5 Ways to Connect and Get to Know Your Period
In the past year, I have been on a fairly intense journey to reform my relationship with my menstrual cycle. Here are my 5 favorite ways to connect and get to know your period—and why I think they are worth a shot.
5. Ditching Your Tampons
I don’t care if they are organic. I don’t care if they have an incredible applicator or no applicator at all. Tampons are not gentle on your body. Especially those with chemicals. Have you ever read the Toxic Shock warning on tampon boxes? It’s way more common than you think. Many of the materials and products used to make tampons more absorbent are actually contributing to your discomfort. Tampons can cause an increase in discomfort, in cramping, and in bleeding. If you’ve ever had to remove a tampon that wasn’t completely wet, you know your body has feelings about it.
It can be intimidating to make the switch. But you may have been intimidated by tampons at one point as well and you made it through that. You can make it through this, too!
Whether you switch to a cup or a disc, it’s very likely you’ll experience almost immediate benefits, relief, and a renewed sense of dignity. Sure, there can be a learning curve in how to use them properly and that will likely feel stressful at first. But making this switch changed my entire view of my period. Just one cycle with a disc instead of tampons helped me to feel more comfortable, in more control, and far more aware of what was happening in my body. Plus, it’s great for the environment and that always feels good.
4. Tracking Your Cycle
It’s one thing to know you had your last period X days ago. It’s another thing entirely to pay attention to the whole cycle. For me, it helped me not to dread my menstrual phase (my period) because it wasn’t the only time of the month that mattered anymore. And the process of labeling each of my days with a follicular, ovulation, luteal, or menstrual designation has offered me a wealth of wisdom that I didn’t know my body even had. When you track your cycle fully, you can see exactly why you feel the way you do, crave this food or that, shine in this area of life or struggle with this element of your day. It all simply starts to make sense. It’s amazing to me how validated my clients, as well as myself, feel when they see on the calendar what their hormones are working on. We were taught that our hormones are a rollercoaster and they are chaotic and unpredictable. And when you look at a woman’s mood from one day to the next, I can see how we jumped to that conclusion. But the whole picture is a 28 day circle. And when you look at that circle, you see a beautiful pattern that makes room for you to thrive at so many different things, each in their own time.
I have a fun little guide you can download for free here if that would be helpful for you! Cycle Tracking Made Easy
3. Cyclical Rhythms
In February I created a line of oils that correspond to each phase of your cycle and I excitedly asked a few of my friends to try them with me and report back. These four blends are made in the hopes that it will reduce uncomfortable and annoying symptoms and will help you better align with each phase of your cycle. Over and over what I have heard as the greatest benefit of these oils, is not just that they help to manage symptoms, but that they’ve created a daily rhythm that feels powerful and wise and intuitive. It helps you to come into your body, notice where you are at, how you feel, what you need. Incorporating a rhythm that allows you to connect into your body can be a life changing shift for women. Especially those who spend most of their day in their mind. It doesn’t have to be these oils. Any rhythm will do.
2. Eat for Your Cycle
You are what you eat. And it’s due in large part to your hormonal response to what you eat. Everything you put into your body plays a role in your gut health, which plays a role in your hormone health, which plays a role in your reproductive health. And because our feminine bodies go through hormone shifts differently throughout the month, it stands to reason that eating the same thing every day isn’t going to serve us as well as eating based on what your body needs in that given cycle. I got the Moon Cycle Cookbook earlier this year and It’s now a staple for recipes and meal planning in our home. My whole family enjoys these meals so I don’t have to feel alone in caring for my body and this feels really important to me.
I highly recommend this book, but you can also just be mindful of a few key points. For instance, during your Luteal phase, your increase in progesterone slows the body's systems down, including your bowels. So it’s a really important time to eat high fiber foods. Cinnamon helps to rid the body of estrogen, and when you do that before your period starts, you’ll experience a lighter flow. Or that during your Ovulation phase, you think the least about food because you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen. So it’s important to set yourself up to eat things that don’t take long to prepare and meal prep so you don’t “forget to eat.”
1. Prioritize the Cortisol Flush
Cortisol, the “bad” stress hormone, is an enormous factor in how your period goes down each month. The more stress that’s stored in the body, the more your menstrual phase has to work to clear everything out. One of the cyclical phenomena about women is that we store up our anger, and our stress, in the body until the first day of our menstrual phase. That moodiness is passed off at the catch-all PMS. In reality, you have been holding that anger, negative energy, and cortisol in your body and your menstrual bleed is your body trying to eliminate it.
And we can keep trucking along like this for the rest of our lives if we want to. Or, we can help our bodies to flush the cortisol, the negative energy, and anger from our bodies daily so that when we get to day 1 of our cycle, we don’t have to catch up on 28 days worth of work.
There are a few fun ways to flush the cortisol from your system. Shaking for a few minutes a day is a really easy one. You could mask this as a 1 song dance party if that makes you more comfortable. But really it’s as simple as shaking your body, your limbs, your fingers, your head for a few minutes. This breaks up that energy and that cortisol so it can easily leave your body. Sweating is another way to flush the cortisol out of your body. Exercise or a good 20–40 minutes in the sauna can greatly improve your body’s ability to remove cortisol before it builds up. And Orgasms are another beautiful, pleasurable way to remove cortisol, anger, and negative energy from the body.
There are so many small ways to turn your period from something you dread into a way you respect and honor your body each month. I really hope a few of these resonate with you.
This piece was written and contributed by:
Owner of Selah Space, Spiritual Healing Facilitator
Jada Dobesh is a Spiritual Director and the creator of Selah Space, a holistic wellness co-op in Sioux Falls, SD. In her work, Jada offers her clients the space and practices needed for holistic healing and sustainable wellness.
The verb “selah” means to take pause and notice, and to make space for what was said, and that’s a practice that Jada takes to heart. From Spiritual direction and reiki, to sexual health practices, and speaking to the divine nature of the feminine, Jada intentionally honors her client’s spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
When she’s not cultivating Selah Space as a place for people to come together to help one another become well, Jada is mama to Audrey, age 3 and Marek, age 1, and wife to Witt. Jada’s education includes Bachelor of Arts degrees in Clinical Psychology and Theology/Youth Ministry and graduate degrees in Christian Leadership and Spiritual Direction.