Luteal Phase? Or Internal Autumn? Using internal seasons to track your menstrual cycle.

Luteal Phase? Or Internal Autumn? Using internal seasons to track your menstrual cycle.

When I started trying to track my cycle, I was so confused by the terminology and the conversation about hormones. I just could NOT get any of the words to make sense in my brain. I wanted to tune into my body and watching other people be so knowledgeable about theirs left me feeling kinda left out. 

I finally found the concept of internal seasons and my whole cycle cracked open for me! In this blog post, I want to share specifically about autumn. It is the season that has impacted me the most since becoming familiar with it. To start, it is important to know that Day 1 of your cycle is the first day you bleed and that phase of your cycle is winter. So, the season right before that is autumn, which is where PMS lives. 

Here's a quick breakdown of the seasons:

  • Winter: The start, marked by bleeding.
  • Spring: When bleeding ends.
  • Summer: Ovulation, marked by increased sociability and sensuality.
  • Autumn: The subtle season of PMS.

internal seasons described by menstrual phase. luteal, menstruation, ovulation, follicular.

The easiest season to identify is winter because it's the first day you bleed. Spring follows winter, and that one feels pretty easy too because it's when you stop bleeding, and it's clear when that's happened. Summer is a little trickier because it doesn't have such an obvious and visual clue, but I'll tell you it's when you're ovulating and a couple hints for that are feeling more social, outward, sexy, turned-on, etc. 

Autumn, for me, was the hardest season to recognize and required a more intuitive approach. I couldn't necessarily feel in my body when the shift had happened. One thing that helped me a ton was using the visual of nature during each season. In autumn, I picture squirrels gathering all their nuts and putting them away for winter. They're busy getting important things done. They don't have time for non-essential things. They're in preparation mode. Winter is coming! And that's exactly what my mind and body go through during this season.

When I wake up cleaning, organizing, and find myself with the impulse to throw everything away... I know I've crossed into autumn. My anger also shows up during this season and I have noticed that it rears its head when I am trying to sink into this preparation mode and get pulled away to do trivial things. It's like my whole body says, "Can't you see all these important things I'm doing!?! I don't have time to go find your shoe right now!" Understanding the purpose of this season in nature has helped me more than anything else I've read. 

Image of a menstrual cycle tracker showing the phases colored in with different shades of red to identify internal seasons representing menstruation, luteal, ovulation, follicular phases

The trees have also helped me understand this time in my cycle. They start shedding their leaves to conserve energy, they start slowing down and preparing for hibernation. I noticed that I do the same during this time. That urge to purge everything in my house, my closet, my desk... feels like this letting go of all my leaves, all the things that take energy. So I use this as a reminder to simplify, slow down, and become more intentional with the things I choose to do. 

Understanding this season has also helped me to show myself more compassion during this time with the way my emotions show up. When I feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I now know that it's just because I'm trying to get a lot of things done and I'm probably feeling more tired than I just did in summer. So I cut myself some slack, take a nap if I can, or just move a little slower. I put myself in time-out if I get too frustrated and come back a few minutes later. 

The insight and self awareness that autumn has cultivated within me has been nothing short of magical. Did you already know about internal seasons? Or is this new knowledge for you? Does it help you as much as it did me? 

Image of period tracker and menstrual internal seasons journal

I created a tracker for myself a few years ago, and a journal to help me notice trends and symptoms. This year I decided that I would make it available for everyone. Find it here. Hope it serves you well :)


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