(Originally published 08/01/2018 weirdly the day I conceived!)
A question asked by Drs and nurses when you go for any female check ups.
My answer for years...I don't know!
I had the coil fitted and I hadn't had a period for about 4 years, I had no clue what part of my cycle I was in and I was starting to feel uncomfortable about this disconnect.
Some of you may know exactly where you are, you may track it with an app or what number pill your taking will give it away.
But do you place that knowledge into your hands and shape your life around it?
As females we are cyclic, we revolve around this cycle of hormones that release at different times throughout the month, some of us hate this, some find this inconvenient and some love this.
Before the coil I was firmly in the hate category, I used to dread my period arriving as it brought crippling pains and 'stopped' me from doing what I wanted to do. There was no rollerskating in white jeans along the beach front like it shows in the tampon adverts for me, I was just curled up in a ball under my desk at work downing painkillers like they were the next best thing and trying to work through it.
I now think back and wonder if my hatred and disconnect for my period caused it to shout louder at me, as I just wasn't listening.
Love it or hate it our cycle has a huge effect on us as we move through the month, and its meant to, for survival of the species and for our own good. And knowing where we are in this cycle can actually give us back power.
As you bleed this is your time for rest, in ancient times women would have gone to a red tent at bleed time and nursed each other together, they would have rested and allowed their bodies to do what they needed to do, bleed time is like the winter of our month. It is the time to reset and tune in deeply. Women who spend time together get in sink, this is so they all bleed together and can be there for one another if they do eventually have babies. It's a hugely powerful part of the cycle, but we so often now just try to ignore it or wish it away.
Now I'm not saying we all need to take a week off work, go and sit in a tent together and do nothing, (although a girls holiday once a month could be fun). But what I am saying is we plan our diary accordingly. Baring in mind the hormones within your body at this time are telling you to rest, to slow down, to think a little more and do a little less, then this is the time of the month to not be booking extra appointments into your diary, to not be adding things to your social calender, and to not be scheduling full on meetings at work.
This is the time where your creativity isn't necessarily at your fullest, your need to be in the spotlight is definitely dimmed and your energy levels are low. So don't make it harder for yourself by doing more than is needed for this time.
Post-menstrual is the time after the bleed where you start to come back into the world, you will feel more energised and the ideas that have manifested in the winter of your cycle will be ready to start to bloom, this is your spring. As you find your feet in the world you will have the energy to stat new projects and begin new things, you will feel creative and your mind will be active with the buzz of life.
This is the time to start to book your creative things into your diary, the time when you meet with new people and the time where you get those projects up and running. Using your natural energy and hormone cycle to give you that extra zing.
Ovulation, half way through your cycle and the time where you'll be full of energy, your summer, you're full of energy, wanting to do everything, this is your social time, your glowing, loved by everyone and full of life. Your happier to shine your light, stand up in public and hold yourself string. This is the time for those meetings that need an extra bit of fire, for the activities that need that extra burst of energy and for you to be more 'out there' than inside. This would be the time you'd be wanting to attract a mate for reproduction, this is your highest point in fertility, you may be super horny and you may even have the energy for it!! Beware...whilst in this feeling of superwoman...don't commit to too much over the next couple of weeks, this is always my mistake, I feel awesome so yes to everything. But forgetting that menstruation is nearing. Oh and final note, ovulation pains are a real thing, so that back ache you get...its another reminder that you are an awesome woman.
Premenstrual, this can maybe be the hardest part of the cycle, as you switch back into the mode of autumn, your energy starts to drop and your need to hibernate builds as the days pass, you may find at this time an extreme need to clean and tidy, your nesting instincts for menstruation or babies, use this time to give the house a good clean, sort your wardrobe out or any other organising/tidying job you have on your to do list, your energies will be more aligned to doing it so you'll do it properly and not hate it so much. Start to slow down, not so many outward appointments in the diary and a bit more self care, give your body time to rest after your busy spring and summer and allow you mind to start to reflect.
Although this feels hard for some, that sudden loss of energy, its a time to embrace home life, spend more time with close loved ones, read a little more and embrace the process of slowing down.
These may not totally match your cycle, in the end we are all different, but when you get to know your cycle you will start to know when you feel these many different things. You'll be able to map your life around them and therefore work with yourself rather than against yourself.
You can see why we burn out, why our periods scream at us and why we feel so utterly exhausted all the time if we're trying to live a summer life all year round, it just drains the system and eventually we crash.
So next time someone asks you, where are you in your cycle? You'll be able to say, and with a love for that cycle as you now know it brings you monthly super powers along with reminders to rest and make time for yourself.