Getting to know YOUR menstrual cycle.
By Monique Dickson.
A long time ago I had an extra moody day, I was extra bossy and unkind, I couldn’t shake it - the next day I bled for the first time. My first bleed was in 2006, I was 13 years old. I was a lucky one - my parents opened a bottle of wine to celebrate my entrance into womanhood - I was celebrated not shamed. This has impacted the rest of my menstrual cycles - just as your menarche (first bleed) has impacted all of your cycles.
This is a great place to start when thinking about how you feel about living in a body that bleeds every month (ish). It may make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or it may make you proud that every month you can bleed and not die! Thinking back to your first bleed and how you felt at this time is a deep insight into how you view yourself when bleeding now. It’s a journey we should all take - and be guided on if you feel called to. Getting to know how your energy fluctuates, your mood changes and your creativity flows throughout the month is something we should all be guided on. Let me walk you through the basics.
On the days we bleed our body is primed to release and rest. Our hormones are at their lowest point of the cycle (see below graph). Our bodies are naturally tired and needing comfort. This is a great time for some radical rest - whatever that looks like for you. In my coaching practice I use the concept from Alexandra Pope and think of it like an inner winter.
Our bodies then slowly start increasing in energy levels - thanks to rising Oestrogen levels. It’s the growing egg follicle that releases this beautiful feel-good hormone oestrogen. You might notice feeling like you want to try new things or plan adventures with friends and family - its oestrogen that makes us want to do this. Ultimately she wants us to get out there and find a mate so we can pro create!
Oestrogen then peaks and starts to slowly decline - which means ovulation has occurred and we are int the midst of our cycle - we are electric! It’s a bit like being superwoman for a week, we can do everything we want with ease and enough energy to power the house!
This is a great time to get things done that require you to be communicative - as communication is much easier at this time in our cycle. It’s a great time to put yourself out there as we are more able to take criticism. It’s also the time when our body wants us to have sex so we can make a baby - we are only mammals after all.
After the ebb and flow of oestrogen its then the hormone of progesterone that takes over - she is the hormone of pro gestation - meaning she wants you to stay pregnant right now (whether you are trying to or not). She requires that you don’t leave the house and you eat everything you can get your hands on! This is all a normal biological response remember. It’s also the time we feel like we need time alone to care and love ourselves - not a great time to go out partying.
We then move into our bleeding time again. A time for rest and slowing down.
It’s a cycle - and it’s predictable every month. But I bet you weren’t taught this at school. Can you imagine if you were?
It’s all very good to know what an ‘average’ cycle length looks like, but the real value is knowing what YOUR own individual cycle looks like. That is where Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA) comes in. It’s about tracking and noticing what your cycle looks and feels like. It’s more than just tracking what day you are on. It’s deeper than that. It’s free to do and takes less than 5 min. It will provide you with a deep insight into your emotions, energy levels and mental state. With this information you will then be able to align your days to your cycle. Imagine not booking in a boot camp to do when you bleed, or knowing that on day 14 you will want to hang out with friends. It is so life changing.
It’s worth noting that if you struggle with hormonal fluctuations, irregular cycles or no cycles at all - this is a sign that something is not going well inside your hormonal cycle. Please visit your GP or naturopath and get it looked into. Our menstrual cycle isn’t meant to be painful or debilitating for you. The first thing you can do - starting now - is to start tracking your cycle.
How to track? However you want, as long as you actually do it, there is no right and wrong way. In a journal, an app, on your calendar on your notes section on your phone… there are endless ways to do it. Track things like your mental energy levels, what went well for you, what didn’t go so well for you, your emotions, your physical energy and your spiritual feelings.
If you are wanting more information about how to specifically work with YOUR cycle and are ready to start aligning your life with your cycle head to www.theselflovemama.co.nz/download for a FREE starter guide.
Much love to you,
Monique is a holistic life and nutrition coach. She works with women to align their lives and businesses with their cycle in a gentle way. She is also the wife to farmer John and mum to 3 young children with another 1 on the way. If you would like to know more about what she does head to www.theselflovemama.co.nz she is releasing a small video series about the seasons of the cycle soon.