Understanding how to empower your period.
By Lauren Wimmer Kolb
I love to help women feel at home in their bodies through mindfulness, movement, self-care, and nutrition – especially as it relates to their monthly cycle.
Women have been led to believe that having painful, long, missed, or even absent periods is a normal part of the female process. This leaves women dreading a monthly week of pain and the blemishes that come along with it. Often women reach for hormonal birth control to suppress these symptoms, thinking it is their only other option.
At The Wellness Womb, I have taken another approach to understanding menstruation – to use my period as a form of empowerment.
By taking a deeper look into the processes of their monthly hormonal cycles, women can make better lifestyle decisions, giving themselves not only healthier and happier periods, but a healthier life in general. A woman living in tune with her cycle is a powerful source of energy, potential, and abundance!
A monthly cycle for women breaks down into four separate phases. Giving us four opportunities to live in alignment with our hormones and the natural cycle of our female body. Each phase brings with it different hormone levels, symptoms, and ways to care for ourselves in deep, rich, and nourishing ways.
The follicular phase is the first phase, lasting 7-10 days. It comes directly after menstruation. In this phase your body is preparing healthy fertile eggs, while the lining of your uterus begins to thicken, in preparation for ovulation.
The ovulation phase lasts three to four days and offers your peak window for conception. You will most likely notice a change in the thickness and color, slippery and clear, of your vaginal discharge. You may even notice that you are often more sexually appealing to your partner during this phase. (Thank you, pheromones!)
After ovulation, your body moves into your luteal phase, lasting 10-14 days. During this phase, you will notice a decline in energy as your progesterone and estrogen levels go through levels of increase and decline during the duration of this phase. Many women have a hormonal imbalance during this phase. This phase is most often where women will find symptoms of PMS due to swift inclines and drops in the production of multiple hormones.
Once your luteal phase comes to a close, you will enter into your menstrual phase, the phase women are most familiar with. This phase brings on the most physical symptoms (i.e. – bleeding, bloat, fatigue, break outs, brain fog, mood swings, etc.). A woman’s menstrual phase can last anywhere from two to seven days as the body sheds the lining of your uterus and unfertilized egg.
Each of these phases brings its own shifts and symptoms that when honored and understood can be used for empowerment. For instance, your follicular phase is best taken care of with fast-paced movements. You should eat bright fresh foods like grilled chicken and salad with lots of fresh veggies. Give yourself space to be creative.
The ovulation phase is best honored through intense movements like weight lifting or swimming to help burn your extra energy of this phase in a positive way. Light, fiber-rich foods like trail mixes and quinoa with vegetables are great meal options. Ovulation is also a great time to be surrounded by others. Your ovulation phase is your best time for social stimulation and forging new relationships.
The luteal phase is a wonderful time for women to practice reflection and inner thought while focusing on eating foods rich in calcium and magnesium, like leafy greens, lean beef, and comforting sweet potatoes and root vegetables that fight cravings. Slowing down your movement to something more reflective like yoga is good as well.
During the menstrual phase, your body is doing hard work so be sure to focus on rest, maybe even consider a nap as your workout for the day. Nourish your body with nutrient dense foods, like fish and sea vegetables, along with dark greens and lots of water. This is a great time to journal and create time and space to be alone.
By implementing even these small changes you are on your way to a healthier and less symptomatic cycle. Overall avoid excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods to keep your mood lifted and brain fog from settling.
Editor’s note: The Wellness Womb will be offering a discounted group coaching program for women who are aiming to heal their period symptoms, look deeper within, and learn what needs to be healed in July of 2019. To apply for a spot, contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.