Being Gentle With Yourself During Your Flow
I'm sure you know our moon time is our sacred time. And if not, then I'm here to remind you. I’d love to share some things I find helpful and suggest to my clients to help remember that our menstrual cycle is something powerful and amazing and we deepen the connection to ourself when we honour our time of bleeding.
Our period is the quintessential feminine essence. It is not a burden, an inconvenience or something dirty to be hushed about and not spoken of. This is a beautiful time when our body is speaking to us, and it is important to listen and be very gentle with ourselves during the days that we bleed. Once we get more aquainted with whats happening down there we can actually utilise this time to empower us and deepen our connection even further. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Another thing to remember is that without the menstrual cycle none of us would be here, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be able to read this. It is literally creation, transformation and connection.
So, what to do to get the most out of your flow and embrace this time to lovingly nurture yourself….
Record. Record. Record.
It is so important to write down anything you notice or experience before, during or after your flow. As well as during your cycle like around the middle when you may or may not be ovulating. The colour of your blood, if it changes shades, the consistency, if you notice clots, if you experience any symptoms like bloating, mood changes, skin changes. This all means something and the best way to work out what your body is telling you is to start recording in detail. There is no need to analyse, just observe for now. I call it 'collecting data'. There’ll be much more on this through my menstrual workshops where I dive deep to talk about the things we were never told about menstruation and our bodies.
This is your time.
Especially the first day (and second) it is time for YOU. And it is up to you to make an effort for yourself. Change plans and opt to have the day as free as possible to do whatever your heart desires – whenever. Get your partner, friends, parents, grandparents to mind the kids – even if its just for a few hours. If you need to work that particular day spend the hours before and after for you. Talk to your partner and kids and explain how important this is for you and therefore the family. Do whatever feels good – create, sing, move gently, cook, sleep, read.
Write things down.
You can utilise the same book or notes on your phone where you record for your period. I do suggest writing thoughts and feelings on paper though. This is a very powerful way to change the form of something. On paper things become a physical form and this means those thoughts and feelings can move from within us to our outer space. Don’t hold back or aim to make it sound poetic. Let the words just flow – you will find you have much more to write than you think.
This is a time to be super gentle. Aim for gentle walks or stretches, a gentle yoga flow or ideally a yin form of yoga. A moving meditation with your eyes closed is so magical and will help ease any physical discomfort you may experience – especially on the first day of bleeding and help you move within to connect deeper with yourself. Listen to what feels good and right, whatever that may be. I talk about things to avoid and why in my other blog - including strong exercise!
Feel the Feels.
If you tend to turn into a "crazy woman" or get "dark or down" before or during your flow there is plenty that can help that. I treat this a lot in clinic and until I write more about it you can contact me and I can give you some pointers. Regardless what emotions come up, let them. This is a time of releasing. Literally blood is moving out of your body through your sacred womb space. Use this time for healing and moving through any thing that is no longer serving you. Utilise this time for letting go of any emotions and thoughts which are not aligning with where you want to go and who you want to be, (you can write about this, then rip the notes and burn them for an even stronger cleansing ritual – its amazingly powerful!).
Our menstrual flow is a time to celebrate what it means to be a woman in this modern world, to acknowledge how amazing we are and the gift we can bring into the world through not just our womb but our compassionate, huge hearts and determination. Remembering where we have come from, the many women before us and our own personal journey that has led us to this very moment. Taking time to celebrate the woman you are today. You are beautiful. Buy or pick some flowers, gift yourself something on your wishlist or create something special for yourself.
Heat is our friend.
In my clinic I use a heat lamp during my treatments and I have yet to meet a female client that is not a huge fan of it. Heat is yang and yang is lifeforce and encourages movement. Plus us girls, we are yin, meaning we are naturally colder in nature than the boys. Our flow is just that, a flow. We want to encourage outward steady blood flow. You don’t need to wait for cramps or discomfort to use a hot water bottle or heat pack. You can make it part of your ritual. It will ease discomfort, relax the womb, and dilate vessels to allow blood to flow more freely. Plus it always feels good and is so cosy. Keep your feet warm too - the kidney acupuncture channel is the only one with a point on the sole of the foot so cold can easily move through this to our lower back. That being said aim to cover your belly and lower back during your flow especially if the weather isn’t really warm. We want to keep this area protected and supported.
A powerful plant with so many incredible health properties, ginger is a calmative for the tummy and can influence fluid movement and metabolism. Having some ginger tea can help with bloating and warm our tummy. And it is so comforting and refreshing. To a saucepan add a few knobs of ginger cut smaller in around 2-3 cups of water. There is not right or wrong amounts here. Bring to boil then simmer for around 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and store in a glass jar. Take out ½ - ¾ cup and top with boiling water to drink hot. 1-2 cups is plenty during flow time.
Use this time to move deeper, calm your mind and help relax your physical body too. Use a guided meditation, yoga nidra (sleeping yoga) or if you have a comfortable practice of your own use it to create some space in your day to make space within you. A great free app is ‘insight timer’ or search on you tube.
Use a Moon Oil.
I've created a beautiful soft feminine scented oil to use during our moon. I use an amazing yang warming Chinese herb from my clinic steeped in organic sweet almond oil and a combination of high quality essential oils. This blend is calming, relaxing for both our mind and our physical body to alleviate cramping, it deepens our connection to our heart chakra and assists in regulating our cycle. There's a few ways you can use it to support you during this time. You can find out more here.
Foods that are great during your moon.
You may have noticed your appetite increases just before and during your flow. There is a lot happening internally at this time and our body needs extra fuel to breakdown and move out the uterine lining, so don’t feel bad. I suggest having some healthy food options ready during this time to avoid gravitating to junk. Plus if its not in the house its not a distraction. Opt for filling and satisfying meals, snacks and healthy sweet treats too ofcourse!. Things like soups or broths can be great if you are feeling extra tired or bloated. You can incorporate more foods that are low GI meaning they can maintain a more balanced level of blood sugars for longer and help you feel fuller to minimise cravings. Foods like rice, potatoes, oats, corn, pasta (there are so many great gluten free or legume options available now), bananas, legumes, quinoa and wholegrains.
Some powdered spices to consider to use which are great for their relaxing and warming properties are cinnamon (so versatile!), cumin, turmeric, cardamom, clove, black pepper, ginger.
Although magnesium rich foods and supplements or magnesium oil (I highly recommend as magnesium through the skin is the easiest way to get it into the body without having to be digested – which can affect bowel movements) use is important everyday not just during your flow, this time can definitely benefit with a little more attention. Incorporate bananas, good quality raw cacao and dark chocolate, quinoa, oats, almonds, tahini, pepitas and legumes like chickpeas to your meals before and during your flow. To help build strong blood levels opt for foods like leafy greens, dried apricots, blood building teas like dandelion, chicory and nettle, lentils, beans, tofu or tempeh. If you experience cramping or clotting you can eat some pineapple just before your flow starts and for the first day or two of bleeding. Pineapple contains an amazing enzyme called ‘bromelain’ which acts as an anti-inflammatory, has anti-clotting actions which means blood can flow more freely and relaxes muscles which allows the uterine wall to soften and move with ease.
I hope this helps beautiful. Please share it with your sisters or anyone in your community you feel may benefit from reading this. I also share important points in my blog ’10 things to avoid for a happier menstrual flow’ which are really helpful.