Menstrual Cycle

How to Chart Your Menstrual Cycle

What is menstrual cycle charting?

Menstrual cycle charting is the practice of journaling how you’re feeling mentally, physically and spiritually each day with the hope of discovering monthly patterns in your behaviour and emotions, as dictated by the phases of your menstrual cycle. (If you don’t have an active cycle, stick with me!)

The word “charting” makes this whole practice sound a lot scarier and time consuming than it actually is, I promise. Let’s rebrand it and say you’re going to keep a daily log.

Step one is figuring out what menstrual cycle day you are currently on! The first day of your menstrual cycle is the first day of heavy bleeding during your period. From there, just count up. Now you know what cycle day you’re on!

How to cycle chart while not bleeding

My friends who do not currently have an active or consistent menstrual cycle, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are menopausal — please don’t worry. You will use the lunar cycle to do your charting since the Moon matches the average woman’s menstrual cycle.

Please note: If you are breastfeeding, you’re likely in an extended pre-ovulatory phase. You may not notice massive fluctuations, but do still get in the habit of connecting to your body and charting your findings.

I use the Moon app to track the lunar cycle. Within that app, you’re told what cycle day the Moon is on. Even though women bleed throughout the Moon’s natural rotation, you can use the Full Moon to reflect ovulation, and the New Moon to reflect menstruation.

Menstrual cycle charting while on birth control

If you’re on birth control, use the Moon’s cycle as a framework to add structure to your life month over month. Chart using whatever day the Moon is on, so after a few months of tracking you can compare those cycle days to each other.

Your findings may be a bit muted or unique if you’re on birth control (your hormones aren’t properly activated, you’re likely not ovulating, and your period is probably just a withdrawal bleed), but I know firsthand that you can still notice cyclical patterns.

This is what the Moon app looks like when you open it!

Where to store cycle charting data?

My best advice would be to choose whichever method will be most sustainable to you, because it is important to check-in with yourself daily. Will you fail if you miss a day? Absolutely not. But you will be able to see more patterns over time, and that’s what we’re looking for!

The option I use isn’t very Instagram-worthy, but it’s easy! In the Notes app on my phone, I’ve created a “note” for every day in my cycle. Within each note, I write the month and year, and then my findings. That way, when I’m feeling off on a specific day, I can open the matching “note” and see if it’s a consistent pattern related to my cycle.

Another option would be writing your findings down with pen and paper. Some people add this to their regular journal, and some use their daytimer. You can still flip back through to compare days, it’s just a more manual and intimate process. Bonus points if you use a red pen on the days you’re bleeding!

Using paper cycle charts

The most aesthetic option (and one that makes it easy to compare your cycle month over month) is to print my free cycle charts! I commissioned an artist to create a traditional circular chart, and a linear version if that feels more comfortable to write in. There’s even a blank linear version if your mesntrual cycle is longer than 30 days! You can download them here.

Lauren Hughes charts her menstrual cycle
This is me journaling in my bed. It’s best to be comfortable while you write!

You can also use a period app like Clue! They are easy to use, but may limit what you can track. Writing your own unique observations down somewhere is always best.

And that’s it. Seriously.

After about three months, you’ll be able to compare your menstrual cycle days and see if you have regularly occurring emotions, worries, or desires. From there, you’ll be able to predict what you will need ahead of time and how your partner or family can support you throughout your menstrual cycle.

The awareness and mental clarity you’ll gain when you realize how much our hormones influence will be life-changing, I promise.

Watch: A free cycle charting workshop

I hosted a free workshop in August 2022 all about How to Chart Your Cycle. If you’re more of a visual learner (or if you just want to see my friendly face) you can watch it now.

Click here to watch it!

It’s time, my friend! I suggest doing your daily log right now, just so you can see how quick the process truly is (it’ll take three minutes max!)

Happy charting!

xo Lauren

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  1. Kylie says:

    Kind of obsessed with the moon matching things down here 🩸🌚

  2. […] the outer layer of cyclical living: cycle charting, listening to your physical body, learning the language of menstrual cycle awareness. There’s […]

  3. […] When you track your menstrual cycle and chart your daily symptoms, you’ll begin to see patterns after about three months. Even people who don’t currently have natural cycles (whether they’re menopausal, pregnant/ breastfeeding or on hormonal birth control) can chart their fluctuating symptoms by using the lunar cycle as a framework. […]

  4. […] menstrual cycle coach teaches their clients about the four phases of their cycle, to chart their unique cycle and to then use those findings and self-reported data to make informed decisions around their […]

  5. […] ovulation is technically the main event of our menstrual cycles, for the purposes of charting we will begin with menstruation. It’s easier to define cycle day one as the first full day of […]

  6. […] Charting your menstrual cycle and living cyclically makes more sense when you know exactly what’s happening in your body. Each month (or cycle) our hormones do a very predictable dance, and when we know the steps our moods, feelings and reactions feel a lot more predictable. […]

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Cycle charting is the practice of journaling how you’re feeling mentally, physically and spiritually each day with the hope of discovering monthly patterns in your behaviour and emotions, as dictated by your menstrual cycle.


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