Prepare for a Pampered Period
There are actually four phases of our moon cycle, or menstrual cycle, each month, and if you’re not using hormonal birth control, you probably are aware of some of them. Each phase can affect our mood, energy, libido, appetite, and metabolism, as well as our focus and mental energy. Here is some advice for navigating your month holistically and practically so you can feel your best and know what to expect.
The week of your period:
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar completely. These things may exacerbate your period symptoms like bloating, headaches and fatigue.
Eat as cleanly as you can. Cravings attract more cravings, so by eating cleanly you'll allow your body to naturally detox during this week and you'll feel so much better without eating heavy meats and dairy or fried and salty foods.
Be ok with resting and relaxing, if you need it. Don't feel like you need to push through. Our bodies and hormones are changing every few days. It's ok to take a few days to just tune in and chill out.
Consider clearing your schedule ahead of time where you can. If you anticipate that this week will be harder for you to focus, work on creative projects or feel super social, own it. Missing sleep, eating out or drinking are only going to make things worse, so use this week as a monthly recharge opportunity.
The week after your period (Follicular):
Expect to feel a lift in your mood and energy levels. This is a great time try a new workout class or social get together. You may feel like your creative flow is coming back, you're wanting a little more romantic time or to get out with friends. Be creative and use this time to brainstorm new projects at home or at work (even consider scheduling presentations or pitches around this time or during ovulation rather than right before your cycle starts). Start to plant the seeds for what you want to attract more of in your life (a great place to start journaling). To support consistent, healthy energy and moods, continue feeding your body with healthy foods and sticking to exercise routine that you actually enjoy.
The week you're ovulating:
Many women, when they're actually paying attention, will note that this is the time of the month that they "feel their best." Your sexual desire may be peaking, your skin will be clearer and you might even be feeling more confident in your walk, social circle or at work. Manifest those "seeds" you were manifesting last week. Ask for what you want and make it happen. This is when your hormones are starting to peak. You may or may not notice a change in your discharge or experience a cramping (different from that of menstrual cramps) while you’re ovulating. Once your hormones shift (about 3-5 days in), you may start to feel less energetic and possibly a little “down” as you head back into your luteal phase (right before your period). Physical and emotional self-care, as well as balanced, nourishing eating, will support your mind and body during this time.
The week before your period (Luteal):
Pay attention to your needs, your mood, and how you're taking care of yourself. This week will have an impact on how symptomatic your period will be.
Anticipate a change in focus, patience, and energy. This may look different for everyone but could be a pattern in your life you were unaware of.
Prioritize eating nutrient-rich foods (berries, sweet potatoes, lean meats, salads, vegetable-based soups, green tea) and really start to pull back on caffeine, alcohol, sugar and fried foods. It matters.
If you're looking for extra support, you can add in supplements like Evening Primrose Oil, herbs like Shatavari and a natural iron supplement.
If you're noticing that more often than not, your hormones just feel "off," or you are experiencing symptoms that sound like they are related to your hormonal shifts, there are a lot of ways to improve how you feel without going on the pill. Western medicine has made this sort of a fix-all and it's really not necessary. Get your body in a rhythm with healthy eating, workouts, downtime, and sleep. Waiting until chronic health conditions creep up or until you get sick is not the goal, so be proactive and take your health into your own hands. Contact me if you have further questions about implementing more long-term changes in your health and life (and feel more balanced).