Discover the power of the menstrual cycle: ally with your body and mind every month
As if it was a clock, every month, women have an appointment. And while there are those who, for some particular reason, look forward to it, a broad range of women don’t want that moment to come any closer. Plans at the beach become less appealing, wardrobe changes are made due to the fear of blood seeping through clothes, and a myriad of shared experiences among women despite having never explicitly agreed upon them. The reality, as you may well know, is that the period arrives, and it’s synonymous with being healthy. So, it’s best to ally ourselves with our bodies and minds and not view it as an apocalyptic misfortune.
For a woman, having her period makes her feel in tune with the natural flow of a feminine body. In a study conducted by neuroscientists at the University of California, it was observed that the brains of several women changed in their white matter, which means that information is transmitted much faster through nerve fibres. Looking at it from another perspective, that might be our superpower.
The good news is that neither you nor I are the only ones experiencing these changes each month. Although the period continues to be a realm for scientific exploration and research due to the centuries-old taboo surrounding it, things have changed. Nowadays, it’s common to share sensations among women and talk about how we feel during these days of the month when to put it frankly, our bodies are flooded with blood. If you also notice yourself feeling more sensitive, craving sweets, feeling more tired, having breast tenderness, experiencing fatigue, or mood swings, I come bearing good news: it’s entirely normal, and there are ways to make it more enjoyable.
You’re about to make peace with your period, listening to yourself more than ever, and these are the keys that I learned from my mother and recommend you follow. These are fundamental tips which we sometimes overlook by forcing ourselves or compelling ourselves to do the opposite of what we had planned before, knowing that these days would come when, although our minds were oblivious, our bodies were fully prepared.
First and foremost, do not force yourself into anything. If you had planned to subject yourself to excessive physical work, take the opportunity to stop, breathe, and take a moment for yourself from a place of utmost tranquillity. There’s no one more important than yourself, and we are the sole responsible parties for safeguarding our physical and mental health.
You can use this time to invest in yourself, oxygenate your brain, and practise relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. You can take a warm bath, and if you have muscle pain, you can use a pillow or a hot water bottle. If the pain is very intense, it’s essential to seek professional help for a pelvic exam or specialised medical care tailored to your body, age, and situation. Sleep as many hours as you need, and if you don’t experience any pain, take the opportunity to care for your skin with creams and natural products like aloe vera, or invest your time in listening to music, reading, watching movies, having tea or an infusion with friends. The best ones are those you can prepare yourself, adjusting them to your taste and preferences with complete creativity using the necessary ingredients that you can obtain through the Wilden Herbals website, one of my favourites for experiencing an incredible sensory journey. You can also spend time with family or your partner, cook by candlelight to the rhythm of your favourite playlist in a healthy way, including foods rich in potassium or Omega-3, which reduce uterine cramps and alleviate colic, listen to podcasts, or invest your time in any hobby that makes you happy. The key is simple: take care of yourself and let yourself be cared for, always by listening to your body without forcing anything.
Furthermore, depending on the day or plan, you may feel more comfortable using reusable pads. These sponges act like tampons but can be used multiple times, flexible-fit menstrual cups like Every 28, which allow uncomplicated intimacy, or menstrual discs and underwear.
Although it should always be this way, the period is when our body reminds us in the form of blood that it is alive, and that’s why loving ourselves is an obligation and a task that falls upon us as the ultimate custodians of ensuring its healthy continuity. The body is a temple filled with life; get to know it, and you’ll discover the universe within you.