Period Chat: Living In-Step with your Menstrual Cycle
I live in-sync with my menstrual cycle!
WAIT... YOU DO WHAT?!!
You may hate having your period, but let me try to change your mind because your period and your cycle is a fucking beautiful thing! For a long time and to this day, in cultures and societies all over the world, the very natural process of menstruation has been considered taboo, gross, disgusting, filthy, unhygienic and a lot of other nasty things. Basically just bad, negative and not good.
But hear this: your cycle is your own natural, personalised calendar, and living in synchronisation with it is like dancing to the beat of your own drum. Whatever you do, you can’t fight it, so EMBRACE IT and boogie on, sister!
Now that I'm in-sync with my cycle, I am my most lively, healthy and happy self.
I better manage Food, Sleep, Social, Work, and Exercise based on my cycle.
I first became interested in tracking my period when I saw this video.
VIDEO: YOUR PERIOD IN TWO MINUTES
As a personal example: I now know that in days 24-34 of my cycle I’m very prone to being flustered, short-tempered and tired. I try to get 9+ hrs of sleep in that time, and I am extra aware that I may snap at people for no reason, so I try a little extra hard not to. If I realise I have had literally no reason for my annoyance at a person, I catch myself and apologise.
Before I tracked my period: I had no idea where I was at in my cycle. I wasn’t getting enough rest and therefore became even MORE grumpy. I also thought my annoyances were valid because I didn’t even think to step back to see if hormones could be affecting my mood, and I fought way more with my boyfriend, siblings, parents and friends. True. Story.
Short note on the Pill (or any hormonal contraception): (I will write more on my experience with this in a separate blog!) I've been on the Pill, Implanon and Depo-Provera and I am personally against all hormonal forms contraception. In short: not good for me - mentally and physically. Although everyone is different, I personally feel like anything that messes with your natural rhythm cannot be good for you. You are literally fighting your body's natural flow and putting it under an immense amount of stress when you choose to go on the Pill. Your mental health matters too, so take that into account when choosing contraception - there are non-hormonal methods (like a copper IUD). Ask your doctor.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CYCLE!
The length, timing and phases of your period are different for everyone, so get familiar with yours!
I use an iPhone app called Clue to track the length of my cycle (I’ve downloaded lots of apps, but I like this one). There’s lots of data you can enter in there too, I use it mainly to record when I’ve had my period. I can see my ‘fertile window’ and it tells me roughly when my next period should be. The more data you enter, the more accurate it can predict your cycle and the more specific to you it gets.
THE FOUR PHASES: A VERY VERY SIMPLE SUMMARY
MENSTRUAL PHASE (Days 1-5)
You bleed. Your uterus is shedding its lining.
FOLLICULAR PHASE (Days 1-13)
You grow an Egg in your ovaries and the walls of your uterus (endometrium) gets a bit thicker.
OVULATION PHASE (Day 14)
The egg is released. (Moves from ovaries into a fallopian tube)
This is actually the only day you can get pregnant in your cycle (I didn't know this for a LONG time), but its very hard to know exactly when this day is. Also, sperm can stay alive inside you for up to 7 days, so you have a ‘fertile period’ in which it is more likely for you to get pregnant.
LUTEAL PHASE (Day 15-28)
Egg dies if there’s no sperm to fertilise it. The cycle continues.
HOW I MANAGE THE FOUR PHASES
These are my most common observations and most helpful-habits based on my own cycle over about a year now so here's how I personally manage my phases.
I FEEL OKAY.
I personally do not feel too tired, but that's just me!
I do feel like I'm getting ready and gearing up for something though - kinda like how swimmers jump up and down and swing their arms around before a race.
Mentally: not too bad - not amazing, but not terrible! Perhaps a little unmotivated, but it's not too hard to combat.
Physically: More fragile than usual. A little stuffy and cramped. Often bloated.
SUPPORT DURING MENSTRUAL PHASE:
Exercise: Gentle daily stretches to start the day and warm the body up.
Social: anything goes!
Nourishment: In general, I try to eat a range of colours, vegetables and fruits to best balance out any hormonal fluctuations in my body. Here is a chart that specifically outlines the most beneficial foods for you during the different phases and I use it as a rough guide, especially in my Menstrual Phase.
Sleep: 8+ hrs
I try to avoid: Caffiene
I love being a woman!
This is just how it is at the moment, all part of nature's cycles.
It is a GOOD TIME.
I am brimming with energy, zest for life and I love myself for who I am.
I feel social, confident and sure of my decisions.
I feel like a creative powerhouse - new ideas flow through me everyday, almost too many.
My concentration is great and I am motivated to plan and on new videos, content, art.
My body feels strong, my skin looks great, my body loses a little fat.
Meditation is much easier.
SUPPORT DURING FOLLICULAR PHASE:
Release: Lots of brainstorming and writing down/drawing down/colouring down of ideas and plans. Lots of manifestations.
Exercise: Anything! Daily yoga, back to more climbing, but I usually get adventurous and squeeze in a HIIT workout too some days.
Social: I actually spend a lot of time alone (but not lonely!) because I'm just so motivated to work on new projects and I embrace it. But, it's also a great time for me to meet new people (big or small groups), to be inspired by others on Social Media - I allow myself to scroll more. I also to give most of my energy to people I care about most. Spending a whole day with a close friend (or a few) at the markets or going on a hike is definitely on the cards here.
Nourishment: See Chart Above. I actually tend to indulge a bit more during this phase - I'm feelin' it and I go for it, guilt-free.
Sleep: I can function on less, so 7+ is good enough for me.
Self Care: Going for a walk, Face + Armpit Mask.
Activities: Sewing, Brainstorming, Manifesting, Making long-term things like fermenting things: Kimchi, Kombucha, Kraut and Kvass, Growing Sprouts, Thrift Shopping.
Oh Damn, I am a mother-freakin' boss-ass-b*tch.
I have all the power within me to make things happen and to make my dreams come true.
I have boundless, positive energy.
The only person I need validation from is ME.
OVULATION PHASE + LUTEAL PHASE
IT IS NOT SUCH A GOOD TIME.
I get closer to my period, I feel a very significant decline in motivation.
Self-doubt kicks in (often) - I second guess my work, my ideas, my creativity.
My body feels weaker and slower.
I feel tired, lazy, grumpy, short-temepered.
I cannot meditate or concentrate very well: my mind is a WILD CHILD.
This often manifests in me being: frantic, disorganised and indecisive.
Some days I just feel sad.
SUPPORT DURING LUTEAL PHASE:
Release: I cry if i need.
Exercise: Long climbing sessions - I can really feel that the extra endorphins help me through the rough patches of the day - sanding out the corners.
Social: I find short, gentle hang-outs with my closest friends are the most beneficial and comforting in this time. No whole day outings. I avoid: SOCIAL MEDIA! less instagram, less scrolling. large group social meetings (unless very very cool or important), meeting too many new people, and definitely steer clear of obligatory 'friend' hangs.
Nourishment: See Chart Above. + Maca Powder to smoothies and foods for hormonal balance. I will often intermittent fast for ONE day during this phase, if I am feeling bloated. Plenty of liquids. I try to avoid: Caffiene (Less Matcha and No Black Tea), Sugar and Oil. I aim for NO gluten.
Treats: Dark Chocolate.
Sleep: 9+ hours
Self-Care: Sitting in the Sun, Skin Brushing, Tummy Massages with Essential and Jojoba Oil.
Activities: Taking myself on a date! Daily Meditation (as hard as it is!), Gardening, Cooking and Reading.
I choose to be calm and centred, regardless of the situation.
One task at a time is enough.
This too will pass, as everything does.