Hey there,

Let’s talk about something that many of us can relate to; the mood swings and inner turbulence that often come knocking during the luteal phase (commonly referred to as ‘inner autumn’). It’s like a rollercoaster ride we didn’t quite sign up for, right? Brace yourself, and let this email be your grounding reference for practical tips and understanding during luteal phase.

I’m sure you’ve heard or uttered the words “ugh I’m PMSing” before, and yes, it might sort-of explain why you cried when you dropped everything on the floor. First and foremost, I want you to know that I get it. I’ve been there too, I’ve felt the heaviness, bloating, the seemingly unexplainable low mood and wondered why the same issues come up again. But here’s a fact for you: the luteal phase has SO much potency and magic to be reaped.

As autumn sweeps in with its fiery leaves, your luteal phase each month is an opportunity to connect with your inner autumn. 

You might feel things more intensely, including anger and irritability. If you can learn to listen to the emotions that surface, honour them, and use your heightened intuition to make the necessary changes in your life, you’ll have tapped into the power of your inner enchantress. This process of ‘tuning in’ will support you in healing your PMS symptoms and balance irregular periods, because you are addressing the root emotion, which is conveniently less visible in the other phases of your cycle.

What’s the difference between PMS or premenstrual phase and luteal phase?

Luteal phase occurs after ovulation, and refers to the second half of your cycle.

Premenstrual phase occurs a few days to a week before your period, and PMS refers to any physical and emotional symptoms that crop up in that time. What do your premenstrual symptoms look like?

Natalie K Martinn, embodiment coach, refers to PMS (premenstrual syndrome) as your Personal Management System. And I LOVE this idea, because PMS can be one of the best tools out there for understanding and applying your boundaries and embracing your self-care practices. 

I’m doing an exclusive masterclass on boundaries and cyclical living on Thursday 9th November at 6.15pm – Use this form to send me a note saying ‘MASTERCLASS’ if you want in, and I’ll send you the zoom link!

The science behind it all

Now, let’s dive into the science behind why our energy turns inwards and our sensitivity increases during the luteal phase.

Progesterone and estrogen are two main hormones involved in a healthy menstrual cycle. In the first half of a healthy cycle, estrogen dominates which manifests as increased energy, heightened mood and enhances sociability.

In the second half of a healthy cycle, luteal phase, a hormone called progesterone takes the stage. It acts on the central nervous system, binding to receptors in the brain known as GABA-A receptors. This binding promotes a calming effect similar to neurotransmitter GABA, which reduces excitability in the brain. In other words, we can simply think of progesterone as ‘the calming hormone’.

Biologically, progesterone’s primary role is to prepare your body for a potential pregnancy. I like to think of it as the earth taking a deeeep breath before winter’s hibernation – inner autumn. The increased progesterone levels slow down our physical and emotional processes, inviting us to turn our focus inward. Note: It still does this even if we have no intention of getting pregnant at all. From an evolutionary perspective, increased progesterone can be seen as a way for the body to conserve energy and resources.

You may notice an increased sensitivity and a tendency to cry more easily.

It’s essential to note that every single one of us can experience emotional sensitivity during the luteal phase differently. Some may not experience this heightened sensitivity at all, whilst others might find it more pronounced. Fluctuations are also impacted by whether you’re on any hormonal contraception or not. However, the luteal phase is commonly reported to be the one that most people struggle with, and here are some potential reasons why:

  • fMRI brain scan studies have shown brain activity in the amygdala – the brain area associated with emotion processing – is heightened during luteal phase, which can contribute to this increased sensitivity. From an evolutionary standpoint, this can serve as a social cue to encourage closer bonds and support that could be beneficial during potential pregnancy and motherhood.
  • Psychological release; the increased emotional sensitivity is a way for the body to let go of emotional baggage accumulated during the previous cycle, a bit like a build-in emotional cleansing mechanism. Emotional expression, including crying, serves as a release valve for pent up emotions and stress. This promotes emotional wellbeing and reduces psychological tension, your body is always looking out for you.
  • Lack of understanding about how to harness your cycle and the superpowers that exist within each phase. We were never taught it in school after all, and that’s why I’m here.

To sum it all up, the luteal phase represents a complex dance of hormonal fluctuations, changes in brain activity, evolutionary strategies and psychological release mechanisms. These factors all contribute to the inward energy shift and emotional sensitivity. Understanding these scientific and psychological aspects can empower you to navigate the luteal phase with self-compassion and embrace the depth of your experience.

Tune in to your inner autumn  5 practical tips

Now, let’s get to the good stuff—how can you navigate these mood swings and embrace your inner autumn with grace and empowerment? 

1. Go about your life a little more slowly and mindfully. Say no more often, review your priorities and finish up any projects/work.

2. Cycle tracking: Pay attention to your unique patterns (these usually start showing after 3 months of tracking). Knowing when your luteal phase begins allows you to prepare mentally and emotionally.

3. Prioritise opportunities for rest right at the start of your cycle – menstruation phase. This isn’t just about taking a break. Rest in the menstruation phase nourishes your body and sets the tone for your entire cycle, alleviating the severity of PMS symptoms later on. Start well to end well. And if you’re all about productivity, know that getting enough rest to help the body recover from the physical effort of menstruation, will make you more productive in the days after your period.

But don’t take my word for it, you’ll only discover the fruits by applying your knowledge.

4. Yoga, movement, meditation: Keep connected to your yoga or movement practices during luteal phase. These can help release tension and ease mood swings. Poses like child’s pose, legs up the wall, and gentle twists can be particularly soothing. Too busy? Making just 5 minutes to breathe and meditate can make all the difference. Find 5 minute guided meditation on my instagram to help you stay centered and grounded here.

5. Allow the darker aspects of yourself to come to the surface and tend to your emotions – journal, doodle, sing – whatever floats your boat. Be aware of your inner critic. The more you hear the critic and choose to address the issues that emerge each month, the more wisdom, authority, groundedness and inner strength you can harness from your encounters with it. Previous wounds which may have been stored in your subconscious can surface as they seek conscious recognition.

I want you to remember that you’re not alone on this journey. Many of us have walked this path, and we’ve emerged stronger and more in tune with our inner selves. Your struggles during PMS are valid, but they don’t define you. If you struggle with your period, or you’re thinking ‘I track my cycle on Flo/Clue, is that good enough?’ then I invite you to book a free discovery call here

You have the power to embrace your inner autumn, ride the waves of your emotions, and emerge on the other side with a deeper understanding of yourself which you can leverage as you wish. Your luteal phase is one of the greatest opportunities you can harness.

So, as you navigate any emotional shifts, remember this: You are resilient, you are powerful, and you are fricken fabulous.

Stay curious, stay connected, and lean into the magic of your inner autumn. 

I’d love to connect with you, so don’t be shy – only great things can come of open period talk. What does your PMS look like, or what curiosity do you have around your cycle? Drop me a line via any social media or my contact page 🙂


Nour x