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Honor Your Cycle

May 18, 2021 11 min read

The whole inspiration for this blog topic came from the realization that… we cannot compare ourselves to others - especially when they are in another phase of their menstrual cycle than us!

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Comparison is such a sad path to low confidence anyways, but throw hormones into the mix & we’ve got a whole mess of inadequate feelings. I was in my Luteal phase feeling sorry for myself, because I wasn’t expressing such exuberance as someone in their Ovulatory phase… Then I knew I had to remember more about the menstrual cycle as a WHOLE… & implement compassion towards myself.

Learning about your moon or menstrual cycle can be one of the most liberating insights. This cycle affects our lives in such an intimate way & it is often very underestimated (as well as hormone function). Not all of our bodies function the same or as expected, but getting in tune with the natural, monthly cycle of your body is how you can connect deeply to the magic of cyclical living. The patriarchal, capitalistic society we live in encourages constant productivity. This is a very unnatural way of being & is very detrimental to our physical & mental health. We expect an unattainable amount of productivity in our lives & often forget our true nature. As women, we have been so disempowered by the disconnect from our menstrual cycle. Most have been shamed away from honoring their cycle. Let’s regain the magical powers of our bleeding time by learning how to honor our own cycles!

The mainstream world we live in doesn’t really create space for us to fully experience our menstrual cycle in all of its entirety. If your life doesn’t allow for a complete rest in your menstrual phase, we get it. The intention of this blog is to get you in touch with each phase of your cycle & how to best adapt in your own life. Personalize this process for you. If it is not perfectly possible to take off work when you are menstruating, do your best to take a nap & get extra sleep after. If it is not possible to only tend to your own needs, that is okay too. The more you are able to allow rest & honoring of your cycles during the entirety of your month, the easier your cycle will flow for you regardless.

Ways you may have been led to shame about your cycle:

  • Through miseducation or lack of being taught about your cycle in your youth

  • Through a lack of honest communication about the menstrual cycle in your community or with close family members

  • From the embarrassment of leaking onto your clothes

  • From the hidden fears around bleeding at school

  • From the lack of normalizing the menstrual cycle in our society

  • From a lover not having the compassion to support you during your cycle physically, emotionally or mentally

  • From a lover even acting repulsed by your cycle

How to reclaim your cycle:

  • Begin tracking your cycle on a calendar or phone app: dates of bleeding, PMS symptoms, how long your cycle is, etc.

  • Learn about the monthly menstrual phases & how to best adapt to them (mentioned below)

  • Allow yourself to rest more often, you are not a machine (& your inspiration will be more efficient!)

  • Start to align with daily natural cycles by avoiding artificial light at night & rising earlier

  • Avoid growth hormones in chemically processed foods aka eat clean

  • Get out in nature more, she heals us magnificently!

  • Walk or stand barefoot on the Earth

  • Begin to normalize talking about your cycle with others in your life: girlfriends, lovers, mothers, friends, coworkers (not everyone is ready for this level of openness but if we begin to shift what is “normal”, we get to create a more inclusive reality!)

  • Consider using natural methods on your cycle such as reusable pads or a menstrual cup

  • Begin to observe your blood

  • Offer your blood to the Earth

  • Establish compassion for yourself in each phase of the cycle & really work on the bad habit of comparing yourself to others!

  • Embrace the badass babe you are in all of your full uniqueness!

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Nature blooms in seasons. Think of this in relation to your monthly cycle.

Long, long ago, when society had a matriarchal component, women were honored for their inherent gifts of creating life. As a community, they innerstood that what the body goes through every month in preparation for new life is a deep experience. They came together & took turns caring for one another. This dream reality is not too far off, given the wonderful sister circles that gather to strengthen our inherent wisdom of the womb space. We are coming back into our bodies by sharing our hearts.

Phases of Your Cycle

Menstrual Phase

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This begins the first day that you bleed & is the very first day of your cycle. A sacred time of Rest. This is a time when our bodies release our old tissues of the uterus, no longer in service or use. Although, we usually are tempted by carbs & sugar during this week, it is best to see this as a time of cleansing. The body is in a process of clearing out & it helps to lighten the digestive load. Despite the lack of energy & increase in pain during this time, it’s actually helpful to most women if they take a light walk. Walking helps increase the oxygen flow & reduces cramps as well as helping to take the focus off of the pain. This is a time to let go of any expectations & really allow yourself to go inwards. Cancel your plans and obligations, allow yourself to rest & ask your community to help take over any of your needs. May all of your napping desires to be fulfilled!

Affirmations:

“I am allowed to rest, lay here & indulge in the sleep my body needs.” “Thank you, body, for resetting my internal environment, preparing me to start over with fresh energy.” “I am growing through experiencing acceptance.” “Every task I need to do will still be there in a few days & will be done with even better energy than I could offer now.” “This time of rest is rejuvenating my body & soul.” “I am one with Earth’s natural cycles.” “My body is a beautiful creatrix & I honor her.”

Aligned Activities:

Resting, napping, journaling, reflecting, releasing anything you’ve been holding in, binging shows or movies, meditating, singing, crying, enjoying a bath, sending love to your womb by laying your hands over your belly, light walking (in nature = bonus!), yin yoga, aromatherapy for pain relief & relaxation, taking it easyyy & drinking lots of yummy herbal tea.

Foods for this time:

(+ iron & + vitamin C) leafy greens, mustard greens, tofu, beans, legumes, bone broth, veggie broth, soup, stew, red meat, poultry, fish, seaweed, molasses, bell peppers, parsley, citrus, kiwi, strawberries, hydrating fruits, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, herbal teas vs caffeine (caffeine reduces iron absorption & is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that cramps may worsen with caffeine), avoid processed foods as much as possible. Try alternative, healthy versions of your cravings!

What’s happening in your body at this time:

Estrogen & progesterone are at their lowest levels, hence your low energy. The menstrual cycle functions on a negative feedback system. When estrogen & progesterone are low, the hypothalamus produces LHRH, signaling the pituitary gland to release LH (luteinizing hormone) /FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which begins the cycle all over again.

Follicular Phase

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During this time, the body is rebuilding. It’s a time of cleansing & this part of the cycle overlaps menstruation. It begins when the uterine lining sheds & continues until ovulation. It is the growth period of rejuvenation. Your energy may return slowly or quickly during this phase. Remember to not be hard on yourself, if it takes a while longer. Your emotions may still be sensitive. This is usually my “crying” phase when I process heavy emotions & feel lost. I navigate these feelings through reflection & also asking for guidance to trusted energetic beings.

Affirmations:

“I enjoy making healthy decisions to feed my body.” “What feeds my body, feeds my soul.” “I am thankful for every fresh start I receive.” “I can create a fresh start with each new day.” “My body is my soul’s temple & I use my senses with loving awareness.” “I am gentle with myself.” “Although, I may not have all the answers right now, I am proud of how far I’ve come & where I am going.” “I choose to live in alignment with my intentions & goals.” “My sensitivity shows me the areas of my life that I may show more compassion to.” “Everything is in Divine Alignment.”

Aligned Activities:

Envisioning your goals/desires/dreams, making a vision board, journaling in the present tense about your goals/desires/dreams, speaking your intentions out loud, setting an intention for each day when you wake up, plant seeds & make a plan, cardio exercise, running, getting together with close friends, dancing to raise your vibe or release some tension, asking your spirit guides for love & support, learning about your passions, spending time on YouTube diving into your curiosities, diving into podcasts, connecting with nature, making herbal mood boosting teas, & aromatherapy for soothing & compassion.

Foods for this time:

Energy is rising & we want to support that alongside detoxification & gut health. Kale, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, eggs, pecans, flaxseeds, avocado, salads, veggies, artichoke, beets, beans, berries, fish, +B 12, probiotics, fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut. Avoid alcohol. Seek natural energy through adaptogens & rejuvenating tonic herbs.

What’s happening in your body at this time:

The pituitary gland produces LH / FSH to stimulate the follicles into maturing & releasing an ovum (egg) during ovulation. Each follicle contains an immature egg & about 5-20 follicles begin to mature but only 1 will succeed into full maturation of producing an egg (if more follicles mature, we get twins). The maturing follicle produces estrogen while the endometrium (uterus lining) becomes thicker. Basically, as soon as the uterus lining sheds (bleeds), it once again prepares for pregnancy. An increase of LH / FSH leads to a boost in testosterone (+libido) & the release of the egg into the fallopian tube for fertilization.

Ovulatory Phase

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In this phase, you are the most energized! You are probably feeling more social, creative, passionate, driven, inspired to exercise & experiencing a higher libido. I say, run with this. If you have the energy, do all the things while you can! Without inviting burn out, this is the time to follow through with your intentions into action. Just make sure to rejuvenate as much as you exuberate. This is also a great time to prepare for when you will have lowww energy by meal prepping or even just shopping for easy, nutritious foods to eat when your menstruation week hits. Embracing playful energy during this phase will help you to access playfulness through the other phases, & playfulness is a saving grace!

Affirmations:

“I am fueled by inspiration.” “I am focused on creating a fulfilling, passionate life.” “I have the power of discernment to best guide me.” “I love living in alignment!” “Balancing work & play is something I easily tune into.” “I am paid & rewarded for my unique talents.” “My life consists of freedom & abundance.” “I love the essence of my soul.” “I nurture myself through community.” “I am beyond blessed.”

Aligned Activities:

Exercising, dancing, socializing, creating projects, working on your goals/visions/biggest dreams, pursuing artistic desires, engaging in fulfilling sexual/sensual experiences, getting creative in the kitchen, meal prepping, stepping outside of routine to explore new things, going on adventures, camping, & aromatherapy for balanced energy.

Foods for this time:

Lessen carbohydrate intake. Increase fiber rich, anti-inflammatory & antioxidant rich foods such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, coconut, avocado, guava, okra, spinach, turmeric, quinoa, kale, eggs, radishes, whole grains.

What’s happening in your body at this time:

The egg has been released into the fallopian tube for fertilization. The follicle then seals to create the corpus luteum which secretes progesterone & estrogen. The egg is viable for about 24 hrs, yet sperm can live up to 5 days. Ovulation is the shortest stage of our cycle.

Luteal Phase

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This is when your energy shifts from HIGH to variable. PMS symptoms may arise in the form of cramps, headaches, irritability, sensitivity, mood swings, the urge to just cry, fatigue, bloating, digestive disturbances & so on. This is a time to embrace your sensitivities - to give yourself the space or community to feel all that you truly feel. Sometimes when we are feeling sensitive we need space & sometimes we need comfort. Decide what you need at this time & know that this may fluctuate. Tune into your Self to decide.

Affirmations:

“My energy is a naturally occurring fluctuation.” “I am entering a new phase of transition with grace.” “I am tuning in & listening to my body’s needs; what do I need?” “It is okay that my friends socialize without me.” “I am not missing out on anything by retreating.” “I enjoy spending quality, quiet time to myself.” “I am so supported & loved.” “It’s time to enjoy coziness.” “Adaptability is my super power.”

Aligned Activities:

Reading, studying, finish projects, express emotions to your close ones, journal about your life situations & emotions to gain clarity, receive body work, have a spa day, attend a sound bath, listen to soothing music, yoga nidra, meditation, yoga asana, take a relaxing bath, candle gaze, turn your room into a relaxing atmosphere, practicing less sensory stimulation, breast massage, aromatherapy to lift your mood & soothe your soul.

Foods for this time:

Increase your magnesium intake to stabilize your mood & relax muscles (hemp seeds, cacao powder, leafy greens). Prepare for your carb & sugar cravings by inviting yams / sweet potatoes with ghee, cinnamon & a drizzle of maple syrup! Oats with all of your favorite toppings, nutritious breads rather than empty carbs, + fiber (reducing the chance of constipation during your menstruation) with quinoa, flaxseed, kale, berries, avocados, apples, banana, carrots, beets, artichoke, kale, cucumber, spinach, beans, nuts, seeds, protein, turmeric lattes, & dark chocolate. Lessen bloating in preparation for your menstruation by lessening high salt foods, alcohol, dairy, cruciferous veggies & any other foods you are specifically sensitive to.

What’s happening in your body at this time:

When the egg is unfertilized, progesterone & estrogen levels drop. This leads to the PMS symptoms as a result of the drop in hormones. If fertilized, the corpus luteum produces more progesterone, protecting the uterine lining from shedding.

Herbs to Honor your Womb

Shatavari, Rose, Jasmine, Rose, Wild Yam, Dong Quai, Ashwagandha, Vitex (Chaste Berry), Raspberry leaf, Passionflower, Hops flower, Urva Ursi, Burdock, Dandelion root, Gaduchi, Chrysanthemum, Milk Thistle, Parsley, Black Cohosh, Gotu Kola, Vidari Kand, Cramp Bark, Ashok, Fresh Aloe Vera, Mugwort, Nettles, Musta, Asafoetida, Fenugreek, Red Clover, Licorice, Nettles, & Damiana. Of course there are more, but these are some that I have learned about or experienced. It is wonderful to gift yourself the offering of herbal medicine & connect to the plants through out your cycle! My favorite ways to experience these herbs are with teas, infusions & essential oils.

My cramping pain relief hack is to either put a homemade pain relief salve, clary sage essential oil, or castor oil on my womb space. Then I put a hot water bottle or heating pad on & my pains melt away…

These herbs listed are commonly used for different needs of the female reproductive system. All herbs mentioned should be researched before exploring or asked about to an herbal professional who knows about your specific menstrual state. Explore with caution & love.

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Why do we need to learn how to rest?

The only things that are in constant production mode are machines & cancer cells. As we continue to deny our bodies a phase of rest, we open our pathways to disease & mental ailments. When we adopt a constant productivity mindset, we aren’t accepting ourselves in full spectrum. Just as the earth goes through seasons, we too, go through cycles, phases & seasons. Life is meant to be enjoyed in the most extravagant & the most simplest of moments. Full spectrum.

Tatiana Beatriz
Tatiana Beatriz



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