On Grief, Hugs And Connecting To Your Menstrual Cycle

So we’re well into February and still ‘it’ continues.

Some of you will know that these past few weeks have been difficult for me after we lost our ‘Nan’ (I put her name in quotation marks because in all honesty, I think she became a Nan to everyone who met her). I have grieved like never before.

But in the midst of all the pain I have found so much love and joy. From reading notes and letters she sent, to reminiscing with family over all the good times we had. 

But there is one thing I miss so badly right now…I miss hugs. Those kind of hugs that feed your soul and make you feel safe again. The hugs that last forever, that connect your spirit to the person that you’re hugging. And yet, despite all this I know things will get better. 

From the first lockdown, I treated my time away from the world as a sabbatical. And I couldn’t have been more grateful to have been able to do this for myself and my family.

I really did take the time to ‘be’ instead of ‘do’. I worked on letting go of the need to try and control everything around me.

This was the perfect time to acknowledge that I literally had NO control anyway.

I worked on surrendering my fear and my ego. I focused on releasing all expectations both of myself and of those around me.

I stopped comparing myself to others (especially on social media). After all it was true….we might have all been in the same storm but our boats were very different. 

Instead I choose to lean in to love and joy and kindness. And I trusted that things would unfold in their own time. This took months and months of inner work. Meditating. Journalling. Crying. Lots and lots of crying. So much crying I never thought I’d stop. 

And yet, here I am. Despite the pain over the last few weeks, I feel like over this past year I have rested and restored not only my own mental, emotional and physical health but also my inner flame. I have this huge need to help other women. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. 

Which leads me on to the one thing that I feel has been missing so badly from women’s health and wellness (as well as fitness)… that of understanding of our own Menstrual Cycle and how it impacts literally every aspect off our life.

In 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a report acknowledging that menstruation should be recognised as a ‘Vital Sign’ and I completely agree. 

I have been tracking and studying my own Menstrual Cycle for years but these last few months I have immersed myself fully (all whilst studying Women’s Health, hormones and pelvic pain). In learning about my own cycle, I now know when…

  • I have the most energy and the capacity to cope with all the shit that the world throws at me
  • What days I’m most likely to fall out with my husband (as well as the days I want to ‘Netflix & Chill’)
  • What kind of exercise I need to do in the different phases of my cycle (which means I no longer need to force myself to do something that doesn’t suit where I’m at)
  • When to avoid people because I’m likely to annihilate them! 
  • When I’m happy being social and can join the zoom call (until we can go ‘out-out’ that is!)
  • When I’m going to get back ache and knee pain (yes that’s linked to my cycle too!

Female bodies are cyclical by nature. We produce different quantities of hormones at different points in our menstrual cycle (mainly oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.)

These hormones are responsible for four distinct phases of our cycle which we can refer to as our ‘Inner Seasons’. Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn. 

And as with ‘real’ world, our bodies constantly ebb and flow, with each Inner Season bringing about significant physical and emotional changes. 

When we understand our internal rhythms we feel more connected to our body. It really is the first step to solving a lot of physical and emotional complaints as well as helping us to plan our training and exercise, social calendar and time to rest (because, newsflash….we do need to rest and rejuvenate!)

Knowing our cycles can help us embrace and prepare for our own natural ebbs and flows. 

In the next month or so (I’m still letting life flow!) I will be releasing my Online Course to help YOU understand YOUR Menstrual Cycle (which I’m super excited about). But for now, if you wanted to start tracking your cycle I would suggest starting simple…. Just 3 Words!  

This means writing down in a journal, diary, app or on a chart, just 3 Words to describe how you feel. It really does not need to be complex. (My motto is always “keep it simple”). When you commit to writing down ‘Just 3 Words’ a day to describe how you feel, it really is enough for you to start spotting patterns.

PS: If you’re interested in Understanding YOUR Menstrual Cycle, subscribe to my mailing list here and I’ll send you updates. There is also a free download for you to start tracking your cycle.

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