Periods, a natural bodily function that occurs with all women on the planet. With period cycles ranging from 28 to 31 days, for the majority of a girl’s life. This sometimes debilitating natural cycle can easily dictate your day to day living; interacting with motivation, emotions and relationships.
However, a period shouldn’t stop a woman from living the life we want to live. Yes the invention of tampons and pads helped us with the physical motions of life but what about the emotional and psychological impacts. With the biased perception that women and girls turn into ranging monsters every month when Aunt Irma visits, typically that isn’t the case. Our general work attitude is one of tired, emotionally exhausted, biscuit munching existence. Until we can sit on the sofa and eat ice cream all night!
What can help us though, is our knowledge of our own body. Knowing what is normal in our cycle can help us predict our moods in an ever changing cycle of hormones. Understanding how our body works is the key to our general well being and health.
Have a look below at some information on how our cycle works and tips to work with it.
Menstruation, the red circle
Of course, the most common thing we know is our period, A.K.A the menstruation, shark week, Aunt Irma, Red Wedding and so on. The bleeding occurs once a month for on average 2-7 days depending on you. This is when our uterus decides it’s had enough waiting for a fertilised egg, and it sheds the perfectly prepared lining.
Whilst you may struggle with the symptoms of headaches and pains, this is a great time in your cycle to be organised. When at work clean out that bottom draw of your desk full of junk you never use. Tidy up the surface so that you can actually see the table top! This is the moment.
Follicular phase, the purple circle
This phase overlaps and starts with the Menstruation period. It ends at ovulation. This is where your estrogen levels begin to rise, whilst a follicle in your ovaries starts to mature. This spike in Estrogen helps you to feel positive, upbeat and full of energy.
This is a great time for a new project, whether that is at work or at the gym. The extra boost of energy will definitely help. Especially with job interviews and submitting proposals. Mother nature is in your corner for this two week period. So, use her!
When the egg is released from the ovary, around day 14 before menstruation.
Luteal phase, the blue circle
Once we have ovulated, we start to produce progesterone. This will start building creating what we know as PMS leading up to the menstruation phase. This phase lasts around 14 days.
Both the Luteal phase and Ovulation work together. With so many hormone fluctuations happening in this period. You will most likely feel introverted. Preferring to stay in bed and pyjamas whilst munching on goodies. This is the time (whilst finishing the first bar of chocolate) to re-think your personal and business relationships.
Now all this may seem daunting and if you are like myself, these feelings of inspiration and energy very rarely make themselves known. However, what can work and help you is to track your periods. Not only will this help you to understand more about yourself and contribute to your self- care routine. A tracking app such as Flo, will help you to predict your mood swings (as well as fertility if trying to have children).
Being able to know how your mood fluctuations will affect you, can help you manage your personal and business relationships. Saving you stressing in the long run.
However, a note on trackers is that they are most useful when you input daily to ensure the correct information is used as well as being accurate.
Preparation is key to a smooth period. Making sure you have all the supplies ready for you. This is key to you being in control at time where your emotions may be all over the place. Having enough tampons, pads, painkillers. Whatever you need, to get you through the beginning of your new cycle. Without having to do the emergency shopping run at a time where you have no energy.
Forgiving yourself. Forgiving yourself is key to a period and certainly helps your self-care. By having that understanding of how your body works helps with your ability to manage your day to day interactions. By forgiving yourself for that short answer to a loved one or a snappy comment to a colleague will help you to be considerate of others. Especially when you know the reason for unreasonable behaviour.
Periods and Self-care
Skip a period
It is ok to skip a period. Hacking your contraceptive pill to avoid a period for lets say a holiday or a weekend away in the wilderness, is perfectly fine. There is no medical reason for you to have a period, only as an indication that everything is running smoothly. Of course, always talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss this as an option.
Fed up with taking pain killers, then maybe some natural alternatives would agree with you. When trying anything in a situation like this, it is worth trying it more than once to see if it makes any difference.
Acupuncture can help with physical symptoms, mainly to do with pain. Such as headaches, cramps, backaches and breast pain but can also help with bloating. Whilst scientific studies are still unsure of how this works, one suggestion is the release of Endorphins to help with these symptoms. If you don’t feel like sticking yourself with pins, exercising on your period will help with this endorphin release.
For you yogis out there, you probably know the benefits of yoga for period relief. If not,
some researchers have found that 50-minute sessions twice a week reported improvements for bloating, sore breasts, cramps and cold sweats.
If you have to take one thing away from this piece is that, knowing how your body works. Knowing its normal functions helps keep you grounded, and in control of your reactions at certain times of the month. If you come away with deciding to try any of our suggestions then we have empowered women to take control of their period.