self care when you have your period

“How can I take care of myself when I have my period?” — I get asked this question a lot, which makes me one very happy woman. It’s my belief that our self-care practice must flow and shift with each phase of our menstrual cycle. 

Not only that, but as my mentor Alexandra Pope would say, “how we bleed sets the tone for the cycle”, or in other words, self-care at menstruation is bloody important when it comes to our wellbeing as women.

I love doing my self-care cycle updates on my Instagram stories for you all, but because I tend to be offline as much as possible when I’m bleeding, I rarely get to give you an insight into how I take care of myself at menstruation. The truth is that there’s no right or wrong way to approach this time in your cycle. Honouring yourself with tender self-care practices that feel realistic, doable, and true to you is the most important thing, but I do recognise that practical tips and insights from the period cave are always welcome, so I’ve created this list of things that you could try to tap into the replenishing, intuitive potency of your inner winter.

IMPORTANT: I’m not a fan of the kind of “self-care” that adds a million things to your already lengthy list of to do’s. I’m more about experimentation, gentleness, and space. Feel into what resonates. Leave what does not! And when it comes to menstruation, less is always more.

Okay, here it is, a list of ideas for self care when you have your period: 

  1. Menstruation is the natural time in the cycle for rest, so whatever you can do to settle your nervous system is going to support that. You could take a break (even for just a portion of your bleed) from caffeine, alcohol, social media, refined sugars, high intensity exercise, stressful situations, technology, or any other stimulants.
  2. Use reusable menstrual products such as a silicone menstrual cup, washable pads, or period undies. To me, it feels great to support Mother nature whilst avoiding unnecessary chemicals and costs each month.

  3. Practice yoga nidra. Yoga nidra soothes the nervous system, creating a state of deep rest in the body. I particularly love Dr. Uma Dinsmore-Tuli’s yoga nidras, and am very lucky to have experienced her yoga nidras in the flesh! Here’s a great resource of her free recordings. Burn some palo santo or incense, pop an eye pillow over your eyes, recline back on something lovely like a sheepskin or a pile of cushions, and enjoy. (If this is literally the only thing you take from this list, I’m happy!!)

  4. Use a red pen when journaling to record how you’re feeling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I find that when I rest, I become a channel for clear guidance to come through— particularly after a nap! — so I keep my journal close by to jot these insights down.

  5. Eat warm and clean foods that support the liver and the body’s capacity for healing and renewal at this time. Let your natural detox system do its job by feasting on meals like vegetable and lentil soups, baked roast vegetables with brown rice, porridge with cinnamon and dates, and lashings of high quality fats like avocado and coconut oil. And of course, plenty of nourishing chocolate! These Moon Time chocolates, made here in the UK, are actual heaven.

  6. Pull four oracle cards on the first day of your cycle, one for each upcoming inner season. Write down the guidance in your journal, or in your calendar alongside the appropriate dates.
     
  7. Connect to your heart. Chinese medicine tells us that our heart and uterus are connected through a channel called the Uterus Vessel and they are both connected through our blood and emotions. Where the heart pumps blood, the uterus stores it, and we feel deep emotion in our heart and womb. Nurturing this connection during your Winter phase is a profound way to connect with your intuition, your body and The Feminine. In my online course FLOW, we do a heart, womb and third eye meditation on day 3 of the cycle. You can try this for yourself in meditation by visualising the breath moving up and down these three power points on every inhale and exhale.
  8.  Connect with the water element. The element for menstruation is water, the most yin of all the elements, and this phase of menstruation is certainly the most yin of all the phases of the cycle — it’s a very slow, reflective time! Are there areas of your life where you could be more flexible and flowing like water, or really prioritise time to tap into your intuition in this phase of your cycle? Connecting to the water element might simply mean having a cleansing salty bath and eating fresh, organic food when you’re bleeding to promote purification.
  9. Buy yourself some flowers as you begin to bleed. My pick would be roses!

  10. Speaking of roses, I literally crave rose everything when I’m bleeding: rose essential oil, rose flavoured chocolates, rose incense, rose quartz in my bra, rose petals in the bath…
     —self care when you have your period
  11. Embrace the colour red! I have red Egyptian cotton bedlinen that I use when I’m bleeding, a long red skirt I like to wear, a red Nepalese throw that I wrap myself in, and I’ll sometimes paint my nails red or wear red lipstick to ritualise this time. You could light a red candle, wear a red flower in your hair, or pop a red crystal in your bra.

  12. On the topic of adornment, you might even choose for yourself a necklace, ring, bracelet, underwear, or shawl that you wear when you’re bleeding to honour and celebrate yourself.

  13. Explore the sacred world of tarot. I love using tarot in all areas of my life; as a journaling prompt, as a tool to unravel how I’m feeling, even as a trusted guide and mirror when making business decisions! Tarot asks us to slow down, sink into the subconscious, and be really honest with ourselves — the cards don’t mess around! This makes it the perfect time in the cycle to do a spread or two, try pulling one or two cards each morning, and begin to learn their sacred system.

  14. Record your dreams. Studies have shown that our dreams can become more vivid in the pre-menstrual phase of the cycle, and I personally find this extends right into menstruation. My dreams are wild when I’m bleeding! I trust the messages that come through in my dreams, and I’ve found that recording these insights has been helpful in navigating ‘real world stuff’ over the past couple of years. I love that our dreams are doing the healing work while we’re sleeping! So efficient! :p Also, I have erotic dreams on day 3 of my cycle, every month, without fail. Always fun to record those 😉

  15. Spend time in nature. I find this one much trickier living in London, as the last thing I feel like doing when I’m bleeding is trekking over to Hampstead Heath, but even just bare feet on a patch of grass feels like medicine at this time. In September this year I was blessed with a few days on the coast of Cornwall as I bled, and being by the ocean as I rested was divine. I’d personally love more of this!
  16. Indulge in the teachings of the menstrual cycle. I can personally recommend my eBook and audiobook Adore Your Cycle (listening to the audio is particularly lovely when bleeding), or Wild Power by my mentors Alexandra and Sjanie.
  17. Connect with your inner Crone. Menstruation, being both the beginning and end of the cycle, is connected to our inner Crone; the wise, all-knowing, experienced figure within. When I’m bleeding, I have such a sense of authority and grounded wisdom — I feel my Crone strongly!  A great question to journal on is: what advice would my 85 year old self have for me right now? What wisdom does your inner Crone have for you?
  18. Ask for support. The more I venture into the menstruality rabbit hole, the more I realise that we’re really not meant to do this alone. We don’t live in a society that supports cyclic living, but we can begin to create these support systems for ourselves. How could your partner, friends, children, or colleagues support you at this time? A friend of mine is a mother of two young girls, and she has an agreement with her husband where he works for shorter hours on the days she’s bleeding so that she has some time alone. They have their cleaner on a cyclic rotation too! If you had a few local women pals on board, you create a food drop off system, orchestrate school pick ups around the cycle, or create a massage / healing / cooking dinner agreement with a girlfriend to gift to each other when the other is bleeding.
  19. Dance! Slow and sensual, eyes closed, heart open = my favourite kind of movement at this time. Here’s my inner Winter Spotify playlist to inspire you.
  20. But the most important self-care practice of all when you’re bleeding is to say ‘yes’ to yourself. This will mean a million different things to each of us: what does it mean to you?

Want more cyclic love? My online course FLOW is running again in January 2018 and if you’d like a reminder when enrolments open, click here. My Cycle Love Retreat is happening in Daylesford, Australia in May 2018 (I’d love for you to be apart of it!) and if you’d like more intimate support, I am now taking bookings in my coaching calendar for 2018; you can always email me for more details or book directly here.

Tell me in the comments, how do you LOVE taking care of yourself when you’re bleeding? What might you try from this list? And if you know someone who’d benefit from a few tips in this post, do share it with them! 🙂 

 

I’d love to send you some love.

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