Track your cycle has become a buzzword that is making its rounds on the internet and in sister circles, and for good reason. At first, it may seem inconvenient or even embarrassing to track your cycle, but it’s actually one of best ways we can reconnect to ourselves and the rhythms of nature. Female bodies function in hormonal cycles that range from about 28-32 days, and tapping into your unique cycle helps you understand your body — and work with it, instead of against it.
During the four phases of menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation, Luteal and Menses, our bodies are pumping out different levels of hormones like estrogen and testosterone to ensure we are functioning happily. While each body has unique chemistry, it’s helpful to understand which phase of our cycle we are in so we can best support our wellbeing.
The benefits of tracking your cycle go deeper than just understanding these four rhythms, however. In fact, tracking your cycle has many benefits! Here are the most notable:
Tracking your cycle takes the mystery out of ovulation, your most fertile phase of the month. By knowing when you are ovulating, you hold a primal key to your body. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should have sex during this time, whereas if you are avoiding pregnancy, be sure not to have unprotected sex during ovulation.
Tracking your cycle also builds intimacy with your body. You’ll notice if your period is late or early and you’ll be able to detect any irregularities or other symptoms sooner. This intimacy of tracking your cycle also helps to defy stigma. Knowledge reduces shame and getting to know our bodies helps us care for them.
As you track your cycle, your ability to support your body is enhanced. Moving through each part of the cycle you’ll learn how to support your body in each phase. While your follicular phase may require that you move your body more, your luteal phase will likely require more rest. Cultivating our ability to listen to your body is a form of power.
Paying attention to your cycle also helps you to plan your yoni steam. If you find that steaming once per month is ideal for you, you might find it’s best to steam the week before you begin bleeding. This way, you support your body to fully cleanse and release what is no longer serving. By tracking your cycle, you can carve out the time you’ll need to spend on yourself.
Along those lines, when you’re in the habit of tracking your cycle you’ll avoid being surprised when you begin to bleed. Before I started tracking my cycle, I remember walking around in terror, always carrying pads, just in case. Tracking my cycle gave me my power back as I began to understand my body and have a closer estimate to when my period was going to start.
For the actual tracking, there are different methods. If you’re just getting started tracking your cycle, I recommend using an app where you input the first and last day of your period, and over time it begins to reflect when your period will start next. Most apps will also show you when you are predicted to ovulate, and when you’ll be moving through the other phases of menstruation as well.
If you’ve already been using an app and want to dive deeper, you can try the Fertility Awareness Method or F.A.M. There are three main methods to F.A.M, but the core is tracking when you ovulate, which can be done by tracking your temperature daily, checking your cervical mucus daily, or charting your cycle on a calendar (or app!). I know women who use a combination of those three to great effect. If you’d like to learn more, check out Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, as this is one of the most comprehensive resources out there!
I recommend beginning with a method that you can stick to for a couple of months, and notice the benefits of over time. Enjoy getting to know yourself a little better.
Brooke Lorimer is the founder of A Simple Alternative, a Virtual Assisting company that supports female entrepreneurs in reclaiming their time and bringing their bright ideas to life. She believes in using our values as a guide map for our life work and is passionate about women taking up space in the world.