As parents, we strive to provide our children with the best opportunities to learn and succeed academically.
However, it is essential to recognize that students born with a uterus experience unique physiological changes throughout their ~28-day menstrual cycle. By understanding the Four Menstrual Phases and their impact on the holistic body, we can empower our children to optimize their learning potential and avoid the symptoms of menstrual imbalance including extreme pain. This article aims to shed light on the significance of this awareness and how it can positively influence academic performance.
The Holistic Body and Menstrual Phases
To comprehend the importance of aligning learning with the Four Menstrual Phases, it is crucial to understand the holistic body. The holistic body consists of four interconnected parts: the Intuitive Body, the Mental Body, the Physical Body, and the Emotional Body. Each of these bodies is affected differently during the Four Menstrual Phases: the Follicular Phase, Ovulation, Luteal Phase, and Menstrual Phase.
Let’s Break It Down Phase by Phase:
1. The Follicular Phase and Cognitive Alertness:
During the Follicular Phase, which occurs at the earliest, four days after menstruation began, students experience heightened cognitive alertness. Research has shown that this phase is associated with improved memory, concentration, and problem-solving abilities (Smith, 2021). As parents, we can encourage our children to:
-engage in intellectually stimulating activities, such as complex problem-solving exercises or critical reading,
-schedule high-pressure standardized exams and assessments for the time that they are in this phase,-plan out long-term projects like Science Fair entries, thesis creation, and the college application process.
2. Ovulation and Interdependent Relationships:
Ovulation, the phase when the egg is released from the ovary, is characterized by increased levels of estrogen and testosterone. These hormonal changes can enhance creativity and innovative thinking in students (Johnson, 2020) as well as a strong feeling of belonging and an orientation toward extroversion–even for the most highly introverted of us. By recognizing this phase, parents can encourage their children to:
-explore group activities,
-engage in brainstorming sessions,
-receive and give constructive feedback,
-participate in group projects that foster creativity.
3. The Luteal Phase, Clarity, and Productivity:
The Luteal Phase, which occurs after ovulation, is marked by increased progesterone levels. This hormonal shift can lead to heightened emotional sensitivity and potential mood fluctuations. It is crucial for parents to create a supportive and nurturing environment during this phase, providing emotional support and understanding.
Conversely, with this combination of variable energy levels and a mental body that is just about to go on vacation-–during the Menstrual Phase-–our children may find themselves to be very productive with individual projects and to have a lot of clarity around decisions that may have been difficult to tackle in other phases.
Encouraging activities that promote relaxation, such as yoga or meditation and reminding students that it is okay for their energy to be inconsistent can also help them manage stress, maintain emotional balance, and embrace the clarity that seems to dawn with ease during this phase.
A journal is also a helpful tool at this time because, while this phase does offer clarity, our children may not be as tactful with the delivery of these realizations and could hurt some people’s feelings. Journaling and then relating the information around the time that Ovulation occurs (in the next cycle that begins after menstruation) is a strategic way to bypass hurting others (by accident) and to assert one's needs.
4. The Menstrual Phase and Energy Levels:
The Menstrual Phase, characterized by the shedding of the uterine lining, often brings physical discomfort and lower energy levels for students. Hormonal changes during this phase can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog (Brown, 2019). It is important to acknowledge these challenges and avoid scheduling exams or high-pressure activities during this time. Instead, parents can encourage self-care practices, such as rest, gentle exercise, home school (if that is an option), and light/low-calorie meals, like chicken soup, bread, and clear broths, to support their child's well-being. Don't forget, this is an expected time of hibernation--the body has collected the food it needed for this time in the previous, Luteal, phase.
Check out this article which includes two case studies of young teens who turned their life around, academically and athletically by using menstrual alignment.
Takeaways, Next Steps:
Understanding the Four Menstrual Phases and their impact on the holistic body is crucial for parents who want to provide their children with the best opportunities to learn in alignment with their body. By recognizing the unique challenges and advantages associated with each phase, parents can empower their children to optimize their learning potential and academic performance. Supporting students' cognitive alertness during the Follicular Phase, fostering community during ovulation, promoting emotional well-being and individualized creative productivity during the Luteal Phase, and addressing low energy levels during the Menstrual Phase can significantly contribute to their overall success when their period begins and for all future cycles.
Remember, each student is unique, and their experiences during the menstrual cycle may vary. Open communication, understanding, and flexibility are key to tailoring educational approaches that align with their individual needs. By embracing this holistic perspective, we can create an environment that supports our children's physical, mental, and emotional well-being, ultimately enhancing their learning journey.
If your child is dealing with symptoms of menstrual imbalance in the form of menstrual cramps and aches during ovulation or menstruation, PMS, irregular periods, or heavy flow periods, getting help from a doctor or menstruation professional is recommended. Alternatively, there are risk-free ways to nurture the body back to menstrual imbalance without medical intervention by holistically living to meet the needs of each Menstrual Phase. To learn more about that process, and how you can help your daughter or child born with a uterus, go to steadyandfree.com or join the mailing list.
Brown, A. (2019, September 12). Understanding your menstrual cycle. Medical News Today.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327017- Johnson, L. (2020, October 19). How your menstrual cycle affects your creativity. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/period-and-creativity- Smith, J. (2021, March 25). The menstrual cycle and cognitive function: A comprehensive review. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.618838