We all have ups and downs throughout the month: sometimes you need a whole weekend of Netflix, other times you have the energy to knock out a month's worth of errands. Instead of feeling like you're in an unpredictable pattern, you can learn how to sync your self-care to your menstrual cycle. You need moments of stillness and rest, as well as times of action – but when these activities happen during your cycle impacts your return on investment.
The best self-care is the type that takes your whole self into consideration. Your motivation, desires, and abilities shift along with your hormones. When scheduling with your cycle and unique patterns in mind, you’ll feel better and enjoy a higher quality of self-care.
Ready to upgrade your self-care and create a sustainable rhythm? Here’s what you need to know.
Self-Care Strategies for the Phases of Your Cycle
During Your Period (Menstrual Phase)
Your hormones plummet in the few days before your new cycle starts and they remain low until a few days into the next cycle. Tanked hormones can leave you feeling…well, low. It is normal to be tired, emotional, or unmotivated. You may even notice that your inner critic comes out. During this phase, when you aren’t at the top of your physical or mental game, you may benefit from more quiet, stillness, and time for reflection.
Self-Care Strategy: Rest and retreat
This is a great time to rest and retreat. The kind of rest you need may look like trading your high intensity workout for a gentle walk or taking some time away from social media. Consider spending a night (or a weekend) in and using meal delivery, or spending time outside with some light reading.
After Your Period, Before Ovulation (Follicular Phase)
After your period, your increasing levels of estrogen (and a dose of testosterone) might leave you feeling energized, confident, and extroverted. You are primed to try new things, your pain tolerance is high, and you are focused on goals. You may also be more distractible than usual.
Self-Care Strategy: Socialize and do something new
This is an ideal time to schedule social activities like a brunch with friends, or to try something new such as an exercise class or a recipe. (And if waxing is a part of your routine, now is a great time to do it.)
You may want to cross a bunch of personal “to dos” off your list, too. And by all means, get things done!
After Ovulation, Before Your Period (Luteal Phase)
After ovulation, progesterone can leave you with a sense of inner calm. You might crave comfort, familiarity, and quality time with the people who mean the most to you. Activities that are slower or meaningful are generally more enjoyable. Sleep disruption and feeling extra hungry are also common after ovulation.
Self-Care Strategy: The Classics
To increase sleep quality, take an epsom salt bath an hour or two before bedtime. If you aren’t feeling as confident as you were before ovulation, a haircut or spending extra time on skin care may give you a boost.
Now is a good time to complete personal tasks that require extra focus, like decluttering and organizing your closet. Something else to consider is setting yourself up for more rest in your menstrual phase, maybe by preparing meals in advance or scheduling extra help with cleaning or childcare.
How to Start Upgrading Your Self-Care
Begin with rest.
While cycle syncing can help you achieve your goals faster – like scheduling sales calls near ovulation, when your confidence and communication skills peak – rest is your foundation. It keeps you in balance and supports your physical and mental health. Rest keeps you going and allows you to do all of the amazing things you were created to do (crushing your goals included).
You will likely find that you get the most benefit from resting near your period. Where you need it most may be a couple of days before your period arrives or it may be during the early days of bleeding.
Add in other synced activities slowly.
Less can be more, especially when you are just getting started with cycle syncing. Find a few things that work really well based on your goals and needs. After you’ve successfully incorporated a couple of things into your routine, then think about adding more.
Experiment and have fun with it!
While many women experience similar cyclical patterns, you are unique. Your cycle isn’t the same as your best friend’s or your sister’s, and what you need during each phase might be different, too. Cycle syncing isn’t a cut and paste formula. It is a process of getting to know (and support) yourself better.
Think of it like dating: You're trying to find a great fit. You make some educated guesses and test things out. Every experience will teach you something about your cycle and yourself.