I haven't ever had much of a connection to my cycle in the past - hormone issues warranted an early introduction to hormone treatments and birth control. I was very used to feeling the exact same the entire time except for the withdrawal bleeding at the end of the month. I wasn't even aware that that's what it was; I wasn't ever told what the hormones do, or that the pause was entirely artificial, not needed, and not a true period.

So after I went off of it, it took a very long time for my cycle to return, to settle on something, and me to learn what each stage even feels like. I think all those years, I fought against it, wished it away, and in my mind became weaker and more inconsistent because of it. I wasn't used to being inconvenienced that much by my cycle.

But I've learned to live with it now, more or less, and became really attuned to my body and its seasons. I've also started noticing patterns and instead of fighting them, I was trying to work with them. I've recently come across people talking about cycle syncing, and realized that's what I do, but I could be doing even more. So for the next few months, I really want to embrace my cycle and keep on structuring my life a bit more around it, since I've found it beneficial for me.

The first time I tried to sync things with my cycle was when I read that we tend to be more charming, attractive, assertive and extroverted within our ovulation window. I've tried to take advantage of it by scheduling things like dates and job interviews in it if possible and had a good experience. Even if it turns out not to be true, I like to enjoy the placebo effect of thinking my cycle now gives me a boost in confidence and attractiveness, which of course affects how I act and move in the world.

The second time I became more aware of differences throughout the cycle was when I was fighting with myself to keep up a consistent workout schedule. It was hard to keep it up while close before or during my menstruation; I noticed more energy and muscle building in the beginning of the cycle, while I felt weaker and more quickly exhausted towards the end of it. I felt confirmed when I read an article about women in soccer advocating for cycle-dependent training. Allegedly, the hormonal state of the beginning of the cycle is a great time for heavier workouts because more muscle building is taking place and we have more energy. But if we try to do those same ones in the later part of it, the risk of injuries rises; we build less muscle, we tend to push ourselves over a certain point to keep up with how we performed weeks prior and then deal with injuries and soreness. It is said that maintenance workouts or just workouts focused on stretching and restoring are better than trying to push through.

I tried to incorporate that and I think it helped with feeling less disappointed in myself in the later half where I tend to manage less in my workouts and instead finding new or better ways to train in that time frame, or even being understanding when I just don't manage to exercise at all.

The patterns and behaviors I noticed and what I calculate in now are basically as follows:

Menstrual phase

Follicular phase

Ovulation phase

Luteal phase, first half

Luteal phase, second half

I will soon get my hormones tested again and see if my progesterone levels are atypically low for its cycle phase at that point and probably supplement it. My PMDD symptoms later in the cycle are likely due to too low progesterone, and also my persistent histamine issues too, since it helps in creating DAO, which is needed to deal with histamine in food and that I supplement right now before eating.