Most of us know when we will get our next period and how we feel during it or just before it. But what about the weeks in bet­ween? People with an ute­rus go through a mens­trual cycle over and over again. Because month after month we have an ovu­la­tion, our peri­ods, hor­mo­nal chan­ges. We spend most of our lives in cycli­cal rhythms that have a direct influ­ence on our mood and energy. Cycle awa­reness can the­re­fore bring many advan­ta­ges with it. You may ask yourself what exactly term cycle awa­reness means and how you can learn it? Then have fun reading! 

What is cycle awareness?

Cycle awa­reness is the know­ledge and appre­cia­tion of the indi­vi­dual mens­trual cycle and the asso­cia­ted energy and mood pat­terns. The aim is to under­stand our own body bet­ter and to learn what we need, when and above all why. Knowing our own cycle well help us to improve our well-being. Living cycli­cally means accep­t­ing the body and its chan­ges and living in har­mony with your own mens­trual cycle. For a bet­ter under­stan­ding, the mens­trual cycle is divi­ded into the four sea­sons, each with its own characteristics.

4 questions for more cycle awareness

In order to get to know your cycle bet­ter, it is a good idea to keep a little jour­nal where you write down in sum­mary how you are fee­ling emo­tio­nally and phy­si­cally. Because our bodies are both fasci­na­ting and com­plex. The fol­lowing ques­ti­ons or areas can serve as an inspi­ra­tion for your notes: 

1. How are you doing emotionally?

How are you fee­ling today? What are you thin­king about? What are your needs?

2. How are you doing physically?

How much energy do you have? What do you feel like doing? Are you active? How is your digestion? 

3. Anything out of the ordinary?

Were there any spe­cial moments or major events, such as a big trip or a job change? Anything that was dif­fe­rent from the routine? 

4. Where are you in your menstrual cycle?

Aspects rela­ted to your mens­trua­tion can also be hel­pful. It is best to always add the day of your cycle to your notes. The first day of your period is also the first day of your cycle. New period = new cycle. This will make it easier to com­pare your notes later on, and pat­terns in your mens­trual cycle are easier to find using the cycle days.

Nurturing the relationship to our body

It is important that you take notes over several cycles each day and reflect briefly on the day. Only then can you deve­lop a bet­ter under­stan­ding of your own needs. Based on your own notes, you can make con­scious decisi­ons for the com­ing mon­ths and have a bet­ter sense of how you will feel when. Living cycli­cally is not some­thing that we learn over­night or that can be radi­cally imple­men­ted. Unless we throw ever­ything over­board once and start again from scratch. It is rather the attempt to align your life based on your own fee­lings, moods and inner sea­sons. Most of us will slowly but surely move towards more cycle awa­reness. Gra­du­ally we can build more and more cycle awa­reness into our ever­y­day life, into our rou­ti­nes. And in this way, con­sciously nur­ture the rela­ti­ons­hip with our­sel­ves and our own body.

Example: How I plan my vacation according to my cycle

For example, when pos­si­ble, I plan my tra­vels accord­ing to my cycle. On the first days of my period I love to rest and to just be at home. So it’s best if there is not­hing on the tra­vel plan those days. I espe­cially avoid lon­ger bus trips or big­ger excur­si­ons. In the middle of my cycle I can be active every day again and even mul­ti­ple-day-hikes are not a pro­blem at all. 

The problem: Living in a patriarchal world

Our society is based on per­for­mance and our world is domi­na­ted by men. Cycli­cal life finds little space or place in our world. Far too often our time is deter­mi­ned by ever­y­day life, work and obli­ga­ti­ons, which allow little oppor­tu­nity for a fle­xi­ble orga­niz­a­tion of our own energy. We must func­tion, day after day. We are often ancho­red in fixed struc­tures. The phase of the cycle in which we find our­sel­ves is igno­red. For cen­tu­ries, mens­trua­tion has been asso­cia­ted with limi­ta­ti­ons or weak­ness and the rest of the mens­trual cycle, mea­ning the time bet­ween peri­ods, is sim­ply igno­red. This is because ever­ything is desi­gned to func­tion evenly, but for mens­trua­ting people this can quickly mani­fest its­elf in phy­si­cal period pro­blems, such as mens­trual cramps or PMS.

Why it is worth living cyclically

Our own body and the cycli­cal com­pass are at the centre of our atten­tion. If we know who we are, we can work with our­sel­ves and not against us. Through cycle awa­reness we learn to lis­ten to our inner voice again and to trust our own intui­tion. This in turn can help us in our self-esteem and self-deter­mi­na­tion. To live cycli­cally also means strength. Because there is strength to arrive and live in one’s own body rhythm. It often feels more true, more con­sis­tent. And it is no lon­ger a con­stant struggle to have to func­tion per­fectly every day. Cycle awa­reness gives us the space to have dif­fe­rent needs or per­so­na­li­ties. Because it is ok and even nor­mal that we feel dif­fe­rent on dif­fe­rent days. Living in har­mony with yourself opens up undreamt-of pos­si­bi­li­ties and brings your real poten­tial to the sur­face. Because the natu­ral change of our energy in the course of the mens­trual cycle is not a dis­ad­van­tage, but rather a great enrich­ment. Just like the sea­sons. Each time brings its own charm and spe­cial fea­tures – so does our mens­trual cycle.

Acception the cycle as a friend

And it is time to take our cycle and make it our new best friend, to under­stand it without any words nee­ded. Because in it lies both peace and strength.

Book recommendation

Do you want to learn more about the spe­ci­fics of the mens­trual cycle and cycle awa­reness? Then I can recom­mend the book ‘Wild Power: dis­co­ver the magic of your mens­trual cycle and awa­ken the femi­nine path to power’.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.