Embracing the Inner Seasons: Understanding the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Perrine Pauwels
Perrine Pauwels

The menstrual cycle is much more than our period! Each of its four distinct phases mirror one of nature's seasons.

The menstrual cycle, still often surrounded by taboo, is a natural process that every menstruating individual experiences. Spanning on average 28 days (though many women experience a regular healthy cycle of 21 to 35 days), the cycle consists of four distinct phases, each mirroring the changing seasons and corresponding to changing energy levels within.

Let's delve into each phase to understand its significance and how it influences our daily lives.

Phase 1: Inner Spring - Follicular Phase


The journey begins with inner spring, or the follicular phase, the feeling of rebirth after our monthly bleed. 

Typically lasting 7 to 10 days, this phase has a feeling of renewal and growth, akin to the budding of flowers in spring. The ovaries start preparing follicles for ovulation, and energy levels gradually rise. 

There's a sense of freshness and potential, encouraging exploration and trying new experiences. Tender self-care and nurturing oneself become essential during this phase.

Phase 2: Inner Summer - Ovulation


Ovulation, or inner summer, represents the peak of the menstrual cycle. As the mature follicle is released for potential fertilisation, estrogen levels surge, bringing a wave of energy, joy, and vitality.

Lasting around 3 to 4 days, it's a time of outward expression, enhanced creativity, and vibrant social interactions. Embracing this phase means embracing the joy of being in full bloom, like the warmth and vibrancy of summer.

Phase 3: Inner Autumn - Luteal Phase


Transitioning to inner autumn, the luteal phase, brings a shift towards introspection and harvesting summer's fruits. 

If fertilisation of the mature follicule doesn't occur during ovulation, oestrogen levels drop, while progesterone rises. This phase, which spans approximately two weeks, can feel like a wild rollercoaster ride. 

However, after the first sudden drop in oestrogen, which often feels like a shock, if we're able to set boundaries clearly we can experience a stable and powerful energy that helps us meet challenges and get things done. 

As progesterone peaks closer to menstruation, there's a tendency to feel more inward and reflective. It's a time to practice self-compassion, spend time in nature and at home, and honour your changing needs.

Phase 4: Inner Winter - Menstruation 


The final phase of inner winter goes by many names - from the euphemistic menstruation and period, and the poetic moon time, to the stigmatising 'curse', a new generation of women chooses to call it what it is: 'my bleed'. 

Physically, the menstrual phase is marked by a shedding of the uterine lining, which results in menstrual blood coming through the cervix into the vagina. 

Usually lasting 3 to 7 days, inner winter is a time for cocooning, introspection and rest, with a desire for comfort and warmth, and lower energy levels as the body is involved in an intricate cleansing process. 

Honouring this need for rest and self-care sets the foundation for flowing through the rest of our cycle with ease.

Managing Challenges

Premenstrual feelings

Approximately 75% of menstruating individuals experience some form of uncomfortable symptoms such as mood swings, pain and discomfort during the luteal phase or inner autumn.

However, understanding and honouring our body's needs can turn inner autumn from a dreaded to a powerful phase of our cycle. 

Setting boundaries, prioritising self-care, maintaining a balanced diet, and communicating our feelings to our loved ones, all contribute to a different experience. We start to understand the power available to women in this phase, which does not need to be medicalised as Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) but instead given space to express itself.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

However, it is important to be aware that for about 3-8% of menstruating individuals, the pre-menstrual phase is characterised by premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) with severe and debilitating physical and psychological symptoms, such as intense cramps, insomnia, depression and even suicidal thoughts. 

Seeking professional help and exploring treatment options, such as therapy or medication, are vital steps in managing PMDD effectively.

Whether you're suffering from PMS or PMDD, our validated practitioners at Sissoo offer nutritional advices, womb massages, yoga sessions and meditations that can help you manage your symptoms and lessen chronic pain.

Recommended Reading

1. Period Power by Maisie Hill

This empowering book offers insights into harnessing the power of the menstrual cycle. From understanding hormonal fluctuations to managing symptoms, Maisie Hill provides practical advice for embracing menstrual health.

2. Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer

Wild Power delves into the deeper spiritual and emotional aspects of the menstrual cycle. Through ancient wisdom and modern practices, the authors guide readers on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.


Understanding the nuances of your menstrual cycle empowers you to embrace your body's natural rhythms and cultivate a deeper connection with yourself. By honouring each phase and its unique energy, you can adjust your daily life to accommodate the ups and downs of the menstrual cycle. 

Like the changing seasons and the moon's waxing and waning, a woman's energy follows a cyclical pattern of rebirth, bloom, harvest and rest!


This article has been generated with the assistance of artificial intelligence technology.

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