Many of us have been more conscious about bringing mindfulness into our lives, but have you thought about extending that to your menses?
Mindful menstruation involves bringing awareness and attention to your menstrual cycle, and can make your period an overall more positive experience.
Many of us have become disconnected from our cycle, dreading that monthly occurrence. But rather than avoiding or ignoring the inevitable, tuning in to your cycle can change the looming dread into a welcoming acceptance.
Here are our suggestions on how to practice more mindfulness when it comes to your cycle.
Track Your Period
In order to be aware of your menstrual cycle, the first step is to know where you are in your cycle! As you move through the different stages you may notice certain changes and fluctuations in your body and mood. Tracking how these correlate with different phases of your cycle is a simple way to tune in with your cycle.
When it comes to tracking your period cycle there are endless options! Some of the more common ways are to use an app, a digital or handwritten calendar, or journal. There are even period bracelets, cute printables and the basal body temperature method, the choice is yours!
To read more about the many different options out there read our period tracking blog post.
It’s a Cycle
Menstruation is so much more than a once a month occurrence. It’s an ongoing cycle lasting anywhere from 21-35 days. It consists of 4 stages, that are not structured but rather flow seamlessly into one another. So your reproductive system is continually involved in this ever-changing cyclic process.
Here’s an easy break-down of the 4 phases:
Menstruation: the shedding of the uterine lining
Follicular phase: the time between your period and ovulation
Ovulation: the release of the egg from the ovary
Luteal phase: the time between ovulation and your period where the body prepares for possible pregnancy
To read more in-depth about the 4 phases read this blog post!
If you notice significant changes between each of the stages you can use this to your advantage and plan your month based around the phases. For example, tasks requiring lots of energy can be done around ovulation, while rest and self-care can be the focus while menstruating.
What’s even more interesting is that our menstrual cycles are in sync with the earth’s natural cycles. The average period cycle is 28 days which is the length of a moon cycle. Some people track their period alongside the moon to see if they bleed with the full moon or new moon. The seasons is another great symbol for your cycle, each season can be correlated with one the period phases.
Some people find this knowledge comforting in that their period is just another process that nature intended for us to experience.
Honour Your Body and The Process
To have a period means that you’re healthy and fertile! With this perspective we can hopefully see menstruation as a mindful celebration of our natural inner workings doing what they do best. It’s an opportunity to tune in deeper and honour our body.
For those who practice mindful menstruation they see their period as a sacred time and a reminder to slow down and listen to their body. Due to the hormonal shifts during our period often we feel more withdrawn, tired and introspective during these few days. Which is why menstruating makes it a perfect time for deep reflection, self-care and rest.
The process of your monthly bleeding involves the shedding of your lining and this transformative process also symbolises the letting go and releasing of what no longer serves us. Physically and mentally the old is shed and the new is embraced. So ask yourself, what do I need to let go of this cycle? What is no longer serving me?
Embracing this mentality can be both empowering and life-changing!
Use Natural or Reusable Products
Not only is it important to be mindful about your period cycle, you should be aware of the products you use to manage your period. You might not have given this much thought but if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth would you put it in your vagina? As pads and tampons aren’t regulated here in Australia many conventional pads and tampons have been found to contain bleach, dioxins and toxins that have severely adverse effects on your health.
Opting for a more natural and sustainable product can completely change how you experience your period, plus your body will thank you! hannahpads are made from certified organic cotton, so there are absolutely no harmful chemicals that could be absorbed through the vagina and into the bloodstream.
As I transitioned from disposable pads to reusable products, I noticed a transformation in my awareness of my period. For me, menstruation used to be so mindless, I would use my disposable pads and throw them away without a second thought. I was so uninvolved and wanted as little to do with my period as possible, it didn't feel empowering.
But the washing and care routine for my hannahpads symbolised another cycle: use, wash, dry, store away, repeat. I became part of the process. It also enabled me to be more aware of my period blood itself, as it changes depending on your hormones and your health. The more I use reusable pads the more connected I feel and the more I learn about my cycle.
Mindful menstruation is an ongoing process and journey, as there are so many ways to incorporate mindfulness around your period. So, how are you going to practice mindful menstruation?