wellness journals on the market already, but they all seemed to have the same core principles. Your plans were expected to look the same and be as achievable to you week in and week out.
The Life, Aligned planner includes an introduction to both menstrual cycle awareness and lunar living, with space for your day-to-day schedule and an inner cycle diary. It will guide you to live and work whilst listening to your body and the natural ebb and flow of your energy. It will remind you to rest and to care for yourself, all while keeping you aligned with what you truly want.
I am proud to be an example of what can be achieved when you align with your energy, as there is no way I could have brought my planner to fruition last year without practicing cyclical living.