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I can honestly say that I love my period.  Can you?  Unfortunately, for many of us it is that dreaded time of the month.  Some of us feel achy, irritable, have a headache, or experience terrible menstrual cramps.  We’ve called it ‘the rag’ or worse; ‘the curse’. 

I have to be honest with you, I didn’t always love my period.  It was something to be tolerated for a few days; tap, tap, tap of the foot until, finally, it was finished and life could resume as normal.  How many women feel as though our period is an inconvenience each month?  I’ve been there.  Let me share with you a few ways of how I’ve changed my perception – and my experience over the last few years with a few simple lifestyle changes.

The simplest yet most important thing we can do for ourselves during our menstruation is REST.  If you think about it, if your child or a friend came to you and they were bleeding you would probably tell them to slow down and take it easy. You certainly wouldn’t expect them to carry on life as per usual!  Why should it be any different for you while you are menstruating?

Another compelling reason for rest during menstruation is because that is clearly what our body is asking for! All of our hormones are conspiring for us to REST and allow the uterus to fully perform her monthly cleanse.  This is why we naturally feel so tired during our periods.  In fact, most of us begin to feel tired in the days leading up to menstruation.  This is the result of plummeting estrogen levels. 

So, how can we honor this? Menstrual cycle tracking is a huge help, primarily for allowing us to look ahead and plan our schedules.  I clear my calendar as much as I can in preparation for my period.  For example, instead of throwing that dinner party when you know you will be on your period, save it for the week after when you’re naturally feeling more social and have more energy.  If you have the choice at work to do more solo activities as opposed to collaborating with others, choose to work solo.  If you have the time and space, take naps!  If you cannot take an afternoon nap, plan to lay down for 15 minutes of rest after work.  Surrender to the luxury of surrendering. 

Number two: Stop using tampons! Ok, so this is the point that I get most resistance with when I tell my tampon-using clients to try menstrual pads.  They say that the tampon feels cleaner and that they are more convenient than pads.  But what if I told you that changing from a tampon to a cotton menstrual pad can often reduce menstrual cramps? The theory is simple: rather than plugging ourselves up, we are choosing to allow our blood to flow out – as was always intended. 

When our menstrual blood cannot flow out, this may lead to what I refer to as stagnation.  If you’ve ever experienced brown blood at the beginning or end of your period, this is stagnation.  This is what happens when the uterus does not get a full cleanse (because we’ve plugged ourselves up with tampons or sponges).

Just think of it ~ no more uncomfortable feeling when the tampon is not sitting quite right and there is less odor as well.  Our menstrual blood does not smell bad but sometimes the reaction with the tampon can create a malodorous smell.

This is always the point in the conversation when I get asked about the Diva Cup and I always explain it like this:  If there is a bad, better, best it would be tampons (bad), Diva Cup (better), menstrual pads (best)!  The Diva Cup allows for more flow (into the cup); however, it is still a plug.

Number three: Avoid cold food and beverages (and yes, unfortunately that does include ice cream!).  We can significantly support our body’s moontime when we avoid things like ice cream, raw salads, cold smoothies, and ice-cold drinks.  Why does this make a difference?  Well, let me tell you! You know when homemade soup gets all jelly-like in the fridge and then you put it in a pot on the stove and it turns to liquid again? The same idea goes for our period blood.  Cold constricts while heat expands.  While we are menstruating, we can support good blood flow with warm and easy to digest foods.  If we are loading up on cold or icy food and drink, this sits on the womb and cools the body.  Not ideal.  What is ideal are nourishing soups, stews, and warm teas.

Beginning to implement these practices allow you to become more in-tune with your cycle.  These three practices naturally honor the process of menstruation.  When you begin to honor yourself in this way your perception often changes and so will your physical experience. 

I now look forward to my period each month! I know that it is an opportunity for me to take a step back, to unplug (haha, no pun intended!), and to rejuvenate.  And when you do this, you’ll find that you can actually have more energy in the month to come because you’ve given yourself this nourishing time during menstruation.

I hope this has been helpful.  You can download your own monthly menstrual cycle tracker as a free gift from my home page.  This will help you to learn your cycle, what to expect and when to expect it.  Tracking my menstrual cycle has been a pivotal process for me these last years and I highly recommend it!

Blessings to you as you remember your strength, beauty, and inner light.

Meriah Theresa

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