We are living through a challenging moment in time. The world we inhabited 14 short days ago has changed in ways none of us could have predicted. Our brains and hearts are processing vast and deep uncertainty and loss. All feelings are appropriate right now, including feelings of fear, grief, sadness or anger, or noticing you feel absolutely exhausted by daily life. This is all normal.
And yet, this strange global pause may also offer you moments of unexpected gratitude, feelings of possibility and hope and a sense of connectedness to others. It’s very possible you’re riding the spectrum of emotion everyday! So much change and flux, ebb and flow… how wonderful for us then that we’ve essentially been training for this moment in time via our menstrual cycle awareness practice!
Over the last week I’ve had messages from women sharing that their MCA practice is helping them feel grounded, connected and sane. Daily cycle check-ins have transformed into a moment of peace and calm, sacred self-connection, and strengthened inner resolve.
Emily shared, ‘Starting my period acted as a signal that I am alive, I am connected to the earth, to my ancestors, all other menstruating beings. It was a relief and a reminder that things are OK, even when they’re not.
Christina shared that her cycle and body have been telling her loud and clear to slow down and rest as much as possible. Katy is enjoying the permission slip to bleed without having to see anyone. Krystal feels like she’s living in an extended inner autumn which is her most challenging phase, so is implementing her pre-menstrual self-care strategies every day.
Jen felt more anxious than usual in her inner winter and so used her charting practice to observe these changes. Jacinta noticed a reduction in her pre-menstrual symptoms as life has been slower for her household the past two weeks, even with two kids at home. Ali noticed her cycle was longer than usual due to delayed ovulation, a common side effect of stress.
Em said, ‘This time of fear and loss causes me to disassociate from my body and my cycle is helping me to drop in, come home, and connect to my inner wisdom and truth.’
Lili performed a letting go ceremony as she bled because she was experiencing more grief and sadness than usual. Katie felt overwhelmed by having to be at home all day with her partner as she bled, as he can usually give her the space she craves. But on the other side of menstruation? ‘It felt sooo good. Like I was releasing all that I was holding, in my family for myself and for mama earth… like so many tears and so much healing.’
I personally FEEL you all so strongly right now!
And as I bled over the weekend, I too experienced more sadness, grief, physical pain and darkness than usual. I switched off the news, let go of personal expectations, released big time and felt it all. When I poured my blood onto my garden this cycle it felt extra potent. I felt calm and clear on the natural cycles of death and rebirth at play in our world right now.
On the other side (I’m cycle day 8 here today) I feel light and free, like I’ve pushed the biggest RESET button on the planet.
Friends, we KNOW how to navigate these times.
As we’ve become skilled in the language of menstruality we’ve been reconnecting within, learning to listen to the wisdom of the body, caring for our physical, mental and emotional health and anchoring into our spiritual selves through menstrual cycle awareness. We’ve been prioritising self-time and rest, skilfully managing stress and overwhelm, setting boundaries, trusting ourselves, expressing our sacred creativity and solidifying our self-authority.
And from this place of mindful self-knowing, we’ve learned how to nourish our relationships, how to connect authentically, work sustainably and serve our communities generously. These are our SUPERPOWERS and it’s time to implement everything we’ve been practicing.
I love that you can feel it too.
What I want to offer you here today is a practical guide on how you can anchor into your menstrual cycle awareness practice to support you over the coming days, weeks and months.
As we all take this pandemic day by day, I hope this guide will offer suggestions that you can hold onto like a handrail, bringing you home to a place of safety and sanctuary within your own body. If you’re brand new to this work, I suggest downloading my eBook and audiobook bundle Adore Your Cycle which will give you the 101 on your cycle and also signing up for my free resources here.
Remember: we are all experiencing this moment in time differently. Some things I suggest won’t be relevant to you and I know you’ll be able to discern what they are. Everyone’s cycles are different too, so again, take what works for you and trust your own inner wisdom above all else. I am empowering YOU to translate this guide into what works best for your cycle and your life circumstances.
Our brains are currently digesting enormous amounts of information in stress-response mode — not exactly the kind of conditions conducive to in-depth learning. Personally, I’m finding any kind of focus, even reading, to be a challenge. So if you’d prefer to LISTEN, you can do so right here.
Let’s dive in!
Here are the S’s that are going to support you in this time:
- START — your guiding word for the pre-ovulatory phase / inner spring of your cycle.
- SERVE — your guiding word for the ovulatory phase / inner summer of your cycle.
- SLOW (& SOOTHE) — your guiding word(s) for the pre-menstrual phase / inner autumn of your cycle.
- SURRENDER — your guiding word for the menstrual phase / inner winter of your cycle.
Let’s explore these together now…
The inner spring is the phase of your menstrual cycle to…
START your self-care practice
What are the non-negotiables that you need to be doing right now to take care of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health?
As you cross into your inner spring, notice if you get swept up and away in pre-ovulatory energy. Remember to anchor in and cherish yourself with simple but powerful self-care, perhaps setting yourself up with a routine and some structure for the phases to come.
My suggestion is to start with preparing healthy home-cooked meals, drinking enough water, getting 8 hours of sleep and moving your body daily. And of course, starting your daily cycle check-ins and charting practice if that’s slipped. From there, consider something mindful or reflective, like meditation or journaling.
Honestly, that’s enough. But if you know there’s something else you really need to feel like yourself (for me, it’s dance), please add that in.
START taking action on your priorities
And I mean that: PRIORITIES. What are the absolute essentials (no more than 5 things, ideally 3 or less) that feel most important to you this cycle?
Many of us aren’t running at 100% capacity at the moment, so if that’s you, be honest with yourself about what you can expect to create, achieve and get done this cycle. If you want to get into the DIY scene while spending more time at home, this is a great time to start a new project.
Same idea for implementing a schedule at home (this could be a great time to get a homeschooling system set up), learning something new, reading, studying and engaging in more cerebral ideas.
It’s perfectly okay if you have one or two priorities and that’s all. Less is more. Consider creating a vision board now to stay focused on what’s most important.
Spring journaling practice:
Write down your priorities for this cycle (remember, no more than 5 things, ideally 3 or less) and then write down the 3 action steps you need to take next for each priority. Plan when you’ll take these steps by scheduling them into your calendar over this cycle. Start there with step one and be very discerning where you direct your energy in this phase.
The inner summer is the phase of your menstrual cycle to…
SERVE your friends, family & community
Relationships are front and centre right now, whether we’re unable to see friends and family or spending more time than ever with them (probably both).
How do you want to show up for your friends and family right now? Who do you want to be for them in this moment? Ovulation is where we can step up and serve.
This could be preparing meals for friends who are unwell and leaving on their doorstep, it could be quietly holding space for your daughter to safely share how she’s feeling, it could be video calling your parents once a week, having virtual knock off drinks with friends, walking your elderly neighbour’s dog or pre-cooking essentials to keep stashed in your freezer for the weeks to come.
You could consider buying vouchers or donating money to local businesses, volunteering your time, energy or money to local charities or grassroots community initiatives or using this time to send your favourite cafe or yoga studio messages of encouragement and solidarity.
If you serve an online community, how can you show up for them? If you feel inspired to adapt and create something new for them – a product, resource, service – now’s the time to deliver this.
Remember, even Superwoman has her limits at the best of times. And these are not the best of times. Your resources are not infinite. You must give back to yourself.
This is a great phase to get your body moving and sweat with an online high impact training class, lots of passionate sex and self pleasure and enjoy the natural positivity and resilience that often accompanies ovulation. And hey, that natural positivity and resilience may not show up at ovulation for the next few cycles, and that’s cool too. Just chart the changes and adapt your self-care accordingly.
It’s totally possible your libido has dropped off (thanks stress response), so there’s no need to force sex or an orgasm if it’s not there; just check in and see how your body is feeling. Building pleasure levels in the body without pressure to climax is wonderfully healing in itself.
Please also remember that a quality of the inner summer is PLEASURE. As many freedoms we’ve naturally taken for granted fall away, the most simple of pleasures will feel like luxuries. Whether that’s your morning walk outside, cooking pasta with a loved one, enjoying the strange quiet of the mornings to meditate… you have full permission to enjoy these moments of bliss when they come — and they will come!
Summer journaling practice: Write a gratitude list. Sitting right alongside all of the sadness, strangeness and suffering, is a great deal to be grateful for. Write down 10 things that you’re grateful to have, be, do or experience. Come back to this list when you need some TLC.
SLOW & SOOTHE
This is the phase of your menstrual cycle to…
SLOW everything down
The pre-menstruum is already a sensitive time for many. Elevated levels of stress at any point in the menstrual cycle can cause an increase in pre-menstrual symptoms, so be mindful that this week could be more tender than usual.
The truth is we’re sort of living through a giant macrocosm of an inner autumn right now. Change, darkness, uncertainty — the classic pre-menstrual ingredients. As practiced menstrual cycle mavens, we know that richness and possibility thrive within these realms. I believe the best way to access the gifts of this strange moment is to slowwwww down.
We’ve all been asking for a pause, a break, a reset: and now here it is. Use the shifting energy of your inner autumn to remember that wisdom and begin to shift gears down.
The immune system is also slightly suppressed in the luteal phase (from ovulation onwards, the second half of your cycle), which makes managing stress even more important than usual. When we’re stressed, the immune system ability to do its job is reduced. Be extra careful when washing your hands, stay home stay home stay home, eat lots of vegetables, and be kind to your body.
You might also need to delete social media apps in your inner autumn, be less available for unnecessary Zoom work calls, take time every morning to breathe and stretch, have a long bath, ask for help around the house, take the pressure off homeschooling goals, switch off the news, get to bed earlier, put your bare feet on the earth, set firm boundaries with others in your household or light a few candles and stream a yoga or meditation class in your lounge room.
As we process what is going on within ourselves, our families, workplaces, wider community and certainly globally, we’re all going to need to learn how to self-soothe.
If you’ve been working with your cycle for some time, it’s likely you have some self-soothing practices up your sleeve to find your calm when life feels stressful. Now is the time to implement these!
What works to soothe one person won’t necessarily work for the next, but here are some ideas to get you started…
- Curl into a ball and give yourself a big hug.
- Identify where you’re feeling tensed or fearful (maybe in your chest or belly?) and place your hand over that part of your body, taking a few deep and slow breaths.
- Moving your body — dancing, shaking, walking, yoga, jogging, swimming, boxing!
- Minimising technology, news, screens and lights in your house.
- Making a herbal tea and drinking it mindfully, doing nothing else for those few minutes.
- Self-massage. Using body oils to massage arms, belly, legs, breasts, back…
- Listening to a guided meditation or yoga nidra.
- Burning essential oils.
- Journaling how you’re feeling, daily if you can.
Autumn journaling practice: Set a timer for 10-minutes, open your journal and just WRITE. Scribble, scrawl, emotions, feelings, frustrations, hopes, everything. No censoring yourself, nothing is too big or to little to write. Don’t stop moving your pen until the timer is up. Don’t re-read. Close journal and as you do so, let it all go.
This is the phase of your menstrual cycle to…
SURRENDER to your bleed
If there’s one thing you take from this guide, please let it be this: Let go, let go, let go. Globally, we are all being asked to SURRENDER right now and luckily for those of us with periods, menstruation is the natural point in our cycles for us to do this. We are literally supported by the body to stop, rest, release and let go. And don’t we all need some extra releasing at the moment?
Maybe being home alone without a commute to work will give you a rare opportunity to rest on your period in ways you aren’t usually able to. Maybe the increasing need for release and a break from external noise will encourage you to fully switch off and drop in. Maybe you feel called to meditate, use your blood in ritual and connect to your spiritual centre. Maybe you just want to watch Netflix all day, that’s cool too.
Whatever your next period looks like for you, I say take this moment of global pause to drop expectations of yourself and reconnect to an ancient wisdom that transcends this pandemic and the accompanying fear and panic. Cry. Grieve. Bleed. Release. Let go. Surrender. Heal. Set intentions for yourself and the next cycle, set intentions for the collective, for all of us.
We NEED you to be rested, replenished and plugged in to a higher power right now. You have permission to let go.
SURRENDER to your current circumstance
Of course, taking it easy at menstruation won’t be possible for all of us, particularly healthcare and essential industry workers and those homeschooling. I see you and hear you. Being at home with partners and family might make it incredibly difficult to BE in the way you’d most like to.
You might also notice that your period is more painful, heavier, lighter, contains clots or is just different from usual. You may notice that there’s more anxiety or grief present. That’s completely understandable too. Chart these changes (this kind of feedback from the body is pure gold) and take extra care of yourself, even just an extra 10%. Reach out for support if you need it.
I find the word SURRENDER to be a terrific anchor point when my circumstances don’t allow me to nourish myself how I’d like to when I have my period. Try it: what does surrender look and feel like for you today? Ask yourself that question, breathe into it, and follow the guidance that arises.
This is a time to trust ourselves, to listen to our bodies, to deeply nourish and prioritise our health — and practicing the art of surrender as you bleed is the perfect way to strengthen these qualities within.
I hope you’ve been able to take something from this guide and I am positive that you will have something to contribute. Please come over to Instagram and let me know what resonates with you and how your cycle awareness practice is holding you in this moment. As always, you’re welcome to share this with anyone who you think will benefit.
I’m here for you and happy to answer your questions below or on the ‘gram.
Sending so much love,
Ps. If this all feels like too much, just remember the S’s: START, SERVE, SLOW & SOOTHE, SURRENDER. Start there, one day at a time, and see where they take you.