Would you love a sustainable self-care practice, one that you actually followed through on, one that possible even with a bunch of kids running around demanding your constant, undivided attention? What if I told you it all starts with your period?
I don’t know about you, but for me, self-care can feel elusive. I mean, this is probably one of the most intense, never-ending seasons of my life and it requires sustained nourishment and care, not sporadic massage appointments (those are pretty great, too, though!). I love the analogy of motherhood being a marathon, not a sprint.
I came into motherhood an Olympic-level sprinter. I knew how to power through and get stuff done. Guess what happened?
With a lack of marathon skills to balance that out, I crashed and burned. My body, already struggling with postpartum depression and hormonal imbalances decided that it had had enough. Instead of the overwhelming love and connection I had been promised in the motherhood pitch, I was overwhelmed, depleted and honestly, looking for a way out.
Something had to change and my body was sending me signals loud and clear through PMS and overall period craziness. So I started there. I took out my fertility awareness method (FAM) charts and started tracking. I began to see patterns and where I could proactively insert some simple self-care. I gave myself permission to feel like crap AND to work towards feeling better. I stopped beating myself up (mostly) for not being the mother I thought I could be, and started being the one I was, right then.
FAM was a great starting point and gave me some vocabulary for communicating about my experience with my husband and my doctor. I knew I needed to go deeper, however, and by divine feminine intervention I found women who were writing about the energetics of the menstrual cycle, who were exploring the experience of the entire cycle on a much deeper level. I was hooked.
I wasn’t crazy or unpredictable or incapable of following through. No, I was actually just disconnected from the truth of being a woman who experiences natural and necessary hormonal shifts on a daily basis.
Have you ever wondered why you feel like a different person from week to week, maybe even day to day? Let me tell you a secret that’s going to rock your world…
You ARE a different person each day!!!
Over the course of a menstrual cycle, no matter how regular or irregular, a woman experiences 4 distinct hormonal shifts. Now I wish I could tell you that this shift happens in a clean-cut, day such and such, hour such and such way, but like all things feminine, it’s a bit more mysterious than that. I like how Miranda Gray compares it to the rising and retreating tide. That means, for the most part, the shifts happen gradually. When you start to tune into a daily practice of paying attention to your body you’ll begin to feel these shifts when they start, rather than experiencing them only at their peak when they are full force.
Here’s a brief overview of the four phases of the menstrual cycle. I’ve included the lunar phase and season it is associated with, as well as the energetic theme. I’ve found that many of us can connect easier with something outside of ourselves, such as a season, while we’re learning the skill of listening to our bodies:
- Menstruation/new moon/winter/low tide/wise woman/slow down: starts the first day of bleeding. A time for inward focus and restoration.
- Pre-ovulation/waxing moon/spring/rising tide/maiden/sparkle: usually begins anywhere from day 4-7. This is the time most of us feel amazing like anything is possible.
- Ovulation/full moon/summer/high tide/mother/savor: begins around day 12-15. You lose some of the edge of the sparkle phase but you still have good energy. Connecting and doing things for others can feel really good in this phase.
- Pre-menstruation/waning moon/autumn/falling tide/enchantress/space: Most women move into this energy about a week before bleeding. It can start with just a nagging feeling, a burst of energy, or slight annoyance with others. Without love and attention, this energy will get bigger and more demanding, manifesting as increasing painful physical symptoms and an overall bad mood. This is a very powerful time where, free from growing a baby, you can put that creative energy towards other projects and dreams. When a woman learns to relate to this energy and to stop apologizing for her power during it, she is unstoppable.
The reason I love the practice of cycle tracking so much for mamas is that I know very few moms that feel like they have a sustainable self-care routine. It can feel overwhelming to think about adding one more thing to your to-do list and let’s face it – sometimes it’s just easier to take care of others and ignore ourselves (in the short-term, anyway) because there will ALWAYS be someone who needs something and you’re probably well-equipped to meet that need.
Paying attention to your body, however, takes seconds. It’s as simple as taking a deep breath. You can do it when there are children running around or while completing another task. Try it and see what your body is telling you. It won’t be long before you’ll find another minute to jot down a few notes about what she’s telling you. You’ll start to see patterns. You might discover that if you take it easy during your post-ovulation phase then you’re able to catch up during your next pre-ovulation phase. You’ll learn that a cup of tea at night is all you need to unwind during your ovulation phase while an extra hour of sleep might be needed during menstruation.
Self-care begins to unfold effortlessly when you learn to listen to your body and live from your true nature.
A note for mamas who are no longer bleed or who have never bled – these phases still apply to you!! While you won’t experience the feedback of the hormonal shifts you still experience the truth of embodied feminine energy. This is includes being tuned into the natural cycles of the earth and moon, as well as the feminine archetypes such as the maiden, the mother, the enchantress and the wise woman. It is your birth right as a person in a female body and you too can benefit from exploring this topic deeper.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’ve got so much more to share with you! Here are some more resources to get you started:
- My Favorite Resources for Cycle Tracking
- Receive a healing energy gift by participating in a Worldwide Womb Blessing/Female Energy Awakening – register here.
- Join my private Facebook group here (make sure to click the “join” button on the page) to gather and connect with other intentional mamas.
- Sign up for my Membership Library at the end of this post to gain instant access to lots of free resources like my Progressive Cycle Tracker and my Summer of YES ebook.
- Register for my Cycle Tracking class. In it, I’ll cover how to track, what to track, what to do if you have an irregular or no cycle, and the energetics of each phase (p.s. for a limited time this class will be FREE for all newsletter subscribers so make sure to fill out the form in sidebar).
In case you skimmed to the bottom, here’s a summary. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint so you need to have a sustainable and realistic self-care practice. Spending a few seconds to a few minutes a day connecting with your body and with the energy of your natural cycles is one of the best ways to do this. Bonus, learn more about the 4 phases/energies that all women embody and you’ll be amazed at how much they inform exactly what you need to care for your divine self.
So much love!