(Here are the links if you missed part 1 – menstruation, part 2 – the follicular phase and part 3 – ovulation)

The luteal phase is the phase which we generally find the hardest. Our bodies ask us to slow down, takes breaks and relax more. The problem is that this doesn’t fit in with our expectations of life. Our jobs don’t have space for this slower pace, we are expected to keep going. We still expect our bodies to exercise in the same way, have the same amount of energy and want to socialise in the same way.

It’s ok for our needs to change over the month.

What’s going on with your hormones?

Progesterone is the dominant hormone in this part of your phase, with all the others dropping fast. Progesterone maintains the lining of the uterus so that any potential embryos can implant and embed. If this doesn’t occur then progesterone drops just before your period starts.

This phase is normally around 13 days long. The luteal phase needs to be at least 12 days to allow pregnancy to occur.

If you suffer from irregular periods, this part of your cycle is normally pretty consistent.

How should it be

It is completely normal for you to feel a bit less energetic and not want to socialise at this point in your cycle. Hibernation is totally acceptable!

You may also notice that your mood shifts and you find it more difficult to be diplomatic. Again totally normal.

All these normal patterns can become unhealthy if you don’t honour the slowing down process. You may feel so exhausted you can’t get out of bed. You might feel depressed or anxious during this part of your cycle or feel very sensitive/angry/frustrated/emotional (your typical PMS stereotype!).

Positive changes

Accept that you won’t be able to achieve as much as you want to in this part of your cycle and prioritise what you want to do. Do you want to get some work done or spend time with friends? Avoid doing it all!

Don’t work late, however tempting it is. You will not get more work done by working longer. Set boundaries around your work time and take regular breaks. By doing this you’ll find you’ll get more done during those times because you’ll feel more rested.

Book in dates with yourself. Think:

  • snuggling into a blanket by candlelight watching your favourite film.
  • using your posh bath salts and toiletries to create a luxurious bath.
  • Get into freshly changed sheets on your bed to read a good book.

Get curious about your mood and what’s going on in your body. As unpredictable as this part of the cycle can feel, its predictably unpredictable. If you track it over several months, you’ll start to see your pattern in mood, energy, cravings etc and knowledge is power.

Having that understanding means you can prepare for it and be gentle with yourself.

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