The constant go go go, the feeling the need to be keen on everything can burn you out. But here in lies the real reason.....
By Deedra Helenna Reiki Practitioner , Holistic Nutritionist and feminine health coach
( yes this blog is going to be about women's cycles. Get over it, we have them and they aren't going anywhere )
My heart hurts for bleeding women out there who are burnt out, who are masking their discomfort with meds to push through to show up everyday. I know you're tired, I know you're sick and medicating or just ignoring the screams of your mind, body and heart because we are told to. We are told showing up as true women is weak. To sit and rest is unsuccessful. I've been there, I'm guilty of it. You can read how sick it made me in my blog How I Fell Down the Rabbit Hole.
I know you, I am you. I am guilty too of feeling so completely emotionally drained but afraid to show it for fear of looking weak. Women are not allowed to slow down right? We have ALL the things to do! Now now before you get on me about men can burn out too - absolutely. That is not what I am talking about here so shut up and just read. I am talking about the biologically factors that women CANNOT show up and be the SAME EVERYDAY... It is slowly poisoning us, making us prone to infertility, period problems, cancers, premature menopause and is linked to decline in memory and mental health.
What is this biological factor I talk about?
A WOMENS CYCLE! Period, menstruation, bleed .. whatever you call it. You know what I mean.
Women have on average a 28 day hormonal cycle, men have a 24 hour hormonal cycle . Yes men can suffer burn out absolutely and hormone imbalances. This is just to compare that there is really no two days the same in a single month for women that are the same. Just like the moon .. coincidence? Nope.
The more I work with the feminine who bleed as I like to say, the more I realize how much we have suppressed, how much we are afraid to ask questions about our own fucking bodies for fear of shame. It may not be shame sometimes but it just may be the way we were raised by moms who were raised the same to just accept this is the way it is. Live with it. Thanks patriarchy.......
WELL I SAY FUCK THAT.
Just like the moon we are always whole but there are only certain times of the month where we show up whole, and others are meant to only illuminate specific qualities in us as I will list below in each phase.
Can you start to put the pieces together and see why the fast moving, high stress, show up everyday to see results is slowly killing the feminine?
For example.... When we are in our luteal or menstrual phases or in a survival mode and lets say want to work out, lose weight or take on a new stressful project. Guess what? Working out intensely, eating calorie restricted meals and losing sleep especially in those phases is going to throw you into an imbalance because your body at that time is not meant and should not undergo that much stress and will continue to keep you in that flight or fight mode stressing the adrenals, the thyroid and providing your body the perfect storm for chronic inflammation.
Here I will go through the 4 phases and how they present and how you can better sync YOUR LIFE to YOUR BODY. Some may call it cycle syncing. I just call it living.
Believe it or not I have had women from the ages of 25-45 not know the 4 phases of their feminine cycle. YUP, hey I didn't either till a few years ago. Crazy eh.
So I will break them down for you here.
Follicular Phase:Approx. Day 7-14 roughly
Season : Spring
Moon : Waxing Moon
Hormones: FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) and Estrogen are on the rise. These hormones give us our vitality back after our menstruation. You know when you start to feel good again? More energy? less bloated? Yup these hormones are what help that sensation. These hormones are preparing the body for ovulation and mating *wink-wink.
Diet: Eat whole fresh light foods, lots of protein, salads , buddah bowls, citrus foods and fruits especially to replenish any loss nutrients during your menstrual phase that happened prior to this one.
Exercise : Perfect time to do some HIIT!
Personality: Estrogen is like the Samantha from Sex in the City. She is wild, adventurous and knows what she wants. She is confident and knows it! Be more like Samantha in this phase and put yourself out there.
Ovulatory Phase: Days 14-16
Moon: Full Moon
Hormones : Estrogen and Testosterone Peak and Luteinizing hormone is released in response releasing the egg for ovulation. Estrogen actually changes our face shape, makes us feel more confident to put ourselves out there to find a proper mate. Combines with testosterone give us the sex drive and self-awareness we are a badass to go out and meet out mate.
Yes, we are mammals and have the very similar instincts. We've just suppressed them with toxic ways of living and over abundance of masculinity.
Check out the book Moody Bitches by Julie Holland. Where she talks about women and the biochemistry of our innate hormonal natures and how we have suppressed them .BEST book by far that I have read that explains this!
Diet: Healthy fats, seeds and nut butters and high anti-oxidant foods for the liver such as blueberries and black berries.
Exercise: High Intensity. Go for those goals!
Personality: In the book Moody Bitches she talks about not being surprised if you find other men attractive during this phase. Especially those that are high in testosterone such as your "Clads" as she likes to them. You know the type I mean the ones that have the strong jaw line but are emotionally unavailable. Yup, we alllll know the type. This is because we are mammals and instinctually want to mate with the strongest of the heard. But these type biologically and long-term may not always make the best dads she goes on to talk about due to their testosterone filled nature. I am not painting people with the same brush. I am talking hormones here, inner nature! So don't feel bad if you find someone else attractive, just use that sex-drive to have a good time with yourself or partner.
Luteal Phase : Days 16-28
Moon: Waning Moon
Hormones: Estrogen and Testosterone fall to make way for Progesterone one the eggs is released and leaves a corpus luteum that stimulates the release of progesterone to prepare the uterus lining for implantation. Progesterone is a introvert hormone. It opens channels for a strong emotional connection with ourselves and the divine.
You are not crazy, you are just more aware of the shit you put up with and less tolerable of it.
This phase is a phase I LOVE to HATE. This is the phase where injury and imbalance in the system shows its ugly face as PMS ( pre-menstrual syndrome), PMDD ( premenstrual dysphoric disorder), water retention, depression, sore breasts, pelvic discomfort etc.... Caused by estrogen dominance, adrenal burnout, thyroid disfunction, chronic inflammation and stealth infections to name a few.
This phase opens up for a deeper connection to ourselves and inturn shows the darkness. Time to reflect on the inner darkness of the feminine. This phase which I use to dread is now the phase I feel the strongest in. Not mentally of physically, but stronger because I now honour myself, I nap, I snack, I explain my emotions vs shouting them with rage-most days. I take time for myself, I create space for the darkness. It's liberating.
Diet: Root vegetables, warm soup and stews, plant proteins and legumes. Lots of anti-inflammatory foots such as garlic, carrots and ginger.
Exercise: Gentle movement, walks in nature, slow and gentle yoga. Great time for mediation and divination work.
Personality: If we honour ourselves in this phase it can be quite a beautiful one full of inner acknowledgement and growth. When we suppress it comes chaos, hostility and resentment. Honour who you are in this phase and if there are people around you who don't - tell them to fuck off . The more you realize how powerful you are as YOU, the less you care about the opinions of others.
Menstrual Phase: Days 1-7
Season : Winter
Moon : New Moon
Hormones: If no fertilization or implantation occurs the corpus luteum dissolves and progesterone falls releasing the lining of the uterus.
The arteries of the uterus dilate to allow blood flow to flush our the tissue lining and hence we bleed. This is more commonly called our period, blood, moon time or "rag". This is the phase that everyone focus on because it creates a very bright and obvious sign even though in each phase I have obviously stated physical and biochemical changes. This is the one that gets the most attention. I truly believe ALL phases need the same love and tracking as menstruation. But menstruation is a beautiful thing, not going to deny that because it can give us a sign of what may be happening in the other phases such as your hormone levels, stress and fertility health. Some refer to it as a womens 5th vital sign. I believe as a BIG picture of each phase and how you feel in them is a vital sign to health as well. But menstruation can kind of give us the first big picture that something else may be going on.
Diet: Iron rich foods, root vegetables and herbal teas
Exercise: Rest, get outside even if it is just to sit and read.
Personality: Wise and connected. Believe it or not there are cultures who celebrate a woman's bleed, who honour her knowledge in this time. What a culture I want to be in! Take this time to reflect inwards and allow shedding of the past phase to make room for new growth.
It is VITAL that as women who bleed, the divine feminine energy in us is honoured. That we stop to listen to the screams of our body and our soul that we have gotten so good at suppressing and ask why am I feeling this way, what phase am I in, what is this trying to tell me.
First thing I advise when dealing with clients and hormone imbalances is to encourage a understanding of their cycles and to get comfortable accepting change, growth, rest and shedding of those layers each month. Most see changes in their health the first month of cycle syncing in a way of just honouring it, let alone doing any cleansing, supplementing or energy clearing. It begins in the mind.