For many people, menstruation is a challenging time of the month. Most of us still feel an expectation to show up the same way we do the rest of the month, when in reality, our body is going through an intense change. Our uterus is contracting in order to shed the lining it built up in preparation for a potential pregnancy. Whether menstruation is a painful experience or not, menstruation has an impact on our physical state. Our hormones are changing and we are different at different times of the month.
How many of you have popped an Advil and carried on business as usual even when all you wanted to do was rest in bed? We have! How many of you are taking hormonal birth control to mitigate cycle challenges such as cramps, acne or anxiety? We did! For many of us, there is often little other choice than to persevere.
We call this phase of the cycle SURRENDER, because on some level we need to let go and surrender to the changes that are happening. We have no choice (unless you have a hysterectomy or are taking hormonal birth control) in this natural process. For too long we have been told to ignore and resist the natural flow of our bodies. The pressure to be productive, makes us feel anxious and guilty to rest and honor the needs of our bodies. When we let ourselves physically surrender, we are more available to receive the gifts of this part of our cycle.
I used to get sick a few times every year and after awhile I started to have a feeling that my body just wanted to REST. It's like it was telling me, "If you aren't going to slow down, I'm going to make you." Now that I take the time to rest every month, I rarely get sick. Resting as a way to honor the body at this time of the month is actually an intelligent part of keeping our body functioning optimally. This time of the month is like a natural detox for us.
How do we do slow down in a world that says "keep going"? Work is not set up to allow us to take a pause when we menstruate. The way society is structured isn't set up to support our bodies natural cycles.
If you never know when you're going to menstruate start by tracking your cycle. I love the app Flo since it uses all the information you give to create more accurate predictions and it gives you tips for different parts of your cycle. If you are already tracking, start booking out that time on your calendar in advance. Clear the schedule so you don't get to those days and have to cancel plans! If you have to work on day one of your cycle try taking it easy the night before and getting to bed early. If you don't work a 9-5, see if you can shift your schedule so you can let your body rest (at least on day one).
Taking this time for your body is a political act in these times! Ask for what you need! It starts one step at a time. What step can you take TODAY to reclaim your cycle?