Menstruation and the moon: understanding your cycles and self-care

Did you know that if you menstruate, you are innately and instinctively connected to the moon? For thousands of years, people who menstruate have followed the lunar cycles to understand their own internal cycles.

In fact, the origins of the word moon come from the words menses and month. In times of old, women lived their lives around their menstrual cycle. They would typically menstruate with the new moon and ovulate with the full moon. Pretty cool, right?

Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of New York Times bestseller ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom,’ says “The menstrual cycle is the most basic, earthy cycle we have. Our blood is our connection to the archetypal feminine. The macrocosmic cycles of nature, the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of the tides and the changes of the seasons, are reflected in a smaller scale in the menstrual cycle of the individual female body.”

Connecting to this ancient wisdom can open your world to the fact that your body and your periods aren’t just random acts of torture. No. They’re precious windows of time, that when better understood, can help guide our self-care.

The moon and our cycles

The moon has four main phases it moves through each month. These phases are the new moon (when you can’t see it in the sky), full moon (when it’s at its biggest), the waxing moon (when it’s growing in size), and the waning moon (when it’s getting smaller).

Our internal monthly cycles are much the same. The moon cycles every 29.5 days and the average healthy menstrual cycle is between 28-30 days.

Like the moon, we also have four phases of our cycle: the period, the pre-ovulatory phase, ovulation, and the pre-period phase.

The period aligns with the moon

This is when we can feel the most vulnerable, weak, and require  a little R&R, craving home comforts. Symbolically, it’s when we tend to move inward and crave less socialising and high energy interactions. Physically, the lining of the uterus is shed, but not only that, studies have shown a host of interesting changes from our voices changing, to the way we sense pain changing!  It’s a great time to slow down, listen to our bodies, and prioritise self-care.

The pre-ovulatory phase is tied to the waxing moon

This is when energy is building and our bodies are preparing for ovulation. Our periods have ended, and sex hormones are increasing. We may feel inclined to be more social and more productive with our to-do lists and goals. Physically, our body is building our uterine lining in preparation for a possible pregnancy. Energetically, this is the time for inspiration, renewal, and creating.

Ovulation tends to naturally align with the full moon

This is when an egg is released and is either fertilised by sperm, or is not and is shed with our uterine lining at our next period. This is when we are at the height of our energy and may feel a bit wild! You often hear that crazy things happen at the full moon, and the idea behind this is because the intense energy of the moon has a direct impact on us and our energies. It’s even said that more babies are born during this time, and not just human babies. Studies in Japan have shown a correlation between full moon births and dairy cows!  Ovulation is a time for outward living, being social, making plans, and putting plans into action. This is also an ideal time for manifestation.

Pre-period phase corresponds with the waxing moon

Ovulation has passed and our energy is slowly starting to wane. If pregnancy did not occur, our bodies are preparing for the next uterine cleanse, our period, and we are feeling a pull towards inward energy, intuition, and clarifying our needs.

During this phase of your cycle, oestrogen and progesterone plunge. Because progesterone, the “calming hormone”, soothes anxiety and oestrogen boosts mood, many of us can feel anxious, depressed, and fatigued during this time. Getting plenty of rest can help to keep exhaustion at bay, while learning how to nourish yourself with food, self care, and the proper type of exercise can help keep PMS from rearing its ugly head.

Turn to leafy greens (packed with magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins and more), healthy fats (nuts and seeds, coconut oil, avocados) and taking the time to slow down and practice self care, like taking walks in nature, journaling or taking a bath to keep stress levels low. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 specifically have been shown to reduce PMS related anxiety, so taking the time and effort to nourish yourself is very important.

The yin yang balance

Most of us know of the terms ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ from the yin yang sign. Yin represents feminine energy, coolness and darkness, and yang represents masculine energy, warmth and light. The balance of these two actually plays an important role in how we can best take care of ourselves during our menstrual cycle.

The period is our new moon time, when the moon is at its darkest. Yin is all about dark, deep energy, and coolness and during our period is when we really need to tap into our yin energy. This means taking it easy and asking for help when we need it. Working against this is why many menstrual symptoms occur, like cramps, bloating, and overall discomfort. Focus on releasing tension and stress to properly nourish yourself during your period. There are many ways to de-stress and slow down, and it’s important to find something that you truly enjoy. Some ideas to consider are meditation, journaling, writing out 4 things each morning or evening that you are grateful for, as well as doing things that reduce cramps, like taking a hot bath with Epsom salts and Magnesium (which relaxes muscles and reduces muscle spasms and has been shown to help reduce cramping). Staying warm during your period is also important to helping your body during this time and reducing aching and cramping. Make some soup and porridge to enjoy (ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the kitchen cooking), sip on red raspberry leaf tea, and use a hot water bottle on your abdomen to ease any achiness and soothe cramps.

Representing light and warmth, yang is most present during the full moon time and our ovulation period.  During ovulation, our bodies experience a mild spike in testosterone, which is the hormone responsible for boosting libido, energy, and a general zest for life. This is the time when your self-care intuition is probably telling you to be more social, productive, and go-get what you want!

Live in alignment with your natural rhythm

In our modern day world, most people who have periods don’t take the time to really hone in on where they are in their cycle and to honour it and work in rhythm with it. It’s something we never were taught and don’t even think about. It’s no longer second nature as it was to our ancestors, and it’s all too easy to maintain our busy schedules no matter what time it is in our monthly cycle.

However, working against the natural rhythms is one of the primary causes of menstrual symptoms like cramps, bloating, irregular cycles, and infertility. Luckily, we have a roadmap to follow that’s directly above us in the sky, reminding us to tap into how we’re feeling and what our bodies need throughout our cycles in the form of self-care and nourishment.

Ladies, it’s time to start looking up!

Phys OrdWomen In BalanceDr. Northrup
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Lauren Spanski

Lauren has studied women’s hormonal health, vaginal steaming, essential oils, and holistic haircare to fulfil her passion for natural health and beauty for women. She is passionate about educating women about nourishing their bodies with natural non-toxic products and traditional food, and in truly taking control over their health. When she’s not writing about women’s natural health topics, Lauren loves spending time out in nature, ballroom dancing, and giving lunar haircuts!

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