Getting to know your menstrual cycle is crucial to your health, work relationships and overall wellbeing. Charting is the process of tracking each day of your menstrual cycle from the day of your first bleed all the way through the month until one day before the next period. It isn’t just the territory of those who want to get pregnant, your cycle is a gold mine of incredible insight that will provide information on how best to use your energy, intuition and feminine power. It is also key to identifying what imbalances may be happening within the body and knowing the intimate details of your menstrual flow and vaginal discharge throughout the month is vital information for directing which herbs to steam with, how often to steam and when to steam.
Things such as cramps, pain, bloating, brown period blood, heavy flow, short periods (1-3 days) or long periods (7-10 days), yellow vaginal discharge can all be described as normal symptoms, however they are not necessarily healthy symptoms. They are a sign that there is an imbalance in the body and it is important to identify them so that they can be addressed.
Each month, meaning each menstrual month, the time between each bleed can become a map for charting the optimal times for everything from going on a date, writing copy for your website, having a challenging conversation with your partner, asking for a raise or taking a well needed nap. The ebb and flow of our dreams, creativity and hormones in each phase of our cycle offer us a profound opportunity to deepen our connection with our inner knowledge and to live in balance with the different creative energies that occur each month. What would life be like if you knew that you could use your pre-ovulation phase to plan your workload for the month and that in ovulation you are queen of communication? How about knowing you can use the pre-menstrual phase to get to the heart of what works and what doesn’t and during mensuration, asses and review?
Ways to Chart
Just like the moon, your menstrual cycle follows roughly a 29-day cycle and in the same way that the moon waxes, and wanes, so do we. Each month, we take a journey through both the light and the dark parts of ourselves, we get the chance to renew and refresh our entire being – physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually.
Your menstrual cycle can be mapped in the same way as the cycles of the moon and the seasons. There are so many ways to chart your menstrual cycle and I recommend using a Cycle Chart, which I have included here as a downloadable file for you to print off.
I have also provided an example of one filled out so that you get an idea of what sorts of information to include as well as see how to keep track of your steaming practice.
If writing down with pen and paper is not your thing and you would prefer to use an app on your phone, I recommend using Flo or Moon – Period & Ovulation.
The important thing is to find what works for you and if resistance comes up, then simply sit with that for a while. What is the block about? Why wouldn’t you want to record this valuable information that is the blueprint to you? With a little time and patience, what might seem like a difficult task in the beginning is actually a one minute task and can serve as a beautiful daily check in with yourself.
How I chart
I’ve been charting for a long time now, and with each monthly menstrual cycle I learn a little bit more about myself as a woman in the world. The more I learn, the more I’m able to fully claim my powers, care for myself, articulate my experience and live my life in ways that feel good and meaningful.
I journal practically every single day and I always start by writing down the day, date and what day of my menstrual cycle I’m on. So I have a very accurate record of where my emotions were at and what was happening in my life on any given part of my cycle. I also have a wall calendar where I track what day I’m on alongside all the family and work commitments. I find this really valuable because each month I can look ahead to see what is coming up and have a vague idea of where I will be at in my menstrual cycle. I have the chance to reschedule anything to make time for me to rest during my period or make sure to plan a workshop or launch of some type during my ovulation.
I’ve also recently started using a Cycle Chart and paying attention to the phases of the moon in correlation to my period. It’s fascinating how it all moves and ebbs together and since my cycles have been short at 26-27 days (probably because of my cyst) over the last few months my period has flipped from full moon bleeding to new moon bleeding. Two very different experiences and energies to harness.
No longer cycling
One last thing, if you are on the pill, or you no longer cycle due to menopause or surgically induced menopause, this doesn’t mean that you miss out on the cycle action insight and wisdom. While your body won’t be experiencing a menstrual bleed, it will still experience its own cycles but these may be much subtler, so to fully embrace the cyclic energy, I’d recommend working with the phases of the moon to experience the energy of each phase. Also recording information about hot flashes or night sweats can be useful when it comes to comparing what then happens in your body when you introduce the ritual of steaming.
Chart and Conquer
You may already know all of this and be be tracking your cycle and if this is the case, wonderful!! Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s powerful and each month you will be getting to know and understand your incredible body more and more.
I hope that you have found this post helpful. If you do print off the Cycle Chart and use it I would love to hear how you get on with it. If you have another way of charting that I haven’t mentioned or can recommend any other apps please let us know.