How Your Energy Levels Change on Your Menstrual Cycle

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Mood changes and discomfort are common before and during a person's menstrual cycle. You've likely learned what to expect from your body during menstruation, but hormonal fluctuations affect your body throughout the entire month.

Your mood and energy levels consistently change due to hormonal shifts during your cycle. This is why you may find you're more productive during certain weeks than others.

Let's explore the sequence of events your body goes through each month and learn more about identifying these changes so you can maximize your mood and productivity during different points in your cycle.

What Is Menstruation?

Menstruation occurs when the body is not pregnant and not preparing for a potential pregnancy. The lining flows from the uterus through the cervix before it is eventually expelled from the vagina. Menstrual blood is a combination of blood and tissue from the uterus.

The first day of your period is considered day one of your menstrual cycle. The menses phase typically lasts between 3 and 7 days. You're likely to find you feel less productive and more sluggish during this phase of your cycle, which is perfectly normal. The bleeding and cramping aren't solely to blame—your hormone levels are also low during the menses phase.

During your period, your estrogen levels rise slightly, and your progesterone levels dip. If you feel like laying low during this phase, don't fight the urge. It's essential to listen to your body and practice self-care, even if it means not checking off every item on your task list.

How to Maximize Your Time During This Phase

  • Say no to making plans, or reschedule existing commitments
  • Reprioritize work tasks, if possible, to have a lighter schedule
  • Go to bed earlier or sleep in if your body is craving extra rest

The Follicular Phase

This phase of your cycle begins on day one of your cycle, or the first day of your period. During the follicular phase, your body begins to develop follicles on the ovaries. A mature ovum, or egg, will develop within one of the follicles between cycle days 10 and 14.

Estrogen and progesterone levels rise during the follicular phase. This promotes follicle development and helps the uterus lining grow and thicken to support a potential pregnancy.

What Does This Mean For You?

A lot is going on in your body during this point of your cycle, but you're probably feeling pretty good despite it. Rising estrogen levels can cause a spike in energy for many, so if you're looking for a time to increase productivity, this is your week.

How to Maximize Your Time During This Phase

  • Complete any tasks you had pushed aside
  • Focus on more complex projects
  • Tackle your to-do list
  • Ramp up your exercise routine
  • Socialize with family and friends

The Ovulation Phase

Ovulation occurs around day 14 of a typical 28-day cycle. This is the point during your cycle when the mature egg is released from the ovary. If intercourse is timed properly, conception may take place during the ovulation phase.

In the days leading up to ovulation, your body experiences a surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH), which gives the ovary the go-ahead to release the egg. Estrogen and testosterone levels also peak during ovulation, so you may notice your body feels a bit different around ovulation day.

The ovulation process typically lasts for about 24 hours, but high hormone levels can last for about three to four days on either end from when the egg is released. The peak of estrogen may mean you feel more energetic than usual, while elevated testosterone levels can cause an increase in extroversion.

How to Maximize Your Time During This Phase

  • Have intercourse if you and your partner are trying to conceive
  • Engage in challenging conversations you've been hesitant to have
  • Complete any team-related work tasks or projects
  • Spend time in groups or attend events

The Luteal Phase

This phase refers to the time between ovulation and menstruation; the luteal phase is also known as the second half of the menstrual cycle. It most commonly occurs between days 15 and 28 of your cycle.

Once the egg has been released during ovulation, the follicle itself begins to change. The empty sac from which the egg erupts is referred to as the corpus luteum. This new structure produces progesterone to thicken the uterine lining in the event a fertilized egg implants, as well as some estrogen.

If pregnancy occurs, your body will begin producing human gonadotropin (hCG) to support the corpus luteum. Progesterone levels will also continue to rise. However, if the egg has not been fertilized, progesterone and estrogen levels will drop in preparation for your body to shed the thickened uterine lining during your next period.

What Does This Mean For You?

How your body reacts during the luteal phase depends on whether or not pregnancy has occurred. If you have not conceived, the rapid decrease in progesterone levels can leave you feeling slugging—physically and mentally.

Those pesky PMS symptoms may also begin popping up, making you feel more inclined to curl up on the couch than hit the ground running.

How to Maximize Your Time During This Phase

  • Prioritize self-care, like an at-home facial or manicure
  • Focus on more mundane tasks that don't require deep thinking
  • Curl up with a book or binge-watch a new series
  • Treat yourself: it's OK to give in to the occasional craving!

Understanding Your Cycle

Each individual's body is unique, and understanding your individual cycle is crucial for nurturing your physical and mental health.

Some people prefer to track their cycles the old-fashioned way on a calendar. Still, if you're more tech-savvy, multiple fertility apps are available to provide insight into what's happening with your body throughout the month.

Many apps allow you to jot down notes about how you're feeling each day, which can help you become aware of patterns that occur during your cycle. This is also beneficial for tracking any changes that may need to be brought to your doctor's attention.

A Word From Verywell

Your menstrual cycle is more than just your period—it's the sequence of events that occurs in your body each month. Recognizing how your body responds to each phase of your cycle can help you identify physical and behavioral patterns that occur throughout the month, allowing you to reach peak productivity while maximizing self-care.

When we listen to our bodies, it allows us to respond accordingly to its signals, bettering our overall health. If you have questions or concerns about your menstrual cycle, contact your health provider for an evaluation.

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Article Sources
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  2. Bull, J.R., Rowland, S.P., Scherwitzl, E.B. Real-world menstrual cycle characteristics of more than 600,000 menstrual cyclesnpj Digit. Med. 2, 83 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41746-019-0152-7

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