Most of the women I talk with, have kids, husbands, careers, goals, exercise routines, appointments, dogs.....Lives! So when it comes to the advice "Take a day off when you get your period", they're like,
"Ah, yeah right"!
I get it, taking a day off is something many of us just can't do.
Though almost every woman I know who's read "The Red Tent" says "ohhhh I wish I had a red tent"!
So, what can you do to support yourself - short of setting up a red tent, or refusing to get out of bed - to give yourself the rest and care you need?
I love to ritualise this time of the month - doing things at a slightly different pace, or in a slightly different way, feels like special treatment to me, and I'm all about special treatment on my period.
So when I talk about ritual, there are a few things I make sure to do each month, that just allow me to sink into the different energy of my period. But honestly, everyone will probably want to do this differently - and what works for me, will be different to what works for you.
The important thing to remember is......tune into you, ask yourself; "What do I most need today?"
The key here is to find a way to honour your desires and needs - do the best you can - and absolutely no self-judgements here - you'll have some months where life just happens, and you can only do the bare minimum, and other months where you'll love yourself up! The more you priorities your needs and desires during your period - the more it will become second nature.
Self care during this part of your cycle is really valuable, it's similar to getting a goodnights sleep - or only getting a couple of hours. The quality of your self-care during this time sets the tone for your month ahead.
Really these are just some ideas to help you if you're feeling stuck, or wondering what you might be able to do to support yourself and your cycle.
Menstrual Magic: When you listen to the wisdom of your cycle - your cycle will look after you......What's your cycle calling you towards?
Here are a few things I love to do, I'm not amazing at doing all of them all the time, it's a practice - but I always make sure I treat myself with tender loving care around this time with a few of these babies........
Get to bed early
If you know when your period's coming, go to bed early in the lead up to your bleed, take an early night the day of the first day of your period - or all the days of your period.....this is the most simple thing - but trust me - it's NOT EASY! Getting myself to bed early is like pushing water uphill, I always find a million things to do, Facebook and Instagram are like jungles I get lost in......Maybe I should social media ban myself or curfew myself at this time of the month.....?
Change your sheets
It's so much nicer and more inviting to jump into fresh sheets.
- Cook up some meals for the freezer - or a big stew that will last a few days
- Make sure there are left overs in the fridge so you don't have to cook.
- Order in - and enjoy it.
- Get your husband / partner / kids / mother, to take over cooking duties
Maybe don't run a marathon today
This isn't the day or days you want to push your limits in exercise - think gentle stretching, yin yoga, a nature walk, dancing in the way your body wants to move......Slow down. This is the YIN phase of your cycle, the feminine, being vs. doing phase, think "the art of non-doing" - we're not meant to go 100% all the time! Taking a least a day off your regular routine, allows your body to rest and regenerate - and gives you space to be with yourself in a different way, you might discover things about yourself you never would have noticed, if you hadn't taken the time to slow down.
Write a few notes to yourself......not sure what to write? You can try free writing, or maybe answering some questions, for example;
What do I want less of in my life?
What do I need to know about (name your situation / relationship / issue)?
What needs to change?
What do I need?
Why do I feel this way?
To be honest, this is usually a natural part of my premenstrual phase, I really start to feel the urge to purge, to clean and tidy - it's like I'm having a baby all over again! Things I don't usually notice (like dirty windows) become something I can't stand to look at, and absolutely HAVE to clean! SO, before you start your bleed, take some time, or hire a cleaner, and tidy things up. I'm talking a nice clean bathroom, tidy cupboards, get your laundry up to date, fridge cleaned out - think of it like a spring clean - or nesting, so you can rest into your space.
This is something we're not great at - Allowing ourselves to have what we want (tell me where I'm wrong?). So consider this your permission slip - while your on your period.......You want chocolate - have it. You want a day off running - take it. You want to reschedule a meeting - do it. You want to watch a bunch of netflix - go for it. When you allow yourself to want what you want - and then follow through by giving it to yourself (and the key here is; don't feel guilty about it), you are a happier you, your batteries recharge and you have more energy.
Schedule something lovely for yourself
This is something I really, really, really, love to do - I love to look at my planner and get this stuff in, it feels like such a treat and a luxury..........Maybe you schedule in a massage, some yoga nidra, a reflexology appointment, some acupuncture, or a reiki session.....honestly the list is endless - and it depends on your definition of lovely, but doing something a little out of the ordinary, a little treat for yourself, shows you, you care about you. And the more you care about you - the more you flourish.
Buy yourself something lovely
It might be some flowers, a box of tea, something you've your eye on for a little while, a book, a candle, some nail polish......what would feel a little bit special to you? Or a lot special?
The beauty way
This ones' pretty easy - and costs nothing - The Beauty way is about creating beauty in your life - and to do this you don't have to buy something or pay someone, you get to be creative.........Maybe you find some flowers to cut and arrange from your garden (or if you're like me, you stop on the side of the road to pick some Queen Anne's Lace!) Or take a few moments to paint your nails (I always like a bright red - to remind me of the sacred space I'm in), it could be a bath, or foot soak in some epsom salts and essential oils, maybe you light the candles you already have, or start reading the book that's been sitting on your bedside table waiting for you......What would feel like it brings more beauty into your life?
Over to you.....
What are you going to do next time you get your period?
What would feel lovely?
What would feel like a treat?
What would make you feel cared for?
What do you need?
I can't wait to hear how you support yourself through your next cycle - or if you have something special you're already doing and want to share it with me, or other women who read this blog, I'd love to hear from you......Drop your thoughts in the box below.
Here's to well women everywhere.