CYCLE SYNCING: : THE LUTEAL PHASE
Continuing with part three of our four-part Cycle-syncing series, we now arrive at the Luteal Phase, our beautiful Autumn season. This is a time to absorb knowledge, focus on details, be creative and connect with your intuition.
Cycle-syncing is a thoughtful approach to aligning your lifestyle with your menstrual cycle. By respecting your body's natural rhythms, you can alleviate PMS symptoms and enhance your overall well-being.
Our energy levels vary with the moon's cycles, affecting daily vitality and muscle performance. The key is to recognise your phase and to adjust lifestyle, diet and exercise intensity according to the different phases.
Continuing with part 3 of our 4-part Cycle-syncing series, we delve into the Luteal Phase.
YOUR INNER AUTUMN
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BODY'S RYTHMS:
After ovulation we start the Luteal Phase, which usually lasts 10-14 days. During this phase the body is preparing for the possibility of pregnancy causing your stress hormones (cortisol) to rise. Progesterone works as a sedation when it stimulates the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy which balances the cortisol and makes us more relaxed and introspective. If pregnancy doesn't occur, it leads to menstruation.
By catering your lifestyle and diet for the different phases of your cycle you can balance your hormones which can reduce your symptoms of PMS.
During this phase we notice a mellowing of our energy and our minds adopt an introverted, intuitive, and creative mindset.
DURATION AND HORMONAL LANDSCAPE
The Luteal phase begins after Ovulation, during this phase oestrogen and testosterone levels drop and progesterone rises. It usually spans for about 10-14 days.
TIME TO TUNE IN
As our hormones fluctuate and our energy levels lower we might experience a challenging emotional time, specially at the end of this phase with PMS.
By recognising and understanding that our emotions can be partly affected by hormonal changes can help us navigate this phase.
This is the perfect time to prioritise self-care practices and engage in activities that help us relax and reduce stress.
Because we are in a very reflective mindset we might also be thinking of the past. If you experience any negative thought patterns remember to just let them go, just like the leaves fall from the trees during autumn.
It is the best time to learn and digest information, focus on details, be creative and connect with your intuition.
A lot of us might feel a little bit down and doubt ourselves during this phase. Here are some self-care routines you can try doing to feel better.
- Nature walks
- Reflective journaling or writing
- Crafting or DIY projects
- Warmth baths
- Skincare routines
EXERCISE DURING YOUR LUTEAL PHASE
NURTURING YOUR BODY THROUGH MOVEMENT
It’s suggested to gradually lower your intensity levels of your workouts as your energy levels also lower during this phase.
As the body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy therefore causing your stress hormones (cortisol) to naturally rise, over-exercising during this phase will actually raise your stress levels even higher. This is due to the body holding onto your fat and nutrients for the potential baby which can lead to muscle wasting, bone density loss and turning on fat-storage.
Gentle exercise, without pushing our bodies too hard, can be a wonderful way to ease stress during this phase and a helpful way to connect with our emotions.
The wisdom of this phase lies in recognising that strength can be discovered in gentleness. This realisation can assist us in achieving balance and alignment.
Our dear friend Kika is back with a Pilates class she created especially for this phase.
“A fluid and dynamic low-impact mat Pilates class to perfect your alignment.”
EXERCISES YOU CAN DO DURING YOUR LUTEAL PHASE:
- Gentle yoga flow movements, Vinyasa Flow
- Nature walks or light jogging
- Weight lifting: lighter weight and more repetitions
- Tai Chi
- Stretching to maintain flexibility and support blood flow
NUTRITION DURING YOUR LUTEAL PHASE
It is important during this time to make sure your diet is including foods that promote progesterone.
During this phase our metabolism rises, and digestion may slow down, allowing your body more time to absorb nutrients from the food you consume. However, we might feel more sensitive to foods due to fluctuations in progesterone levels, potentially leading to blood sugar dips and PMS symptoms. Taking Apple Cider vinegar before every meal helps balance the blood sugar and support a stable mood.
Supporting progesterone production is essential during the luteal phase, as it plays a crucial role in mood regulation. Foods rich in zinc and magnesium (such as nuts, seeds, and beans), vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, and bell peppers), and vitamin B6 (found in salmon, bananas, and walnuts) can help boost progesterone levels.
Water retention also increases during this time, which can cause bloating and puffiness, so make sure you are drinking lots of water to flush your blood and consume hydrating fruits and vegetables.
As levels of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine tend to drop, you may experience cravings for sweets. Opt for unprocessed sweet options like dates and raw honey, and incorporate complex carbohydrates that provide nutrients, protein, healthy fats, and fiber to satisfy your sweet cravings without experiencing a sugar crash.
To maintain a stable mood and alleviate potential cramping, consider including the following in your diet:
- Foods rich in B-vitamins like whole grains, eggs, and beans.
- Magnesium-rich foods such as dark chocolate and spinach.
- Choose slow-energy-release carbohydrates and healthy fats to promote the production of progesterone.
Recommended recipes for nourishment:
Sweet treats to reach for: https://indigoluna.store/blogs/news/ayurvedic-cookie-recipe-from-hale_pule
The Hale Pule Balance Bowl to maintain alignment https://www.halepule.com/guides/ayurveda/balancebowl
OUTFITS INSPIRATION FOR YOUR LUTEAL PHASE
During this phase we often choose clothing that provides a sense of embrace, comfort, and warmth. We like soft and breathable fabrics that offer gentle support as our body prepares for menstruation.
Given our tendency to be a bit introspective and self-critical during this time, we often reach for our favourite outfits that we know will boost our confidence and make us feel our best.
WHAT TO READ / LISTEN / WATCH DURING YOUR LUTEAL PHASE
- Books: “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer (beautiful insight into introspection) and “Notes On Shapeshifting” by Gabi Abrao.
- Playlist: We've lovingly compiled an Spotify playlist of our most beloved songs for this phase. Discover them right here
- Movie: “Eat Pray Love” (a journey of self-discovery)
During your Luteal Phase, embrace the sense of inner calm and introspection it brings.
Make the most of this time, savoring the moments fully, and allow your inner wisdom to be your guide.