In the last couple of years I’ve had revolution in understanding my health.
Through my work as a women’s health and fitness coach I’ve taken more and more of an interest in hormones.
In sex hormones. And stress hormones.
And gained an understanding that what is going on in our bodies at a hormonal level should be a key part of how we think about health.
Initially my interest focussed on the perimenopause and the decline of our sex hormone levels towards menopause….because the health implications of living with lower levels of the protection that progesterone and oestrogen give our hearts, bones and circulatory systems is really worth understanding.
In order to do this I needed to understand more about hormone levels and the menstrual cycle pre menopause.
And the more I read and studied the more I realised that understanding and connecting to our menstrual cycle is a way to feel better connected to ourselves as women as well as to our health.
And yet, so often, it is masked by hormonal birth control solutions, or seen as a burden, something to be ignored. It’s called ‘the curse’, ‘the blob’, ‘on the rag’ or not named at all.
But times are a changing…I mean, there’s even a period emoji.
I now see it as an opportunity for a fresh start every month.
And as an indicator that I may not be looking after myself well enough if my PMS is more severe or my energy levels don’t pick up post menstruation.
It feels like a revolution to change that relationship to myself.
It has enabled me to give myself permission to rest, because I can see and feel the benefits.
It has helped me to plan business events to take advantage of the ebb and flow of my monthly hormones. (So my retreat took place during the high energy ovulatory part of my cycle, and I’m writing blog posts and course content during the more reflective part of my cycle).
(I can also just tell my family that it’s ‘day 23’ and they know to give me space as my progesterone starts to decline and takes with it my zen for a day or two).
You can begin this exploration by considering how your energy falls and rises each cycle.
It rises towards ovulation, which is around the mid point of your menstrual cycle, and falls as you head closer towards menstruation, when you may feel more tired, less tolerant, and more reflective.
And if you are on birth control or are post menopause, you can also pay attention to the lunar cycle - see if your energy picks up around full moon and dips towards the new moon phase. (And yes, this sounds very woo woo, but you don’t know until you try!)
How do you feel about your menstrual cycle?
What would change if you started to see it as a benefit rather than a curse?
I’ll share a little more about this in upcoming blogs and will take a deeper dive in my upcoming Wildly Well Woman online course.
And in my women’s health coaching work, this is part of how I build a picture of the women I work with.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive I’ve found the following books/authors really interesting.