If you want to talk about any of the parts of your cycle I am happy to answer your questions or book a session…
Navigate and Support Your Cycle
How the menstrual cycle keeps turning and how you can make it work for your life.
Getting to know how you feel during the contrasting times of your menstrual cycle is imperative to whole body health and happiness! All women need to understand their body, having 4 seasons every month means accepting change. Trying to continue with the same exercise, eating habits and social life every day as if it is the same can cause physical and emotional turmoil within us all. It is a huge governing force on how we see and feel the world around us. It should not be suppressed or ignored. Life would also be better if we stopped calling it a curse or a pain.
Being able to navigate and support your cycle can really lead the way to whole body health.
Healthy fats are essential to a healthy cycle. Low fat/ high carbohydrate diets may disrupt the normal flow and may also contribute to symptoms of PMS, cramps and clots. A diet rich in dense protein, eggs, green vegetables, fruit, fermented foods and drinks and lots of healing fats can contribute to smooth sailing through the ebbs and flows of life! Support your menstrual cycle by reducing refined sugar and starch in your diet, they give zero nutrition and zero comfort!
Never follow an exercise or diet plan that does not take your hormones into consideration. Women and men do need to train differently to be able to remain balanced. Men have cycles too!
Instead nourish your body, mind and soul with the following tips…
To help you to even know where you are in your cycle have a look at clue charting app, there is another good one for apple users called My Moontime. Also teas like this Moon cycle tea are great all around balance throughout the month. This is my favourite image to help you to understand how it all fits together. You can see how it builds and wanes.
(week 1: New beginnings as we prepare for new potential)
Day one of your menstrual cycle begins with your bleed. I always feel a sense of renewal and energy when my period begins hopefully you should also begin to feel better. After the possible ups and downs and dull aches of your last cycle, you begin to feel renewed and refreshed. After winter, comes spring. You may become increasingly optimistic, and your energy begins to be able turn outward towards the world again.
A healthy period may last between 3-7 days. There should be maybe a little cramping on day one but largely it should be pain free, maybe light spotting at the beginning and end. Using a menstrual cup can hugely benefit both your body and the environment. It can also give you a huge amount of information about the colour, consistency and volume of your bleed. This is information that is very important to chart and notice.
Many people tend to want to ignore and have as little to do with their bleed as possible. This is undermining a huge part of what it is to be a woman. Menstrual blood is being investigated for all its profound properties and nutrient value (i.e stem cells not for consuming!!!!). It is not just blood! Make sure you are aware of how you speak about your menstrual cycle to yourself and others, changing your viewpoint can have an enormous impact on your body and those of our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.
The cramping during your period is not unlike Braxton hicks. Your cervix is firm and low and must slightly open to allow menstrual blood to pass through. the cramping occurs when the muscles in your uterus contract to release the menstrual lining and the cervix to open. If you are also tight in that area because you sit down too much or hold stress in our abdomen area, you may feel more pain.
High blood sugar levels can also use up much needed magnesisum, this is responsible for relaxing muscles which is a possibility why we get those chocolate cravings during this time. By reducing your refined sugar intake, you almost always see a reduction in period cramps. Also try some teas like raspberry leaf (not just for when you are pregnant!) which strengthens your uterine muscles and nettle which gives us a good mineral profile to help our body do what it needs to more efficiently and to better effect.
During your bleed, you may feel introverted and introspective. Just like a seedling needs nourishment and space to grow, so does our body. Some quietness and deliberate rest time can be tremendously helpful. I often like to get into nature, a short walk during your day can feel great. If not why not try a simple breathing technique, see here for some easy ones to try.
Things to consider:
Make a date with yourself, preferably in or near nature. If not, have a look at some pictures of nature, maybe from your last holiday or bucket list destinations. This is not an ideal time to begin something new or be meeting new people, however you are warming to the idea.
Goal setting works well at this time. Make lists of things to do and places to visit. Find inspiration and start to take steps forward.
Take hot baths with dead sea salt and feel good essential oils like bergamot, lavender and clary sage and maybe try to go to bed an hour earlier than normal.
Warm compresses (hot water bottle or cherry stones) or light exercise may ease cramps. You could also try this homeopathic blend.
Try to resist cravings of simple sugars and processed foods. In the long term, they are not what the body is actually looking for. Try to comfort the body in alternative ways. Eat real chocolate or raw cacao. Consume lots of healthy fats like eggs, avocado, coconut and nut butters instead.
Write in your journal (see here), and reflect on the events and happenings of the past month. By charting you can see how you feel today compared to other days in the cycle and in other cycles. By truly getting to know our cycle we can have greater care and attention towards our emotional selves.
Be kind to your body and speak to yourself in a positive manner.
Although it may be the last thing you want to do, sex can be very enjoyable at this time, take time to explore each other’s bodies and pay homage to how wonderful they are.
Exercise can be gentle movement and stretching like yoga and walking. At this time, your hips and abdominal area are doing a lot and may be tight. You may add stress to ligaments that are attached to your uterus.
Drink blood building teas like nettle, raspberry leaf, chai, turmeric milk and try adding collagen to your drinks for extra protein and energy.
Try and use a menstrual cup, reusable pads or underwear, if not use biodegradable and organic tampons or pads during your menstrual phase. This is for the good of your body and the environment
Bach Flower Remedies can help to remove any mood swings or physical cramps. Have a look at using Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Clematis, Rock Water, Holly and Mustard. Rescue remedy can also help.
(week 2- Lots of energy for new growth)
The summer is normally when we all feel our best. Full of energy, motivation and of course beautiful and sexy. You are able to look outward at the world around you as you are able to tackle projects and relationships.
This is when you feel like being life of the party, people are also attracted towards you and you feel like interactions are easier and more fun. Not necessarily connected to the menstrual cycle, this is when you feel full of optimism and hope, energy is high and open
This phase follows just after menstruation. It’s called the Follicular phase because your pituitary gland (in your brain) releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the follicles in your ovaries to mature and ultimately release an egg in a few days.
During this time in your menstrual cycle you may notice that your cervical fluid takes on a wetter consistency. It can sometimes also look creamy. Your skin may look and feel better and you begin to pay more attention to your outward appearance.
Your appetite may also change, you may feel lighter and less weighed down. We also rarely connect this to being in our menstrual cycle.
Your sex drive begins to become ignited and you may find yourself feeling flirtier or playful and start window shopping at the men around you. You may become more impulsive and more likely to strike up conversations with strangers.
You may feel a boost of energy during this time of the month, and often see improvement of your mood and brain function. You may feel clearer, more motivated and have more stamina. You may even feel more assertive and willing to take risks. This is a wonderful time to plan what it is that you want and set future intentions.
Exercise will be more fun and you will be able to push yourself and have set harder and faster goals in this week. You may feel stronger and more likely to hit new PB’s
Things to consider:
This is a valuable time to initiate new projects at work or at home and make important decisions. If you are a writer you may have a promising idea of the outline and direction of what you want to write at this time.
Write all your ideas down, in the next couple of weeks you will be able to go deeper into those ideas and fill them with substance.
Brainstorming and problem solving will be become easier and more fun during this phase. Managing things and being organised will help you to stay on top of things and not get carried away with all the energy you have.
Start being social – This is the time to schedule time to meet with friends, be out with the kids, start networking, go and experience new things, like an art class or a language class you’ve never tried. You are also more likely to want to go on a date night or to a party now.
Smile and talk to people. You may feel confident and adventurous, you never know where an opening may take you.
Your body becomes better able to handle strenuous exercise during this time too, This is when you may find you are able to hit some PB’s. Try Olympic lifting and other weighted challenges during this time. You will also enjoy circuits and run sprints.
You may really like the essential oils Thyme and Ylang Ylang at this point.
Bach Flower Remedies can help have a look at Wild Rose, Sclerathus, Cerato, Honeysuckle, White Chestnut, Elm and Beech
(week 3 Harvest the rewards of all that hard work and bank some points)
Ovulation is the culmination of all the hard work your hormones and body has been building up in your menstrual cycle for the last couple of weeks. It is also the shortest phase of your menstrual cycle and may last for 2-3 days. After your egg gets released from its follicle into your fallopian tube it may survive for 12-24 hours travelling down towards your uterus. Some people can feel ovulation, others have very vivid dreams during this time.
At this point your sex drive may well be at its highest! The eggs main aim is to be fertilised or it will die. All the hormones come together to rise to their peak levels (see the first image), stimulating the effects of this phase.
You may feel that you look better and feel more confident. You may find it easier to communicate your thoughts and emotions. Our base instincts kick in at this point, to find a mate. If you do not want to become pregnant, this is the time in your menstrual cycle to be very cautious about safe sex.
You may even feel like you look more attractive during this time, skin may be clearer, hair glossier and generally and you may feel more confident about your appearance. You may find yourself dressing in brighter more revealing clothing subconsciously during this time. Your senses may become heightened, your sense of sight, smell, taste and touch feeling more obvious.
You may notice that Your cervical fluid is very clear or viscous egg-white fluid, with lots of elasticity, this is to help sperm to reach the egg and to also ensure the right environment for egg fertilisation. Your cervix will also become softer, and may move higher and open, this is helpful for orgasm.
After ovulation (about day 3-4 of this part of the cycle), oestrogen takes a steep nose dive, but luckily the still rising progesterone catches you from falling all the way to rock bottom. You don’t feel as excited, energetic and confident as in the flirty summer. Doubt and insecurity creep up on you, and you may begin to feel cranky, grouchy or moody. Your energy begins to turn inward now, and you feel the need for some downtime to just catch a breath and chill.
Things to consider:
This is an ideal time to look for a new job and go to interviews, pitch your ideas, start a new health plan, ask for a raise or more responsibility at work, go network and make plans for the future.
If you know you must do public speaking or attend functions try to schedule them in this part of your cycle.
Push through limitations and surprise yourself
Get out of the house. Go dancing with friends or try something completely different for date night. If you are single, look around and be proactive, have fun and be yourself.
Take advantage of the high energy levels during these few days. You should continue to enjoy lots of physical activity, especially group workouts. This is when you go running, spinning, kickboxing or group dance classes. High energy and lots of focus, so get out there and start challenging your body.
Bach Flower Remedies can help. Have a look at Rock Water, Beech, Vine, White Chestnut, Vervain, Chicory and Olive.
(week 4- Take the time to rest and heal whilst honouring your creative side)
After the oestrogen high of the last few days, it will take a dive in week 4. All the energy in the menstrual cycle can sometimes land with a thud. Primal instincts make us move more inward to heal and rest. You will find yourself beginning to wind down and become calmer.
Progesterone is a heat-inducing hormone which may raise your basal body temperature for the remainder of this phase of your menstrual cycle. If the environment around you is hot, you may find yourself irritated by the heat and not able to cool down.
Your cervical fluid may lose its egg-white elastic or wetter consistency and start to become stickier. If there is no pregnancy, oestrogen and progesterone will decline which will eventually cause the uterine lining to shed (your bleed). Essentially your body goes into mourning because you did not create a baby (even if you had no desire to!).
You may feel more subdued, prone to possible angry outbursts, crying may surprise you, frustration, more fatigue and it may be harder to focus and concentrate. After the high of summer and beauty of autumn, winter can sometime send us running under the covers.
Progesterone has been seen to be a natural sleep aid and anti-anxiety hormone. So you may feel more fatigued prone to napping and more sedate than before. All you may want is to do is withdraw and hibernate in your little cave. That is just fine. Recognise that about your menstrual cycle and honour it.
Be OK with saying “no” and understanding why you just can’t be bothered to see that friend you were pestering to go out with the week before. You may choose different friends at this time of the month because you require a softer focus. Most of them will be on their own menstrual cycle roller coaster.
Be kind to yourself, explain why you may feel different to yourself and others. Emotional communication is essential and important as it leaves less misunderstanding at the door. When you honour your body’s instinct and innate need for rest and recuperation at this point, you will enhance your ability to get more out of the upcoming active phases of your cycle next time around.
You may feel isolated during this stage of your cycle but know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, shh the voice in your head telling you to get up and out. There is a remarkable cascade of hormonal events taking place, spring is around the corner.
Things to Consider:
Feed yourself with healthy fats rather than sugar at this time. Sugar peaks and toughs makes mood swings more frequent and acute. This is an enjoyable time to get into the kitchen and learn a new recipe that nourishes and is kind to the body.
Try to stay away from anything that may irritate your body like grains or dairy. You are more likely to have a skin reaction now too.
Practice kind and nourishing self-care during the week before your period. Find what makes you feel nourished and balanced Yoga, massage, reiki, meditation or hiking in nature are all good things to seek out during this time.
Go to bed earlier or maybe sleep in late one morning. Read a favourite book or listen to music.
Comfort yourself by being alone and creative. Now is the time to paint, draw, write from the heart and feel empathy for others.
Now is a valuable time for nesting, write your to-do lists and find the lists you write in “summer” to add substance and to get things done.
Bach Flower Remedies can help. Have a look at Walnut, Chestnut Bud, Larch, Willow, Agrimony, Gorse, Sweet Chestnut.