Cycle Syncing 101: How to Use Your Menstrual Cycle to Boost Productivity & Minimize Stress
When you think about the cycles of your life, you might think about the workweek, the weekend, the holidays, or the seasons. But there’s another cycle that females need to be aware of: the 28-day menstrual cycle. It affects everything you do, from your health to your relationships to your work. Through the process of cycle syncing, you can feel better throughout your cycle and work more efficiently during each phase.
What Is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle syncing is the process of adjusting your lifestyle to coordinate with the four stages of your menstrual cycle. As your hormones fluctuate, so does your mood, energy level, and productivity. Instead of forcing your body to work against your natural cycles, cycle syncing helps you work with your body for maximum productivity.
Of course, cycle syncing goes way beyond productivity for me. It also means getting to know myself better, understanding why I feel the way I do, and nurturing my body through my diet, exercise, and work. If you menstruate, you will see the benefits of cycle syncing, including…
- Improving your mood
- Minimizing weight fluctuation
- Minimizing unpleasant menstrual symptoms
- Improving your reproductive health
- Lowering stress levels
- Increased productivity and focus
Here’s how to try it for yourself!
The 4 Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle
In order to start cycle syncing, you have to understand what’s happening within your body during the four phases of your menstrual cycle. The actual duration of each phase differs from person to person. Let’s break them down.
MENSTRUAL (Day 1–5)
During the menstrual phase, your uterus is shedding its lining (your period), and your levels of estrogen and progesterone are low. You might experience cramps, bloating, moodswings, and fatigue.
How to Cycle Sync During the Menstrual Phase
I’ve never met anyone who feels their best during their menstrual phase. It’s a time for rest and recovery, both physically and mentally.
For exercise, try light, low-impact movement like yoga or gentle stretching. There’s no need to push your body to its limit during this phase, and chances are it will only make you feel worse.
For your diet, opt for foods low in fat and sodium, and avoid alcohol. Instead, try soothing teas like chamomile and peppermint to ease cramps and digestive issues.
For your work, focus on inward reflection. Use this time to work through areas where you might feel stuck or reconnect with your long-term vision. You might also limit meetings to conserve your energy.
FOLLICULAR (Day 6–14)
Technically, the follicular phase overlaps with your menstrual phase, but it’s most impactful after your period and before ovulation. During this phase, your brain sends signals to start the development of follicles in your ovaries. Each of these follicles contains a developing egg. Once the eggs are mature, your body releases estrogen to prepare for ovulation.
How to Cycle Sync During the Follicular Phase
Your energy is increasing, but it hasn’t reached its peak. Still, you might find your productivity and mood ramping up during this phase.
For exercise, try low-intensity cardio, like walking or hiking. You’ll probably have more energy during this phase but less stamina, so don’t push it.
For your diet, focus on foods that help your body metabolize estrogen. Try fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
For your work, take advantage of extra energy and use this time for developing new ideas, meeting with potential clients, and planning for the future.
OVULATORY (Day 15–17)
This is the phase in which your ovaries release a mature egg. It only lasts about 24 hours, and it’s the only time during your cycle when the egg can be fertilized (but not necessarily the only time you can get pregnant, FYI). During this phase, your body is full of energy and feeling its best.
How to Cycle Sync During the Ovulatory Phase
There’s no better time to put your pedal to the metal! This is your most productive, energetic phase, so take advantage of it.
For exercise, go all in! This is the phase where you’ll have the most energy, so go for high-intensity workouts like running, HIIT programs, and stair climbing.
For your diet, opt for foods that support your liver, like fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and olive oil. Avoid super fatty or sugary foods.
For your work, now’s the time to really dive in! Check off those to-do list items you’ve been avoiding, collaborate with your team, and start new projects.
LUTEAL (Day 18–28)
If you don’t get pregnant during ovulation, you enter the luteal phase, also known as PMS. Your body starts to reabsorb your uterine lining, and it prepares to shed what’s left. You might experience cravings, moodiness, headaches, and even weight gain.
How to Cycle Sync During the Luteal Phase
The luteal phase is a cool-down before your menstrual cycle, so you’ll probably notice your energy dropping. Still, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of whatever energy you have before it reaches its lowest point.
For exercise, stick with lighter exercises like walking, jogging, or dancing. To improve your mood, try to exercise outdoors as much as possible.
For your diet, eat foods that produce serotonin to boost your mood. Think eggs, salmon, nuts, and even pineapple.
For your work, dive into your “deep work.” Use this time to really focus on long-term projects and to-do list items that require your full, undivided attention.
My Top Cycle Syncing Resources
Ready to start cycle syncing? Here are some of my favorite resources:
- For tracking your cycle, try the Clue app! It allows you to track your symptoms throughout your cycle so you can better predict your energy levels, cravings, and mood.
- For learning more about cycle syncing, check out In the FLO by Alisa Vitti. It’s pretty much the go-to for the topic!
- For regulating your symptoms, try FLO gummies. They ease my PMS symptoms and help me feel more balanced as my hormones fluctuate.
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