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Your cycle and personal power days: leveraging your hormones to serve you better

Your cycle and personal power days: leveraging your hormones to serve you better

by Hilary Metcalfe

 

Your menstrual cycle is much more than just a monthly occurrence – it is a unique dialogue between you and your hormones, a testament to the incredible power within you. Each phase, from the shedding of the lining in the menstrual phase to the surge of hormones in ovulation, plays a crucial role in your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. 

By honouring your cycle and aligning your lifestyle with its natural rhythms, you can unlock a wellspring of energy, confidence, and self-awareness. This guide delves into eight key ways to embrace your menstrual cycle and harness its power:

  1. Honour Each Phase of your cycle
    Your menstrual cycle is a four-act play, each with its distinct scenery and characters.
  • The Menstrual Phase: a time for inner reflection and renewal. Embrace rest, gentle movement, and nourishing foods rich in iron, like leafy greens and lentils, to replenish your body.
  • The Follicular Phase: As your body prepares for ovulation, experience a burst of energy and clarity. Channel this "power surge" into tackling challenging tasks, meeting with clients, or igniting your creativity.
  • The Ovulatory Phase: Step into the spotlight during your "personal power days". This is the time to shine – schedule crucial meetings, initiate new projects, or express yourself confidently in social settings.
  • The Luteal Phase: As your body gears up for the next cycle, slow down and prioritise self-care. Listen to your body's call for gentle movement, prioritise sleep, and choose nutrient-rich carbohydrates, like whole grains and starchy vegetables, to cope with fluctuating energy levels.
  1. Leverage Your Power Days
    Alissa Vitti, author of "WomanCode", beautifully highlights the power of the ovulatory phase. This is when you naturally experience a peak in energy, focus, and communication skills. Use these "power days" strategically to maximise your impact and achieve your goals.
  1. Cycle Sync Your Exercise
    Move with your cycle! Tailor your workout routine to harmonise with your hormonal fluctuations.
  • Menstrual Phase: Focus on restorative activities like yoga, gentle stretching, or walking.
  • Follicular Phase: Gradually increase intensity with strength training and more vigorous cardio.
  • Ovulatory Phase: Capitalise on your peak energy with high-intensity workouts or challenging new activities.
  • Luteal Phase: Honour your body's need for rest by opting for lower-impact activities like swimming or pilates. This synchronised approach can optimise your performance, reduce injury risk, and enhance your overall well-being.
  1. Nourish Your Cycle
    Just like the seasons, your body's nutritional needs shift throughout the cycle.
  • Menstrual Phase: Replenish blood loss with iron-rich foods like red meat, legumes, and dark leafy greens.
  • Follicular Phase: Support your developing eggs with protein from lean meats, fish, and eggs, and healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and seeds.
  • Luteal Phase: Manage fluctuating energy levels with complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables. By tailoring your diet to each phase, you can support your body's unique needs and promote optimal health.
  1. Track Your Cycle for Emotional Well-being
    Your menstrual cycle isn't just about physical changes; it also offers valuable insights into your emotional and mental well-being. By tracking your cycle, you may discover patterns:
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): If you experience irritability, anxiety, or mood swings before your period, tracking can help you anticipate and manage these symptoms through self-care practices like meditation or journaling.
  • Emotional Shifts: Identifying cyclical fluctuations in your emotional state can empower you to plan ahead and adjust self-care routines accordingly. For example, scheduling activities that promote relaxation during phases known for increased stress or anxiety. 
  1. Embrace Natural Pain Management
    While traditional pain medication can be helpful, explore holistic alternatives for menstrual discomfort:
  • Yoga and acupuncture: Studies suggest these practices can effectively reduce menstrual pain by promoting relaxation and improving blood flow.
  • Herbal supplements: Specific herbs like Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover and CBD may offer natural pain relief.  Raspberry Leaf and Red Clover have antihemorrhagic and tannic properties, meaning they support the body shedding the uterine lining, easing flow, cramping and pain. CBD supports overall relaxation! 
  1. Menstrual Health as a Vital Sign
    Similar to traditional vital signs like temperature and pulse, your menstrual cycle is a crucial indicator of your overall health. Irregularities or changes in your cycle can be early warning signs of underlying health issues. This emphasises the importance of regular monitoring and seeking professional guidance if needed.
  1. Embrace the Power of Rest
    The menstrual phase is often mistakenly viewed as a time of weakness or limitation. However, a powerful shift occurs within you during this time, calling for a renewal of energy and a reconnection with your inner wisdom. Embracing this phase, particularly through the power of rest, is not a sign of weakness, but a strategic pause that fuels your overall well-being. This strategic pause allows your body to replenish, recharge, and reset, ultimately empowering you to re-emerge feeling refreshed, revitalised, and ready to embrace the next phase of your cycle. Remember, rest is not a sign of weakness; it's a powerful tool for fostering inner strength and resilience.

By incorporating these practices into your life, you embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Your menstrual cycle is not something to be endured, but an opportunity to connect with your inner wisdom and harness its power. As you honour each phase, listen to your body's needs, and embrace self-care practices, you cultivate a deeper connection with yourself and step into a more empowered and confident version of you.


ABOUT HILARY
Hilary is the Co-Founder of the SABI, a Holistic Nutritionist, natural, whole foods Chef, product developer and advocate for women getting to know their bodies, cycles and selves better. Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Baja California, Mexico, she now lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her partner Kees, a curly-tailed rescue dog from Curacao, Flint and her rainbow baby, Paloma. 

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HORMONAL & PROUD
Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in conception, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life –– The SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment, and loneliness to awareness and pride. As more than a wellness brand, The SABI offers a carefully-crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey, including rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and again by women and now backed by medicine. The SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep struggles of bringing a child into the world, the pains of heavy, difficult periods, miscarriage, and fertility struggles.
We offer you an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better –– an invitation to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information. Know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.
DISCLAIMER
The SABI blog and articles are not meant to instruct or advise on medical or health conditions, but to inform. The information and opinions presented here do not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals for your unique situation. 
REFERENCES 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25700659/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6637095/#r141
https://www.camillefreeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Yarrow-Ladys-Mantle-Uterine-Tonics.pdf  https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-report/final-assessment-report-rubus-idaeus-l-folium_en.pdf 

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