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Isabelle Tournaire, fondatrice de Metanoïa

Hello, I am Isabelle

I am the founder of Metanoïa. On this blog I document the latest news about menstruation. I also share my best discoveries and tips.

Understanding your menstrual cycle: its phases and their effects on your well-being

We don’t talk about them enough and yet they exist! Do you know the 4 phases of your cycle?

The menstrual cycle is a unique experience for every woman and menstruating person. However, it is possible to perceive 4 phases of the menstrual cycle, which are repeated every month and have a significant impact on our energy, mood, creativity and ability to make decisions. We can use this knowledge of the 4 phases to reconnect with our body and to better understand the messages it sends us. By adopting a more conscious and respectful approach to our menstrual cycle, we can live in a more balanced and fulfilling way, in accordance with our cyclical and feminine nature.

Phase 1 – The menstrual phase

The first phase of the menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. This phase lasts an average of 3 to 7 days and is characterized by a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. This decrease means that our body is in work. I really like the image of a baby’s room being destroyed by workers with hammers and where wallpaper, furniture and other accessories are being taken away by trucks with orange flashing lights that beep beep as they back up. We feel that our body is working. As you can see, the expulsion of all this debris is our period, and to help expel the blood, our uterus contracts, and that is menstrual pain. Severe menstrual pain can be a problem for some women, but stretching, resting and using warm compresses can help relieve these symptoms. Emotionally, this phase can be challenging as hormone levels are low, which can lead to mood swings, anxiety and stress. On an energetic level, the menstrual phase can be a time of fatigue and low energy. It is important not to expect to be as productive as at other times in the cycle. It is therefore a time when it is important to take care of yourself, rest and relax as much as possible. It is also a time of reflection, where we can take time to think about our needs and goals. However, the menstrual phase can also be a time to reconnect with your body and your needs. I know, I’m repeating myself, but it’s important to take time to rest, practice self-compassion and take care of yourself. Activities such as yoga, meditation and hot baths can help relieve menstrual pain. The key word: relax.

  • Energy: – –
  • Positive emotion: –
  • Negative emotion: +.
  • Making decisions: +
  • Sociability: –
  • Self-confidence: –
  • Libido:

Phase 2 – The follicular phase

The follicular phase is the second phase of the menstrual cycle and follows the menstrual phase. It usually lasts from 7 to 10 days. During this period, hormone levels begin to increase and stimulate the follicles, one of which will become the egg. As you can see, our hormones are planning a new crib, a new room and a new decor for our womb. This is an exciting project! The increase in these hormones leads to an increase in energy and motivation in our heads and bodies. We can feel more alert, creative and productive during this time. It is also a time when we are often more social and want to get out and socialize. We can feel more energetic and motivated to undertake physical and creative activities. It is also a time to make informed and thoughtful decisions. Estrogen levels increase communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which can improve creativity, critical thinking and decision making. This is the perfect time to plan and organize our projects, as our brains are more alert and we have a better ability to concentrate.

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  • Make decisions: ++.
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  • Self-confidence: +.
  • Libido: +.

Phase 3 – The ovulatory phase

The ovulatory phase is the third phase of the menstrual cycle and is marked by ovulation, which usually occurs midway through the menstrual cycle. This phase lasts 3 to 5 days and is characterized by an increase in estrogen production that prepares the body for ovulation. In other words, the baby’s room is ready! Our hormones are just waiting for the arrival of a little soldier to put him in the cradle! And everything is done to get it (hence the high level of libido). At the energetic level, the ovulatory phase is a period of peak energy, creativity and productivity. Estrogen levels peak, which can increase feelings of well-being, improve mood and enhance libido. It is also during the ovulatory phase that we can feel more confident and be more open to new experiences. This period can be conducive to meetings, ambitious professional and personal projects, as well as artistic creativity.

  • Energy: ++.
  • Positive emotion: ++.
  • Negative emotion: – –
  • Make decisions: +++.
  • Sociability: ++.
  • Self-confidence: ++.
  • Libido: ++.

Phase 4 – The premenstrual or luteal phase

The luteal phase is the last phase of the menstrual cycle and usually lasts 10 to 14 days. This phase is characterized by a high production of progesterone, a hormone that prepares the uterus for a possible pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone production decreases, triggering menstruation and the beginning of a new cycle. No baby in sight for days, our hormones decide to start all over again. Energetically, the luteal phase can be a transition period between the more energetic ovulatory phase and the more introverted menstrual phase. Some of us may feel a drop in energy and a sense of fatigue, while others may feel calmer and more at peace with themselves. It is also during the luteal phase that we may experience premenstrual symptoms (PMS) such as abdominal pain, headaches, irritability, anxiety or severe depression. These symptoms are caused by hormonal fluctuations and can vary from one woman to another. However, the luteal phase can also be a time of creativity and introspection. This can be a good time for reflection and analysis. This phase can be a time to step back and evaluate our lives.

  • Energy: –
  • Positive emotion: +.
  • Negative emotion: +.
  • Concentration: +.
  • Making decisions: –
  • Sociability: –
  • Self-confidence: –
  • Libido: -+.

It is important to note that each woman and menstruating person is unique and the effects of the phases of the menstrual cycle may vary from person to person. It will also depend on the periods of life you are living. If you are under pressure, everything will be accentuated in a rather negative sense, if you live a calm, serene period of life, then everything will be accentuated in a more positive sense.

My personal experience

When I enter my pre-menstrual phase, if I don’t rest enough (physical rest but especially mental rest), if I don’t listen to myself enough (I work too long and don’t sleep more than usual), then PMS hits hard, very hard. I sink into anxiety and everything becomes dull, sometimes I even enter a survival phase. Then came my period and the fatigue became more pronounced, and a deep questioning of my life set in. In short, it is a real cataclysm in my head. Fortunately, this happens less and less often, because by learning about these phases, I realized that I could learn to manage myself. So when that time of the month comes, that big fatigue, that mental fog, I stop. I consciously take my time. I take a longer way home from the office and look at the building facades while listening to music, or I get home faster and sit on my couch for 5 minutes, no phone, no nothing and then I let the hubbub in my head fade away. I haven’t done this and that yet? That’s okay. I let go of all these parasitic thoughts that come in great numbers to invade me. I force myself to go to bed earlier (I admit I still have a hard time doing that but I do take long naps on the weekends), then this whole phase becomes much more peaceful. It’s the little things that can make a huge difference and there are a lot of them; it can be reading a good book or drinking a beverage that you particularly like. The goal is to take the time to appreciate a little thing that we like and that makes us feel good. The question to ask is: what could I do there that would really make me happy? I feel like I’m a little girl again with a lot of excitement when I ask myself this question. Thanks to this, I’m back to being more centered and even more than usual. I have less energy so I become more selective about where I put it, and I spread myself less thin. I end up having a positive experience. I never thought it was possible. Taking our time is something we should do every day. Sometimes I forget to do this without suffering the consequences when I am in another phase. However, as soon as I enter this last phase, it becomes essential to my well-being. I am so grateful that my body and hormones remind me to do this.

To go further

If you want to go further, I recommend the book“Kiffe ton cycle” by Gaëlle Baldassari. It explains in detail the different phases of the menstrual cycle and how to live in harmony with each of them. She also has a website where you can take a test to evaluate your relationship to your menstrual cycle. Click here!

Being a cyclical being can be quite challenging when you live in a linear world defined by continuous performance, success and progress. By getting to know yourself better, understanding your cycle, you are able to respect your needs, make better choices, learn to listen more to yourself and thus become a better version of yourself.

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