Day One: Making friends with my cycles

This used to be a day that I dreaded. A day I resisted, fought, denied, tried to ignore, hoped wouldn’t come.
But it always did. The first day of my period.

Did you cringe just then? I would have too, a couple of years ago. Talk about my period, in public?! Oh my goodness! I might have moaned about cramps and PMT to my close friends, but to the world? To strangers? To CLIENTS?! If you’re crying “TMI!” and about to stop reading, I encourage you to continue, because what I’m about to share might help you. It transformed my life! Sound a bit far-fetched? Well, I dare you to read with an open mind!

It’s a bit of a taboo subject really, a woman’s period. But learning to embrace – and work with – my cycle, rather than resent and push against it, has been one of the biggest eye openers and has had a HUGE impact on my energy levels. And I’m determined to help other women learn to appreciate and work with their cycle, and their natural – and predictable – energy fluctuations. All of my work – whether the Nature side of things or the coaching side of things – brings in our connection to cycles. It might be the cycles of the seasons, the cycles within a day, the cycles of a menstruating woman, the cycle of life or the cycles of the moon. But they’re all linked. And they are all beautiful.

Because here’s the thing. We aren’t linear creatures. We, and women in particular, aren’t designed to function at the same level of output constantly.
Our energy will vary over the year (you know when you just want to hibernate in winter..?!), and it varies day by day and even during the day. I talk a lot about the seasons of the year, and the impact they have on us, during my monthly WildFire walks so for this post I’m going to focus on the monthly (or thereabouts) cycle of a menstruating woman

Our hormones – and our energy levels – vary predictably during our cycle. Day one of our bleed and all our hormones have bottomed out. Flatlined. On day one of my period my energy = non-existent! I have awful cramps. (Interestingly though, since tracking my cycle and surrendering to day one of my bleed, my cramps have improved dramatically and now I can almost go without paracetamol. I used to pop paracetamol and sometimes even codeine like sweets to get through the first three days!). Ideally it’s a time for surrender, for rest, for retreat. For meditation, inward reflection. In today’s busy non-stop world, this is hard! But not impossible, with some planning. It’s one of the key pieces I work on with clients in my coaching programmes, and one that has the biggest results in energy levels.

“But I can’t just STOP!” I hear you say. I hear you! There’s a to-do list as long as your arm, you’ve got important meetings, kids to look after, a run to fit in, dinner to cook. I get it! But here’s the magic thing. In a few days’ time – you’ll have super powers for that stuff! Provided you’ve taken the time to rest. Like a tree, who over winter sheds its leaves and rests, in spring (the week after your period) you’ll bloom with renewed vigour and vitality. You’ll be on fire for that run, for tackling that to do list. You’ll do things in half the time, just from having rested where you can, in your “winter” (the first few days of your bleed). Yes at first you’ll feel unproductive, you’ll feel lazy, possibly even selfish. But trust me, you’ll notice the difference, and it will be worth it.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try! In a perfect world we’d take ourselves off for a quiet retreat for a few days each month (oh, wouldn’t that be heavenly?!), but even just pencilling your due date in the diary and reducing the amount of socialising you do around those days, letting the housework wait, getting a takeout, catching some early nights and maybe even an afternoon nap and postponing the gym visit for a few days, all will have a positive impact on your energy levels for the rest of the month. At the very least, don’t beat yourself up for not feeling on top of everything at this time of the month. It’s ok. You’re human. You’re a woman. And next week, you’ll be back on it! 😉

Ps, it’s not all doom and gloom at this time of the month – it’s a great time for being creative and thinking outside the box. You’re naturally more intuitive, so it’s a great time to just let go and be in flow.

If you’re interested to learn more about working with your cycles, and how you can use different energies at different stages of your cycle to work more effectively, you might be interested to find out more about my 1-1 coaching programme. If you are a professional woman in your 30s or 40s who on the surface is happy, successful and doing everything you “should” be doing, but you are tired, stressed, heading for burnout or generally want more from life, take a look at my coaching page here

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