What is Menstrual Cycle Awareness?
Menstrual Cycle Awareness is understanding and knowing our bodies as women. It’s allowing and embracing the peaks and flows throughout the month to happen rather than fighting against them.
As women we have an innate wisdom within us that has been dimmed for so long. I like to think of it as our inner compass.
We all know the circadian rhythms that are led by the sun, and how most of us live our lives- rising during the sunlight hours and sleeping during the darkness we know as night.
If you have had a baby or know anyone with a newborn you may be familiar with the expression of ‘newborns have their days and nights mixed up’ they typically in the first few weeks tends to sleep much of the daytime and be awake during the night. This is because babies do not yet follow a circadian rhythm , until they start to produce their own melatonin at around 4 weeks of age.
Trying to do night shifts is another example of when we are living in opposition to our circadian rhythm or the well known experience of jet lag.
Imagine if all of us were living off kilter from this rhythm all the time, it would feel confusing, disorientating and chaotic, right?
Well women have another type of natural rhythm called our infradian rythmn, this is not so well known or talked about. It’s the cycle that is governed by our hormones.
Just as our circadian rhythm helps us to know when to wake, eat, rest, be more active, sleep our infradian rhythm also carriers vital information such as when to be resting more, creative, social. Yet when we haven’t grown up in a culture that this is understood or listened to the vast majority of women are completely shut down to the knowledge of this rhythm.
Men have their own infradian rhythms too a 24 hour cycle with testosterone peaking in the day around 9am and starting to taper off at 4/5pm. How very convenient that this is the general ‘working day’ for most office workers.
In stark contrast women have a roughly 28 day cycle (around the lunar cycle).
And throughout the month, women experience times when they’re more productive, more sociable, more reflective, more able to plan and more needing to rest.
All of this is underpinned by our menstrual cycle.
And when we know where we are in our cycle, we can use it to plan our life to our advantage. We can feel liberated and empowered to know what we need in our day to day.
Our body carries clues to what we need, and by understanding these clues we’re better able to honour ourselves and feel more aligned and at peace in our lives. We are our own best resource to know what it is that we need within us!
The first step in understanding our cycle is to start tracking it. From day 1 of your bleed you can note down how you’re feeling and what you’re needing from the day. You can check in with yourself and where your energy and emotions lie every day. The best time to do this in in the morning - you can make note of this in your journal, calendar or by using an app.
Using that information (at least 3 months but around 9 months to get a really good grasp), you’ll see patterns where your energies and emotions change throughout the month.
Even if you’re not having a menstrual cycle, or if you’re on hormonal contraception, you can still track your cycle but you can use the moon cycles instead.
MCA is also really useful if you have a difficult relationship with your cycles, perhaps you get sick and have painful periods or you experience extreme PMS. By understanding that this is all because of our cycle we’re better able to accept and make alternations to plan for the days we are experiencing this.
Why would you want to track your cycle?
We have an average 28-29 day cycle (some shorter, some longer). As a woman, were you told that you have a different cycle compared to men, who have a 24 hour cycle?
When you started your period, were you told that there are different parts of your cycle where you will feel different energetically and emotionally?
And who gets frustrated when they’re feeling inconsistent with themselves? That one week we’re feeling on top of the world, able to conquer anything, then the next we feel low and like everything’s falling apart?
When we track our cycle we can get amazing information on when we’re more energised and when we’re feeling more inwards and needing to retract from commitments. And by using this information we can honour our differing needs at different times of the month.
If this has sparked your interest to learn more about Menstrual Cycle Awareness check out my MCA Course “Reclaim" here, where I’ll be showing you exactly how to track your cycle and delving deep into the four stages of your cycle and the feminine archetypes that show up during these times.