A few days ago (May 28th, 2020) it was menstrual hygiene day. This day was created by a German non-profit company called WASH United in 2013. Its main goal was to help spread more awareness to everyone experiencing their periods and to help give everyone options on how to care for their menstrual hygiene.
There are so many different experiences and layers around menstruation. In this piece, I’ll be explaining how our menstrual cycles can be seen as seasons and how we can use these seasons to our advantage in being more gentle with ourselves, more productive (if that is what you want to do during this time), how to care more for yourself, or simply how to just learn more about it and feel extra empowered with what’s going on!
According to Redschool.net, “each phase ushers in a set of very specific resources and psychological challenges that help you grow into and embody your power. In meeting these challenges you strengthen your metaphorical muscles, these elements of your power, and build the inner container to hold and express your full magnificence or Wild Power.”
This is the season when our period is with us. It depletes us of energy usually, and we are struck with tiredness and a slower paced cadence. This is a great time to return to “home.” It doesn’t physically or literally have to be your home, but it can be where you feel most safe. Whether that is within your bed and duvet, or in a hot bath, or at your mum’s comfortable home, either way, do what feels most natural and comfortable to you. Blood and Milk explain it as, “your hormones are at an all time low as the drop in progesterone signals the shedding of your uterine lining. While this is happening, your emotional life feels like winter […]”
This is the season when we have just come out of our period. Usually in Spring, flowers and nature are blooming and freshly ready to spread their wings. Just like nature – as we are also nature, this is our time to gently – and I mean gently spread our wings. Oestrogen gets going within us and we may feel more attractive during this time or like we can spread our wings a little bit more – schedule meetings, organise a few things to prepare for work, or start brainstorming some projects. This is a time to ready ourselves for the Summer season, and to gain our confidence and power back in feeling whole once more.
This is the season where we are in full bloom. Redschool.net explains beautifully, “the inner summer invites you into the fullness of who you are – the liberated expression of your power. This phase ushers in the power of being visible and getting down to manifesting your Calling in the world. You blossom, you fulfill yourself, your spirit. And that will look different for each person.” Testosterone also arrives during our Summer season, making us feel more confident and definitely more willing to take risks and adventures!
We return to the season right before Winter, right before we are due for our periods again. After Summer, it’s as though we’ve accomplished this huge hike we were so headstrong and excited on and are now settling down at camp once more after that strenuous journey. We are settling in for “hibernation” and through Autumn we are challenged once more. Whether we are challenged to “grow up” or face certain aspects of ourselves that are dark and maybe embarrassing or annoying, we have to face them. We will become critical again of ourselves, and perhaps the faults we knew we had all along, (but were confidently okay with during Summer / Spring or were ignoring) are now in front of us in Autumn. With progesterone within now, we may find things more difficult to do, and our energy is not where it was so we don’t feel the push or drive as we did in Summer.
All-woman.co.uk explains Autumn as such, “Initially, the follicle that released the egg starts to produce progesterone which stimulates the growth of the lining of the womb in readiness for pregnancy. Then, having declined initially, oestrogen levels rise slightly in preparation for pregnancy. However, if there is no pregnancy, oestrogen and progesterone levels then fall causing the womb lining to shed during the next phase. During the first half of autumn as progesterone levels rise, you’ll start to feel like winding down after the high energy of summer. Then things can become a little more difficult as both oestrogen and progesterone levels start to fall.”
Amongst this whirlwind of seasons that contribute to the visual and internal idea and journey of our period, how can we use these ideas and aspects to further empower and recharge ourselves during times that may drain us? Perhaps these realisations will gear us to being more understanding towards our bodies and internal happenings, or understanding that we can take time off without feeling guilty because there literally is a plethora of things happening inside us, or that we may find we have so much more energy to use during certain times of the month and can push ourselves to excel even more.
No matter what you choose to take from this piece, remember that education around our menstrual cycles can be vitally important to us, and having the options to choose how we handle our periods and how we choose to tend to ourselves mentally and physically, is so important.