Last week was just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you have had a chance to check in with your body a few times over the last week. Maybe you even figured out what day number or phase of your cycle you are in. I encourage you to keep checking in daily. Today, as promised, We will dive in just a bit deeper. We will focus on the menstrual phase.We get into what this phase of the cycle is and some common characteristics. We will then talk about what our bodies need and crave during menstruation and how you can cater to your biology instead of trying to fight against it. I’m not sure if you noticed it yet or not, but fighting against your biology is definitely a losing battle. Cue PMS symptoms, exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, depression, insomnia, increased stress, weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar disorders, and the list goes on and on. Sound familiar? Then you are in the right place so make sure you stick around. This information has been life-changing for me, and I hope it strikes a chord in you too.
Hopefully the image above looks somewhat familiar. Most of us are aware that internally our hormones are fluctuating throughout the month. Whether we intend to have children or not, a female’s biology is built around creating life. Each month our body prepares an egg and the uterus to host that egg in case of fertilization. That process is a carefully coordinated effort between our hormones. Are you aware however that those hormone changes affect more than just our ovaries and uterus. They affect everything! Let’s get down to some basic sex education.
Technically, the menstrual part of our cycle comes at the end of our cycle. For ease of tracking though, we call Day 1 of our cycle the first day of our period. Your period is the shedding of the uterine lining due to the egg not being fertilized and implanted. In the above graph, you will see that during menstruation all hormone levels are at their lowest. This coordinates with low energy levels.This phase is often referred to as our inner winter.
Support during Menstrual Phase
Rest is the most important part of this phase. Often if you don’t take the time to rest during menstruation your body will force you to with extreme cramps or extreme fatigue. Your body is doing some major work in shedding the uterine lining. Not only is rest important, but also nourishment. Your body is losing a lot of blood and minerals so replenishing those are imperative. Think bone broth soups and stews with quality animal protein. Seafood is also important and helps to re-mineralize things like zinc, magnesium, selenium, and more.
In terms of movement, do not force anything. Rest, nap, and incorporate gentle walks, yoga, or stretching if you feel up to it. We often feel the need to go inward. So spend some quality time with yourself and just take it easy. Because hormone levels are at their lowest, this allows both hemispheres of our brain to communicate. Think of our logical brain meeting with our emotional and creative side. They are equals and we are able to better analyze.
This is a great time to reflect on the past month. Grab your journal and be kind with yourself as you look at what you have accomplished. Take note of any areas that are less than optimal and need improvement. Trust your instincts as they are strong right now. Review and note what you may need to let go of and what may need to shift in the coming month. Start setting intentions for your next cycle.
I hope you are able to see now that our period is not a liability. It is such an important part of our cycle AND our lives. The magic happens when you cater to your biology. When we are able to take time to rest, recharge, honor our bodies, and analyze our current state it truly does support our health and wellness. Yes, life does happen. I absolutely do not expect you to spend 4-7 days in bed every month. That is not realistic. What is realistic is giving yourself some grace to nap when you are tired and hormone levels are really low on days 1-5. Maybe that also looks like not doing your HIIT workout during menstruation or planning your meals around your cycle. Pick one change to make this cycle and I know the benefits will compound. Think of it like an experiment. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Next week we will move into the follicular phase and how to support ourselves during that phase. Interested in taking this a step further? Contact me for a Coaching Consult.
In The Flo by Alisa Vitti
Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer