The luteal phase – between ovulation and your bleed – can be an enjoyable chill time of our cycle. Read that again. The potential is there!
The qualities of the luteal phase are different from the other phases of the cycle. Some might say it is harder to spot any qualities in this often turbulent time. The truth is our ability to see and appreciate these qualities depends partly on our hormone health, partly on our mindset and partly on knowing what to look out for.
I remember back to my PMDD days when sadly, no amount of loving self-care activities would have alleviated the mental anguish I felt each month. The reason was, my illness at that point was a physical problem; the wiring had gone wrong. My hormones were so out of balance that there was no seeing sense, no coaxing me out of my doom and gloom cloud. And that would persist for two weeks out of every month.
Having healed my physical health and restored balance to my hormones, my experience of my luteal phase has transformed. I still have the same kind of frustration when I’m unable to meet my needs, or I’m overwhelmed by the environment. The difference is that the intensity of these feelings is much less. With the physical wiring fixed, it’s now possible to employ healthy coping strategies in the moment.
Mindset and awareness
Our mindset has an important influence on our experience. Sadly we have been culturally conditioned into thinking of our menstrual cycle as an inconvenience (and that’s a best-case scenario!). Additionally each month our experience of our cycle adds to a picture of what to expect. If your experience of your cycle is overwhelmingly negative this can lead into the self-fulfilling prophecy of a negative experience every month.
Equally building awareness around the benefits that our menstrual cycle can bring to our lives is a great way to build attunement to the positive qualities that the luteal phase of our cycle has to offer.
The changing qualities through the four phases of our cycle have a very important role to play in our health as women. They are designed to bring an essential balance to our lives. Living with our cycle front and centre can help us to reap the benefits of these changing qualities or energies. I call this cycle surfing. Using our internal tides to help push us further in life.
Qualities of the luteal phase
Before we can look at the qualities of this phase of our cycle, we have to understand what is happening. I like to use the analogy of our inner library.
Our inner library is a place of learning, of reflection, of seeing things in new ways, and of gaining wisdom.
At the beginning of the luteal phase, you step into your inner library – in your mind. Quietness, slowness and a desire to focus on your own agenda begin to expand inside you. Your tolerance for external noise and chaos reduces. You’ll startle much more easily. You might become frustrated with people making unnecessary demands of your resources. People with overbearing energy might be harder to be around. You’ll feel much more at home in environments which match your inner state – trip to the library?
On the outside, you’ll notice an enhancement to some of your natural skills. A greater attention to detail, a tendency to analyse, a good holistic view of all of the moving parts of a whole. These qualities lend themselves quite naturally to tasks like editing, optimising systems, analytical work, or hard-nosed business meetings.
As the days pass, you go deeper into the library, and these qualities deepen too. The deeper you go into the library, the less other peoples agendas matter to you (temporarily). You are taking a well-deserved break from being in the middle of everybody’s stuff. That’s balance. This vital process of gradually withdrawing deeper into your inner library culminates in the library archives, the deepest part of the library during our bleed. And I’ll cover what happens there in my next blog post.
But for now, know that the inner library journey is
- a valid and helpful experience which it’s good to be aware of
- essential in facilitating your menstrual download each month
- A way to build awareness of your deepest desires
- Facilitates you to stay grounded in your life’s purpose
- something you might have needs come up around.
To truly embrace you inner library it is likely you’ll need to change some things in your environment. It is very true that an easy luteal phase is partly thanks to the planning involved. This includes communicating with key people around you, scheduling your calendar around your cycle energies, making preparations of food and home.
How can we support ourselves to get the most out of our luteal qualities?
I consciously choose actions that I know will make my luteal phase more enjoyable and help me get more benefit from what it offers. I select these choices month after month; they’ve become a kind of luteal phase ritual for me.
Here are ten choices I make each month to support my luteal phase : my luteal ritual
- I have a special cosy blanket which I look out even in the summer. It reminds me to cultivate coziness and that rest is good.
- I get my zen zone playlist on, with all of my lovely soothing chill music. I’ll share that here.
- I have a stash of nutritious treats on hand – I have gone buckwheat scone cray cray recently. I’ll do you a recipe video on them soon.
- I keep my screen usage to a minimum as much as possible. Keeping media input and visual stimulus to a bare minimum helps protect me against any undesirable negativity
- I entertain myself with reading, audiobooks, podcasts or music. My brain appreciates the space and the break.
- I simplify wherever possible – I say no to commitments where I can. I freeze home-cooked meals in advance to minimise effort.
- If I begin to feel the wobbles, I find that getting out in nature is the ultimate medicine.
- I note a strategic increased use of my AirPods for daily activities and household chores, especially if the kids have the TV on. (I will do the things but, I will do them in my own little world!)
- I take power naps as and when I need them—just 10-25 minutes. Plus, I build in more routine moments of calm to relax throughout the day.
- I schedule in time for extra sleep. A good 9 hours a night during this phase is optimal for me, instead of the usual 8.
I hope this list inspires you to make choices which support your luteal phase and come up with your own luteal ritual. A lovely thing about a ritual is how it sets the intention of your acceptance of embracing the transition into new energy. And with this intention, any resistance is more easily displaced.
This is Beth, wishing you an easier next premenstruum with love and gratitude.