PERIODS; BLESSING OR CURSE?
Seasons change and as they do fashions, food and our behaviour shifts. As Winter turns to Spring we swop our welly-boots for pumps. As Spring turns to Summer, our pumps are swopped for flip flops. And then we move into Autumn and wham – boots are back in style!
It would seem mad to ignore the turning of the seasons as we move through the year … and yet there’s an equally powerful cycle that is often overridden in modern culture. This cycle impacts half of the population for most of their adult lives, yet is frequently ignored and often loathed.
Have you guessed yet? That’s right – the female menstrual cycle (aka. the Curse).
Whether it’s debilitating pain or pre-menstrual tension, focusing on the negatives of your period is easy. But what if your menstrual cycle was more than inconvenient periods and PMS? What if tuning in to the natural rhythms of your body allowed you to find a new flow in your school, social and creative life? What if your menstrual cycle was – in fact – a blessing?
Women are cyclic beings – this is a biological fact. Every twenty-eight days our bodies move through a rhythmic dance between hormones, phases and stages. Amazingly, the stages that we move through during the menstrual cycle mirror the seasons of the annual year. Each of our “inner seasons” has its own unique set of gifts and magic that, if tapped into correctly, can become a blessing that allows a woman to maximise each area of her life.
Here’s how it works:
Inner Spring (days 7 -13)
During the Follicular stage of the menstrual cycle, oestrogen increases as bleeding ends. Our energy and zest for life begin to lift, making this a great time to start new projects, get creative, start hitting the gym again, learn new things and meet new people. Because testosterone increases in the last few days of our inner Spring (as our bodies prepare for ovulation), this gives us an even bigger boost in strength and motivation, fuelling us with extra drive for positive action.
Inner Summer (days 14 – 21)
Whether you’re planning or not, the Ovulatory phase means our bodies want to make babies. For this reason, our life-giving, creative energy is cranked up. Pumped up on happy hormones, we are strong and creative. This is THE phase to bring projects to fruition and ideas to life in the external world. Verbal skills will be razor-sharp so it’s a great time to see people, have conversations, do performances and bring our full expression to the world.
Inner Autumn (days 22 – 28)
The Luteal phase of the menstrual cycle tends to have a bad rep. Now our body is 100% positive that we aren’t making babies, oestrogen and progesterone plunge, the corpus luteum (the matured egg) dies and the uterus lining disintegrates in preparation for menstruation. This drop in hormones (particularly after our wild Inner Summer of love) can have us feel emotional, tired and restless. Our tolerance for annoying situations and people crashes. Every irritating thing we’ve previously glossed over becomes glaringly obvious and we’re not afraid to assert ourselves about it. Many women experience this “truth phase” as painful and sometimes irrational, but honoured for what it is, the pre-menstrual stage can serve as a powerful “life edit” tool, helping to clean up areas of our wellness and relationships that aren’t working for us. Because of your sharpened eye for detail, this is also a great time to do written projects, clear out your bedroom and get all those loose ends tied up.
Inner Winter (days 1-7)
The Menstruation phase marks the very beginning of the new cycle. Our uterine lining (now disintegrated) is being released. Hormones are at rock bottom, the lowest levels we experience for the entirety of our monthly cycle.
During Winter months in the annual year, humans tend to retreat, hibernate and get cosy. Exactly the same is required of women during the menstruation phase of their cycle. Use this time to refuel yourself, find time to relax, create space to read a book and practice gentle self-care.
We live and work in a busy modern world where the emphasis is on productivity, performance, goal-achievement and being everything to everyone. Whether chronic or adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalance, or just the feeling of being ‘burnt out’, this constant busyness can begin to take its toll on our bodies. And this is why our cyclic nature is such a blessing. If we can start to chart our cycles and get in touch with our natural rhythms, every month we have the chance to go out and take the world by storm – then slow down, press pause and retreat within to reignite our energy before our inner seasons once again begin to turn.