One aspect of modern life that drains our reserves is that we no longer live seasonal lives. We have a much more 24/7 approach these days – anything goes, any time. For menstruating women, this can impact especially negatively on our monthly cycles. Demanding the same of ourselves, wherever we happen to be in the month, leaves us depleted. We become less attuned to our own fluctuations and how to care for ourselves in a way that creates harmony in our day-to-day existence.
I believe that we should listen more closely to our bodies and the needs of our menstrual cycle and make appropriate adaptions – where possible. The aim is to live in cooperation with this important cycle and in doing so reap the many benefits it offers us, from increased energy and confidence to better sleep and resilience to the difficult experiences life throws at us.
I find it helpful to compare the monthly menstrual cycle to the seasons of the year: summer, autumn, winter and spring.
Those days mid-cycle, ovulating and feeling fabulous, I liken to summer. Your oestrogen and testosterone levels are at their peak and you feel ready for anything. This is the time to make love, dance, change the world and express yourself. In terms of diary planning – have a party or take on a new challenge at work – now is the time to make the most of all that extra confidence and energy.
Following this peak, your oestrogen and testosterone levels naturally start to dip – this is your menstrual autumn. Now is a good time to begin to transition into your inner world. Rather than trying to plough on regardless, if you can, start to slow down. Tap into this quieter time for some solo creativity, having a bit of a de-clutter and if possible squeezing in the odd power nap. I know that many of you are insanely busy and it’s difficult to escape the daily routines – but remember that often small changes can have the most impact. For example, rather than traipsing around the supermarket with screaming toddlers, you could plan an online shop and make sure that the delivery driver brings the shopping right into your kitchen – anything that makes your life a little easier and that includes having pizza for dinner!
The menstrual winter descends for the few days leading to, and around 3 days during, menstruation. Your hormone levels have now dropped to their lowest level. This time is best dedicated to stillness, gentle stretching and peace – I am sure that allowing this slower pace will benefit those around you and they too will be thankful. In his book The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle says that we all have a ‘pain body’ which is an accumulation of stored and unprocessed emotional pain. He says the bigger our ‘pain body’ the bigger our receptivity to pain. He then goes on to tell us that if able to rest and be still, a woman in her menses can gently process and discard any difficulties she has had to take on that month. You have a natural emotional waste disposal system – use it!
After menstruation, your hormone levels begin to rise once again and you’ll feel more playful, flirtatious and adventurous. This fresh spring awakening is a prime time to take on new challenges, in preparation for the delicious extra confidence that the return of your menstrual summer (now just around the corner) will bring.
Ladies, this is so simple and not rocket science. All you need to do is keep a little track in your diaries of where you are in your cycle and plan accordingly – where possible. Even the odd simple tweak to your monthly routine can make a world of difference to your overall quality of life.