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Understanding Your Monthly Cycle

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Women are cyclic beings and when you tune in to the natural cycles of life — and especially your own internal menstrual cycle — not only will you get a deeper understanding of yourself (and your body) but you strengthen your connection to the divine feminine.

I’m the living, breathing proof of this. It wasn’t until I stopped hating on my body (and my period) and deeply connected to my own internal rhythm that I was able to unlock a neglected part of my creativity, strengthen my intuition, flex my self-love muscle, and experience true wellness, self-awareness and soulful sex.

Unfortunately, my ‘period story’ is not that unusual and you can read all about that here.

But before I understood the magic of menstruation, I thought us ladies were linear. Like, you were either bleeding or not, and that was it — on or off, like a light switch. I didn’t understand that our cycles are complex and that our body, mood, metabolism and hormones fluctuate throughout the month.

There is a ton of science-y information out there about how our hormones go up and down like a rollercoaster through the menstrual cycle, but for me, looking at the different phases we go through as ‘seasons’ was what finally made everything click.

What do I mean by ‘seasons’? Well, just like the natural world has seasons (summer, autumn, winter and spring), so does our body go through similar phases each month.

Women are cyclic beings and when you tune in to the natural cycles of life you strengthen your connection to the divine feminine.
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We kick off with menstruation (when you’re actually bleeding), which falls on approximately days 1 - 6 of your cycle. This is known as your ‘winter’. It’s a yin phase, and just like the winter in nature, this is your time to go inward and ‘hibernate’ if you can. You may feel very low in energy as your body undertakes the mammoth task of releasing the previous cycle through your blood. This is essentially a ‘dying’ phase, as we shed what is no longer serving us before we are reborn again. Unlike 'summer', this phase is all about your relationship with yourself and is a great time for self-reflection, to slow down, switch off social media, to say ‘no thank you’ to invites, turn off your phone and emails, and to rest and recharge. Your hormones are at rock bottom here, so this is the time to really up the self-love and self-care. Journal, rest, don’t set an alarm, connect with Mother Nature by laying belly to belly on the earth, eat hearty and warming slow-cooked foods, sip herbal tea, read, use heat packs and up your magnesium — especially in the first two days. If you work for yourself, give yourself permission to take those first two days off if you can. If you work for someone else, why not Open Wide and lovingly express to your boss how you feel on your first day and ask if you can work from home that day? There are many progressive companies who are now allowing women to do this, and if you don't ask you’ll never know. Tell your partner, friends and kids you are in your ‘winter’ so they know to give you a little more space and to be a little gentler with you. Maybe your partner or roommate can cook for you one night, or they could go out so you can have a bath and relish your alone time.

I used to hate bleeding and considered it a massive inconvenience to my social calendar because I couldn’t go full steam ahead and it got in the way of my masculine tendencies. I now love the 'winter' phase. I allow myself to stay in bed on my first day. I go inward, grab my heat pack, and journal. I use reusable organic cotton red moon pads or a juju cup. (I rarely use tampons, as not only are most full of toxic chemicals, but they can limit our natural flow and connection with our cycle, and I believe we are meant to be letting the blood flow out, not blocking it in.) I also put my legs up the wall (like in yoga), rest, watch Sex And The City and sip herbal tea. I practice CCC (Crystal Clear Communication) with Nick and Leo, letting them know that I need some space and politely (with love) ask them to honour that. I give myself permission to just be. Your winter is about introspection, which is why it’s important to have some time alone. You become an open source of wisdom as you shed, so it can be an especially powerful time to ask yourself questions like, What needs to be let go of? What needs to be released and purged? And what needs shedding?

After you have fully allowed yourself to rest and you're feeling a little more energy return, you can start to set your intention for the coming month. This is a great time to get clear on what you want to create in the weeks ahead. But don’t go ‘gung ho’ just yet! All you are doing is getting clear and setting intentions for what you want to manifest. The energy and space you hold in your winter will set the intention you carry forth, so make it count. But winter is not a time for doing and go, go, go; it’s a time to be, rest and restore.

What if you have to work and can’t take time for yourself on your first day of your ‘winter’? I understand that you might have to go into work, or you might have five kids, a dog and a husband, so maybe you don’t have the ability to take the whole first day off. BUT... all it takes is a few minutes. Get up before everyone else and simply sit and breathe. Ask your partner to take the kids outside after school so you can do ten minutes of yin yoga or get everyone into bed earlier so you can take a bath. Think creatively here about how you can make it happen, communicate it with your family, and then take action. The weeks we have Leo, I move things around in my calendar so that I make sure self-care is still at the top of my to-do list. If it’s not and I let it slip, I am not a very nice human to be around... and no one deserves that.

Our ‘spring’ phase is approximately days 6 - 13 in your cycle, and it’s when we are pre-ovulatory (or possibly ovulating, if you’re an early ovulator). This is a very yang phase and is the most masculine season. This is the time to take massive action on your dreams and goals. Working out logical problems can feel like a breeze as you re-emerge back out into the world after your 'winter' feeling renewed, fresh and with a ‘spring’ in your step. Your energy is up and you may even feel trim, lean and light. This is the time to get back into your exercise, start new projects, launch your program, try something new and spring clean your house. But remember, this isn’t 'summer' yet — so still be gentle with yourself and don’t go full steam ahead all at once, or you run the risk of driving yourself into the ground. You are coming out of 'winter' — a very gentle yin phase — so be soft with yourself.

Our ‘summer’ (approximately days 14 - 21) is when ovulation and post-ovulation takes place, and you may feel more energised and ready to tackle big tasks and goals. This is a very yang phase and a time we may feel more playful, social and extroverted. The ‘summer’ phase is all about relationships with others, so this is a great time to host dinner parties, give that presentation at work, go on holidays, catch up with your besties, do your workshop and be around others. You may also find you have more energy to exercise, lift heavier weights at the gym, and go the extra mile (literally and figuratively!). You may also be more tolerant and patient, which is great if you have kids.

The next phase is your ‘autumn’ (approximately days 22 - 28), when you are post-ovulation and premenstrual. This is a yin phase and just like the leaves drop off the trees, your hormones drop too. Unlike 'summer' — where we feel social and extroverted and ready to launch big projects into the world — 'autumn' is more about taking stock of what did and didn’t work that month and in your life. It’s about telling the truth, getting real, and letting go of anything that is no longer serving you. You are preparing for your monthly release, so anything you’ve been hiding from can show up. There is a very ‘keep or destroy’ energy in the premenstrual phase, and you can feel less tolerant than in your 'summer'. You may want to say ‘no thank you’ to things that require you to be more extroverted, like a presentation at work, dinner parties, events or birthdays.

Connecting with your own body's natural rhythm is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself and teach your daughters. The divine feminine embraces all of the phases of her cycle and is in awe of the capability of her temple.

Cycle Recap

Winter (menstruation, yin) — Time to reflect on the past month, let go and Open Wide to receiving clarity. Also a great time to start planning, setting goals and intentions for the spring.

Spring (pre-ovulation, yang) —  This season is all about implementation and taking inspired action.

Summer (ovulation, yang) — Time to take serious action and bring your dreams to fruition.

Autumn (post-ovulation / premenstrual, yin) — Time for introspection, to edit and refine. Ask yourself what worked and what is no longer serving you?

Did you find this helpful? If so, please share it with all your sisters and tell me below if you follow your cycle and how you honour yourself in the month?

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