Intro To Charting Your Moon Cycle
“The single most important thing I have taken away from the whole experience of charting my cycle is simply this: to know your cycle is to know yourself.”
I’m on day one of my cycle. Emotions are heavy, and so is my abdomen. I wear a heating pad as I write this to ease the cramps. The brain fog is real, but what better time to talk about charting your cycle than this moment.
Our “education” as juveniles on the female cycle – moon cycle, period, or whatever you choose to call it – is primitive, to say the least. My school showed us a pad, a video of a woman giving birth, and a drawn graphic of the male and female reproductive systems. It was brief, embarrassing, and pathetically lacking of real information. I left knowing what a period was, where my sex organs were, and how conception happened. That’s about it. I knew NOTHING of the actual cycle that happens inside my body every month. Nothing of the ebbs and flows of hormones that affect different aspects of this cycle. I wasn’t even aware that you begin counting the days of your cycle from the day you start your bleed. The knowledge I have now is only a scratch on the surface, and yet I am more informed than I even knew possible. The number of times in my life that I was caught off guard by starting my period unprepared is absurd. In class, at Disneyland, at a dance competition in my costume, during sex…the list goes on and on. No longer. I know my cycle and my tells with pristine clarity now.
How did this all change? I read a book. Stupidly simple right? A book that launched me in to research mode. What didn’t I know? What else was there to learn about how my reproductive system worked? I crave knowledge, always have, but now I couldn’t get enough. I had heard of women charting their cycle in the effort to conceive but that was it. And I wasn’t even sure what that actually meant. I wasn’t trying to get pregnant; I wanted to know if there was a way to chart without that goal. The author of the book mentioned two smartphone apps that she used to chart her “flow”, so I downloaded one. I have never looked back (except in annoyance that I hadn’t done this sooner, but I digress.)
What I have learned is invaluable. Not just to me but to my partner. The single most important thing I have taken away from the whole experience of charting my cycle is simply this: to know your cycle is to know yourself. Our everyday emotions, aches and pains, appetite, exhaustion, mood, sexual drive, and on and on are all dictated by our cyclical nature. The hormones that flow through your body on any given day depend on what stage you are in and therefore influence how you react to something, what you crave for dinner, or how terrible you slept. By knowing all this you arm yourself with knowledge to take on the world. You can manage your stress levels at work, control how you react to an argument, or even balance your anger in traffic when that careless person cuts you off at the last second.
Whether you are a hands-on, drawing-charts-and-graphs-bullet-journal-type-of-gal, or more of a digital diva that actually uses the full abilities of a smartphone, how you chart is up to you. I am a Gemini and therefore do a bit of both. I use the iPhone app Flo for my actual cycle tracking. For my daily emotions, sleep and sex drive, I have a hand-drawn chart in my monthly planner. Flo offers much more as well. They display personal statistics so you can map patterns. The app posts daily informative and insightful short articles ranging from how to do a self breast exam to understanding how your female discharge changes throughout your cycle according to what phase you are in. There are countless others as well.
- I suggest downloading a few apps, charting on each for a month, and seeing which one feels best for you.
- Or if you are that artistic bullet journal/planner gal, go to Pinterest and look up chart ideas. You can print a template to paste or get really arts and craftsy and draw it by hand.
- You will begin to notice patterns. Maybe you sleep more on days 22-27, maybe you are more energetic on days 10-15. How amazing to utilize this knowledge for good.
- Don’t book a meeting on the days you are most emotional.
- Plan a play date for your kid at a friend’s house on the day you are most exhausted.
- Imagine the possibilities when you have full knowledge of your own body and can take ownership of your life.
Whatever method works for you, start now. You will never regret charting but you will wonder what took you so long to start.
***we acknowledge this is primarily helpful for women with regular to semi-regular flows.***