At my partner’s workplace, there is an additional 11 days worth of leave a year given to their female employees, in light of their menstrual cycle and need for rest in that time. How incredible is that?! (Not sure why the 12th month gets left out, but there we go!)
This is AWESOME. This tells me that we are waking up to the fact that our cycles are to be nurtured, cherished and worshipped! That women are indeed created differently to men. (Different: not better, not worse, different.) Women are cyclical, our energy changes and moves like the seasons, and that is something to celebrate and acknowledge.
Since I ‘got my period back’ over two years ago now, I’ve gradually gotten into the practice of taking the first 1-2 days of my moon time / Winter / bleed / period (whatever you like to call it) off ALL work. I’ve spoken about that before briefly over here. No clients. No meetings. No computer time. No social media (OK, I’m working on that last one!) No social occasions. Not much of anything, really.
I spend this day (or two) on the couch, napping, reading, meditating, journalling, eating, chilling… Whatever I feel like doing, which again, isn’t a lot. I’m so tired at this time! I need to rest and sleep and sometimes, my periods are quite painful, so there’s usually a heat pack (sometimes in the form of a dog – see above picture!) and a big pot of tea nearby.
Because you know, a lot is happening in this time. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, things are shifting and releasing, transforming and letting go. It’s actually an incredibly magic time with capacity for heightened intuition and clarity (it’s the only time of the month I find meditation ‘easy’ – I am totally going to take advantage of that), but for a lot of women (myself included), it can also be a very painful and emotional time.
I realise that I am in a very blessed position that being self-employed, I can structure my month to allow for this time off. I also know that two weeks later, when I’m ovulating, I’m going to be ALL SYSTEMS GO as Productivity and Motivation saunter into the party, shaking their arse all sexy-like.
I also know (from experience) that when I don’t STOP and REST in this time, I pay for it later in the month with mood swings, low energy and resentment. But when I do take time out for myself to just BE, my energy levels and emotional health are noticeably improved. Just ask my boyfriend! 😉
Of course, important things like family commitments, being a Mum and having a job (particularly if you don’t happen to work somewhere with extra leave days for women) are all real responsibilities and realities of life.
So what do we do when our body is calling us to rest, but we have a bunch of stuff on our plate? What do we do when we have our period but still need to go to work?
Last week, in my regular Q&A time that I have in my online program, I was asked a fabulous and important question and I thought I would share my response here, with you…
Q: Hey Claire, what is the best way to deal with having to work hard during ‘that time’? Sometimes I can’t choose where I will be or the tasks I need to complete.
A: Hurrah, great question. How do we honour our bodies need for rest during our moon time, when we have responsibilities and external pressure to keep going? Here are some tips:
- Accept that you’re going to continue to continue to work and that you’re making this choice, rather than resenting it. Life happens! I get that! Flow with your decision to finish the tasks that need to be completed. Resistance to that will only create self criticism, resentment and frustration. Be gentle.
- Give yourself an hour if possible, particularly in the first 1 – 3 days of your bleed to simply BE. No phone, just total rest and pampering if you like. For me, being in nature (eg. at the ocean, or lying on the grass under a tree) even for just 15-minutes is a must. Have a bath, journal, breathe, meditate, essentially create a Red Tent scenario: a place in your day, just for YOU. Even if it’s just an hour. More is of course, awesome. 🙂
- Be soft with yourself during the day. Turn your social media off. Say no to any extra requests. Practice deep breathing or gentle womb / lower abdomen massage when you can. Take your hot water bottle with you if you can. Drink lots of warming drinks and nourishing food. Skip the gym. Go to bed ridiculously early.
- Prepare when you can. If you know that your Winter is coming up and you won’t be able to take the first day or so for yourself (I have this same situation coming up this weekend) do what you can in the lead up to really relax.
Go to bed earlier, prepare some cooked food and freeze it so you don’t have to worry about cooking. Ask for help. Make some yummy raw chocolate. Get your journal or heat pack out, ready for your Red Tent ‘hour’ when it comes. This also means communicating to your partner and children that you won’t be as ‘available’ for a few days, and asking for more help and support around the house in this time.
- Create some rituals around having your period. I have a red, flowy skirt that I always wear in this time and I burn sage in the house on the first day of my bleed. You could pull four oracle cards for each of your upcoming seasons in your cycle (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn) to refer back to over the month or light a specific candle to honour this time. Slowing down by listening to meditation music like Meditones or yoga nidra (google on YouTube) is my favourite way to sink into bliss.
Maybe there’s a creative project that you only work on in this time, like some writing or a painting or specific music that you listen to. I write in my diary with a red pen when I have my period and make time every day to journal. If you have the option and desire, you might even sleep away from your partner in another room for the first night.
At the end of the day, it is all about honouring and celebrating this time, your body and your freaking amazing life as a woman. Experiment with a few ideas and let me know how you find them! I’m sharing all of this stuff and MORE in my upcoming workshops in Australia. Come play!
Now I’d love to hear from you: how do you honour your monthly flow? And please, share this one with your favourite ladies (and dudes!) 🙂