how to Sync & plan your menstrual cycle

Synchronizing my business, personal life, self-care, and EVERYTHING around my menstrual cycle has truly transformed my life. Cycle wisdom reminds us – it’s not about controlling or being too attached to our plans. We are held by the cycle when we release control and ride the waves of our hormones and our experience. Whether you’ve been tracking your cycle for a while, aren’t even sure if you have a cycle, or are simply looking for a new business strategy hack, I’ve got you covered!

If you haven’t read this post on Menstrual Cycle Awareness, start here!

The number one rule in everything I say about cycles is: Trust YOUR experience (and your doctor/healer team) over anything else you might read or hear, including from me! The shared language we can use around cycle seasons is wonderfully helpful and creates a common community. However, every cycle and every bleeding person is different. The power of tracking your cycle happens when your unique patterns begin to emerge – how you react to ovulation may be wildly different from your best friend’s experience. How you feel about your period ending could be tender and even sad, while others feel elated and ready to “get back to normal”. Don’t judge your beautiful experience! In tracking our cycle, we become the Witness, the Higher Self, the one who simply notices and cultivates deep awareness. Out of this awareness, grows compassion.

So – why should you consider planning your life around your menstrual cycle? Because, like many bleeding people, you may feel like four different people every single month. After all, your hormones are doing their intricate dance to produce life and death each month. Many of us are taught that our period solely exists to bear children, but this is a harmful over-simplification and huge oversight of cycle magic! We can produce much more than babies each month. As a result of ovulation, we can produce dissertations, books, albums, complicated meals, deep intimacy, and meaningful rituals. Quite frankly, we can produce whatever the hell we feel like, gender roles be damned!

The four seasons of your cycle naturally facilitate this creative process each and every month. By tapping into winter’s reset, spring’s action, summer’s love, and autumn’s planning, you can effortlessly take your projects and dreams to their maximum potential. You’re simply harnessing an inner process that you’ve perhaps mindlessly experienced since menarche (your first period). It’s not your fault you were unaware – this happens systematically in a patriarchy that is terrified of the power of the bleed! Let’s not identify with what we’ve lost, but rather commit here and now to be mindful of future cycles. Maybe the word “plan” is triggering for you – igniting past memories of self micro-management. In that case, think of it as seasonal intentions. What medicine does each season offer, and how do you want to work with it?

BEGIN TO TRACK

Each season offers normal hormone ebbs and flows that trigger your unique physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual responses. Finding the flavor of each season is a lifelong, individual journey. This whole process is greatly helped along by adopting a regular cycle tracking practice. For the next few cycles, simply chart in your journal EVERY day:

  • the day of your cycle
  • the season you believe you’re in
  • what you’re noticing in your body
  • what you’re noticing in your heart
  • what you’re noticing in your mind
  • what you’re noticing in your spirit
  • words you need to hear
  • self-care that would feel good
  • rituals to support you

After a few cycles (the more data, the more insights), list the dates and lengths of each cycle. Calculate your average cycle length. If your cycles vary in length by more than a couple of days each month, perhaps calculate the median length and the length that showed up the most. Arrive at a cycle length that feels right for you, knowing that your cycle will likely not be 100% predictable each month.

You can also go back in your tracker to determine your apparent dates for each season. After conducting your own research, do your winters seem to only last 4 or 5 days while your spring feels like 10 days? If you want to get very specific on the start of your summer, begin taking your basal body temperature to track ovulation (your summer likely begins 1 or 2 days prior). Your bleed will begin 14 days after ovulation, give or take a day. This makes determining your inner autumn and inner winter a bit more straightforward. And I think we all know the tell-tale signs of our own pre-menstrual experience! Mad chocolate cravings, rampant boundary setting, and short-fused temper, anyone?

With this powerful information in hand (and the understanding that it’s imperfect, ever-unfolding, and prone to change) – you can begin planning for your cycles each month! Above all – trust your energy. You may have some low ebbing days right smack dab in the middle of your ovulatory phase. You may experience bursts of energy right at the start of your bleed. Ultimately, how you feel takes precedence!

For each season, we will look at what you might plan for & what you might want to avoid! Let’s dive in…

INNER WINTER: Approximately days 27 to 5

What to Plan For in Your Inner Winter

  • MOSTLY self-care, rest, and rejuvenation
  • Time for reflection on the previous cycle’s tasks and intentions
  • Lots of space for rituals, dreaming, and womanifestation work for the coming cycle

What to Avoid in Your Inner Winter

  • Overdoing anything or pressuring yourself to “show up”
  • Expending day 3 or 4 renewed energy too quickly
  • Allowing your capitalist programming to take over

A day or two before your bleed (or around 14 days after your ovulation), you are in the portal between Autumn and Winter. Prepare for your big bleed -readying the period cave, canceling appointments and plans, and leaning into this sacred time. When your bleed arrives, plan for nothing. Your new favorite word is, “No.” This is what you have been preparing for all cycle – a time of profound rest, introspection, and ritual. You may wish to journal like crazy and find that your altar and Tarot cards call out to you more in this season. You might take daily baths and watch whatever TV makes you feel good.

When and if you feel up for it, you could reflect on the previous cycle: What went well? What worked? What insights did you gain? Dreaming into this next cycle, which is just beginning, will likely come naturally to you now. Don’t be surprised if it’s easier to drop into meditations and visualizations. Use this powerful void energy to womanifest the best cycle ahead you can imagine! Bonus: Oxytocin, aka “the love hormone”, is what helps your uterus contract to shed this layer! If you can truly rest, you just might experience profound love and utter sacred bliss. In this bubble of worthiness and divine feminine self-love, what changes might you wish to make to your self-care practice in the coming weeks?

INNER SPRING: Approximately days 6 to 11

What to Plan For in Your Inner Spring

  • Putting new ideas into action
  • Collaborations and community!
  • Curiosity, creativity, and playfulness

What to Avoid in Your Inner Spring

  • Putting yourself or your ideas “out there” too soon
  • Being taken advantage of – learn to negotiate and pace yourself
  • Too many focused planning projects or anything overly menial

A few days after your bleed stops, you may feel a tender and excited new energy beginning to unfold. Welcome to your Inner Spring! Estrogen is climbing now up to ovulation, and so is your energy, creativity, and playful spirit! Your mantra is, “Why not?!” Now is the time to start new projects, take first actions on something you’ve been researching or dreaming about for many moons. I find this is the time I reach out to potential collaboration partners or just put a new dream “out there” and ask, “What do you think, world?” Don’t forget – this is a tender time, associated with your inner child or maiden. You may feel particularly vulnerable or afraid as you leave the comfort of your period cave again. Take it slowly, and don’t over do anything! Save some of that early renewal just for you – keeping the walls up and savoring your contained inspiration. You’ll know when you’re ready, trust yourself.

INNER SUMMER: Approximately days 12 to 19

What to Plan For in Your Inner Summer

  • Serving and loving others
  • Teaching and sharing your wisdom and skills
  • Anything that requires you to show up fully in your power and put on a show

What to Avoid in Your Inner Summer

  • Controlling everyone and everything around you to get them to “your level”
  • Throwing self-care completely out the window
  • Being tied to your desk – the world is your workspace

The week after ovulation, you are at peak vibrancy! Some folks may feel like they’ve had too many cups of coffee, and need to take extra care to blend mindful self-care into their days. Even if you love your inner summer and feel most like yourself here, don’t forget to fill your own cup! You will likely feel that ultimate Mother love archetype – wanting to do everything for everyone, and you finally can. Our patriarchal culture rewards women for fulfilling these gender norms, so keep in check any ego identification (remember – it’s only a season!).

The inner summer is a great time to plan for parties, doing errands for others, big events, and opportunities to share your work with a wider audience. If you’re a business owner, you may find you especially wanna show up on your Instagram LIVE during this week, run a webinar or a special program. Plan for less tedium this week and more time “in the field”. You’re gonna be bouncing off the walls and desiring to mix it up! Even if you’re an introvert, don’t be surprised if you crave less alone time and more connection this week. Plan for it!

INNER AUTUMN: Approximately days 20 to 26

What to Plan For in Your Inner Autumn

  • Adulting
  • Setting Boundaries and closing the cycle
  • Planning for next cycle

What to Avoid in Your Inner Autumn

  • Saying yes when you really mean no
  • Maintaining your summer pace
  • Disregarding your experience as “just pre-menstrual”

Around a week after ovulation, pay attention to your energy and your mood. You will know your autumn cross-over day better than anyone. Trust your intuition, and do not judge yourself for this waning phase. Progesterone, the “adulting” hormone, rises at first. This is the ultimate time to get all those mundane but important tasks you’ve been putting off all cycle done! Don’t be surprised if you have the sudden nesting urge to purge, clean out your fridge, donate your wardrobe, and do your taxes. Lean into this magical phase, and get your final things completed for the cycle.

As your estrogen, and eventually progesterone, take a nose-dive, it’s best to plan for BIG boundaries! Wanna avoid conflicts and horrible PMS? Say no as much as you can. Begin to clear your life, your plate, your schedule for the impending bleed. As your desire for alone time waxes and your threshold for BS wanes, decide to shift any remaining to-do’s to your next spring. Accept that you’ve done all you can this cycle, and celebrate your wins! They are enough. You are worthy. Time to slow down and really soothe yourself. Your inner Wild Woman loves chaos, help balance her with tons of boundaries. You might be surprised what all you get done, once you block off this time for whatever wants to happen. Many bleeding folks attribute their strongest work ethic to their inner autumn! Whatever your experience, don’t judge it.

CYCLE SYNCING

Now, how do we practically sync our cycle each month? My cycle planning is ever-evolving, and currently looks like this: On the first day of my cycle, I get out my red pen and write the next 30 days’ numbers in my calendars (my Desire Map planner & my self-care calendar). Since I have a longer, less regular cycle (36 days on average), I haven’t always known exactly when my bleed will begin (one of the reasons I am so excited to start checking my BBT this cycle!). This style leaves it open – I add more days as they come and plan accordingly those last 6-10 days of each cycle for plenty of NOTHING just in case.

In addition to keeping an eye on the days in my calendars, I chart every day of my cycle in my Morning Pages. I’m still determining when exactly my seasons begin and end, and every cycle is a little different. Keeping this a flexible, flowing experience really helps take the pressure off. Above all, I prioritize how I feel and what I want to work on each day. But it does help to flip back through previous Day 12’s (for example) to see what was working then.

As far as my business goes, I have a master spreadsheet with my cycle batching tasks for each season. While trying to keep it organic, I tend to focus on:

  • Writing, dreaming, and reflecting in my inner winter
  • Collaborations, program planning, and content creation in my inner spring
  • PR, events, and showing up in my inner summer
  • Business planning, editing, and reworking old systems in my inner autumn

I know I am at my most creative in my inner spring and autumn, and need extra self-care in my summer and winter. Regardless of whether or not you manage your own schedule, how can you prioritize different types of tasks, either personally or professionally, during the different seasons?

BLOCK OFF THE BLEEDS

Whatever you do, please begin predicting and blocking off your bleeding days! This is especially easy if you have a regular cycle, but even if you don’t, you can begin averaging out your own cycle data and making humble predictions. Plan for absolutely NOTHING on these days. Those summer obligations you made? Time to cancel. Honestly, not even a phone call, if you can help it. I know this is an extraordinary luxury I’m talking about, but even if you can just take one sick day (grrr, I hate that we don’t have universal period leave!) or say no to one meeting, it makes a HUGE difference. You’re gonna wanna keep an eye on these dates in your calendar, preparing to have a stocked fridge of pre-cooked meals, a ready period cave, and a clean slate when it comes.

CHART A COURSE

There is something so lovely about using a red pen during your bleed. On the first day of full blood flow, write a 1 on your planner or diary. Count out the days from there. This will help you see where you’ll be at a glance on each day of the coming cycle.

Once you get a good grasp on your general seasonal cross-over days, you can even add the seasons to your calendar at-a-glance. This is especially helpful for planning work projects. You’re not about to launch a new offering in your inner winter, and you would ONLY plan that big event for an inner summer!

A NOTE ON BOUNDARIES

Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds GREAT, but unfortunately I have no control over my time, my schedule, or my work projects!” I hear you. For years I was working for other people, feeling utterly helpless as to how cycle syncing could work for me. The key is to adapt as you go, take it gently, and don’t ever judge yourself.

The square peg/round hole feeling you’re having isn’t your fault. There is nothing wrong with having a cycle! What’s messed up and broken is our system, not designed for bleeding people, that shames and dismisses this sacred process each month.

Can you let go of just 1 meeting in your winter?

Can awareness of your inner autumn help you say no more to social obligations so you can say yes to whatever is required of you?

Can you layer in more self-care after work during those seasons you especially need it?

Make this system work for you.

This brings me to my new favorite thing ever – the MVP: Minimum Viable Product. I don’t care who you are, there is some minimum you need to hit in your daily productivity output. Whether you have kids who must be fed, a dog who must be walked, one small deadline that must be met – we all have to do some things each day, even if we’re bleeding. During my autumn and winter especially – but honestly throughout my entire cycle – I ask myself, “What is today’s MVP?” Meaning – what do I HAVE to get done today?

This helps me cut through the dream to-do list, the competing priorities, and the mental overwhelm to find 1-3 things I have to do first. In my inner spring and summer, it’s fantastic because – with these things out of the way, I can play and follow my heart! In my inner autumn and winter, I can REST as needed once the MVP is over with. What is your MVP? Once it’s done, you’ve done enough.

Dear One, I want you to know that setting boundaries, standing in your sovereignty, and saying “No” does get easier. The wisdom of our bleed is it teaches us to prioritize ourselves throughout the entire cycle. Lean into this inner wisdom, and trust your divine body. Cycle syncing and planning isn’t about control. On the contrary, it’s an exercise in riding the waves of awareness, being the witness, releasing control, and having fun with it. I like to say, “It’s all an experiment!”

I’d love to hear from you – How are you going to plan for your cycle? Can you already anticipate what big changes will happen as a result? Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time, be gentle with yourself.

P.S. To learn even more about cycle syncing and how all this relates to your divine feminine attraction – sign up for Womanifest here! Get on the waitlist, and I’ll let you know when we launch. This is my signature group program on all things goddesses, law of attraction, divine feminine, and cyclical living!

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I started Luminous Leanings to share my passions of meditation & self-care. As a self-care coach, I'm really just a holder! I hold space for busy people on their self-care journey. Then I hold them accountable as they integrate self-care into their lives. If you want to develop more self-compassion, but aren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place. Be sure to check out my guided meditations & journal freebies, & sign up for the Letter to keep in touch. You don't have to self-care alone - I'm in your corner!

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