The other day, I was getting my haircut and flipping through a few magazines.
Something I don’t do often. Honestly I end up feeling “less-than” afterwards…but I digress.
Whilst thumbing through the various articles on “how to find the perfect summer dress” and “get that summer beach bod” …. I stumbled upon an advert for tampons…
The premise behind the advert was “don’t let your period stop you…”
Whilst looking at the advert, my mind went into overdrive…
I started analysing the picture, the words, the intention behind it’s message…which I believe only perpetuates the Perfect Woman Imperative — the imperative that encourages us to stay busy, keep doing, and always have to be ON.
Which is why this week I want to talk about what we were never taught about our periods so that we can begin to work smarter, not harder —
….And more importantly put the effort into the things that you genuinely care about and toss out the rest….
First things first, I’m not proclaiming to be an expert in this area…..
I’m simply a student and researcher in this topic and have been exploring my own body’s cycles since finding a new relationship to my body after babies and embarking on my Feminine Embodiment Coaching Certification a few years ago.
Learning about the different cycles of my period and how to work with instead of against them has been game changing for me…
Your body is the only vehicle through which you can do your work and live your life.
Trying to ignore your body and soldiering on aka being a machine is not success in my books.
I want you for us to create meaningful success in our work and live in a way that honours who you really are, honours how you feel and that allows you to be yourself in the process of achieving.
To achieve this vision requires you to work with your body instead of against her.
We are different to men, who have a cycle within a day as opposed to a month. Today I want to share with you…
How to work with your period so that you can work smarter instead of harder.
Let’s dive into the stuff we were never taught growing up.
Part 1: An Overview Of The Cycles
In essence, you go through 4 distinct phases in a cycle.
Each woman’s cycle is different (between 21-35 days) and so adjust these for your own.
Phase 1: Winter (Menstruation) 0-5 Days
As with nature, winter is a time to rest, hibernate and go inward to conserve energy and this is what it can feel like in your body during this time. During your period, your hormones are at their lowest, which means it’s normal to feel withdrawn more internal and reflective than usual. Physically you’ll naturally feel more tired.
How to make the most of this phase: Purposely keep your schedule light in advance of this time. Allow for early nights, keep social engagements to a minimum, and prioritise whatever it is that you need to recharge. The more you can rest during this time, the more intuitive insights you will receive, and the more energy you will have later in your cycle. Granted life happens and you can’t tell your boss that you’re not joining that meeting because of period pain. This isn’t all or nothing…just do what you can. With advance notice purposely block out times for you.
Phase 2: Spring (Follicular phase) Day 6-12
As with nature, spring is a time of planting new seeds, growth and creation. During this phase, your body is getting your eggs ready for ovulation and estrogen levels are increasing bringing about more energy, confidence and a desire to be more outward in the world.
How to make the most of this phase: Plan your social engagements during this time and take the time to get clear on what action steps you want to take on those intuitive insights you got in the winter season of your cycle.. Now is the time to anchor in how to bring your big visions and goals into life.
Phase 3: Summer (Ovulation) Day 13-18
Summer is the time for fun. During this phase, you’ll be ovulating and your estrogen levels will be peaking which means that you look your best (hello radiant skin!) and you’re at your most sociable. Get ready to connect and step into more pleasure, play and fun.
How to make the most of this phase: Take the time to be social and intimate with your partner. You’ll feel your most radiant during these few days so now is the time to put yourself out there, do that pitch or go for something bold and big. Watch out world, here you come!
Phase 4: Autumn (Luteal phase) Day 19-28
Things are starting to wind down as you approach winter. Estrogen levels are tapering off and progesterone is on the rise, bringing about a more calm and slower energy. You’ll find that your energy levels are decreasing and you’re more inclined to focus on tasks that are easy to tick off (hello step-by-step items). This isn’t a time to map out your visions as you’re less bold and able to access that go-getter part of you.
How to make the most of this phase: Slow down and use this time to get your admin done. Doing less mentally challenging or strategic/creative activities are easier during this time so you can stick to what’s doable. Schedule in extra self care and be gentle with yourself as this is when PMS can be at its peak.
What if you don’t have your period?
If you don’t have your period (because of birth control, menopause, have had your womb removed or are dealing with a certain health condition, or something else entirely) I want you to know that the energy of your womb space is still present.
You can honour your cycles by following the 4 key phases of the moon instead:
Winter // New Moon
Spring // Waxing Moon
Summer // Full Moon
Autumn // Waning Moon
Part 2: Tracking Your Cycle
Now it’s time to get to know YOUR cycle by committing to tracking your body rhythms.
1. Pen and Paper Method
Track the first day of your period in your planner and mark this out every month so that you can see how long your cycle is.
2. Use an app
This is my favourite method as it’s always with me and easy to track more data. One of my favourite apps to do this is Clue. But there are many others including Eve, Flow and Cycles.
Part 3: Implementing this in your own life
Once you start tracking your cycle you can start to practice sensitising in your body which season you’re in. With practice you’ll be able to feel the shift in energy from one season to another.
As you get more intimate with your body and her cycles, her energy, her needs and wants, you’ll be able to better plan accordingly and work with yourself throughout the month…
To recap here’s what you need to know to work with your period:
Winter: Prioritise quiet time and saying no to social engagements. Let yourself feel what you’re feeling and get to the heart of the matter.
Spring: Take the time to jot down those ideas and connect to what action needs to be taken from your intuitive hits from winter.
Summer: Take action and be productive! Get stuff done and have fun, flirt, be more physical.
Autumn: Slow down and give yourself more emotional support. Bake those vegan brownies so you’re ready for those cravings and take care of what you need when winter comes.
When you can drop the expectation to always achieve the same output EVERYDAY and instead following your seasonal cycle you’ll be able to not only work smarter instead of harder — you’ll be able to work with your natural intuition and guidance and live a truly soul-aligned life.
This approach and way of working allows time for all the things without having to do them all at the same time.
Working with your cycle is a way to do your planning and goal setting, have bursts of productivity, find time for play, adventure as well as rest, and reflection but in a way that feels right and honours YOU.
It’s a more natural approach to work with your body, honouring her and all that she does for you, instead of pushing against her all the time.
Want to go deeper so you can work with your period more effectively?
My two favourite books to check out are:
The Optimised Woman by Miranda Gray
Wild Power by Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Alexandra Pope
Now I’d love to hear from you:
+ How can you honour your cycle going forward?
+ What questions do you have?
Leave a comment and let me know.
I’d looooove to know.
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