Awareness - Menstrual cycle
I attended a workshop run by Dr Catherine Baverstock PhD, a fellow Resilient Leaders Consultant and clinical psychologist, specialising in helping people go from burnout to bloom to blossom.
Her session was on Menstrual Cycle Awareness. Off the back of the Davina McCall’s Channel 4 show ‘Sex, Myths and Menopause’, the timing was perfect. This session was fascinating and it made you stop and think about the times in your menstrual cycle where you are at your most energetic, your most superwoman and also when you’re not at your best.
Here were the big takeaways:
- Menstrual awareness helps to raise individual awareness of our own moods, cycles and cognitions and behaviours which can affect many things such as our confidence, energy levels and resilient decision making. - Menstrual awareness is an in-built mechanism for self-care and self-awareness and can help raise our awareness of what moves us from pressure to stress. The model we looked at is called the inner seasons. - Menstrual awareness also helps raise our awareness of others and their moods, cycles and possible times of most creativity.
For further reading on the subject read "Wild Power" by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer or visit the Red School website where you can find a lot of free information.
So what are the inner seasons?
Inner Spring - Pre-ovulatory phase (approx days 5 to 12) In this phase your energy is slowly building and expanding, you’ll experience greater clarity, focus and motivation. Inner Summer – Ovulatory phase (approx. days 12 to 19) This phase can bring a feeling of ‘arrival’, of being comfortably in the flow of your life or feeling charged. Generally, you are at a peak of energy. It is a time of confidence and a greater capacity to achieve or manifest things. You may have more time and patience for others and being ‘superwoman’ feels just about possible. Inner Autumn – Premenstrual phase (approx. day 19 to 26) In the second half of the cycle from ovulation to menstruation, there is a gradual pulling in of energy, drawing you back into yourself. You have more insight into what’s working and what isn’t in your life, and a potential drive to sort it out. You may feel more sensitive and vulnerable as you get closer to your period. You may also experience heightened intuition and sensitivity. Inner Winter – Menstrual Phase (approx. days 26 to day 5) Your energy reaches its lowest point just before menstruation. And just as in Winter you might feel you want to retreat from the world and rest during menstruation. This is entirely normal and healthy. For you to experience the abundance of ‘Summer’ you need the rest and relaxation of ‘Winter’.
This phase of least energy and most vulnerability provides an opening to a very deep sensibility. It can begin a day or two before bleeding and may be signalled by suddenly not wanting to do anything, feeling very detached, intensely vulnerable, self–conscious, needy, anxious or depressed. Alternatively, you may feel very still and calm or even filled with feelings of love and belonging. (Red School 2018)
The idea is that if you know when you’re feeling like superwoman and also when you’re not, you can make decisions based on this awareness ie. don’t make any major decisions about your life when you are in Winter. It just makes so much sense.
Awareness of your own behaviours is key and with this additional knowledge, could be quite insightful. We challenge you to write a diary and see the patterns in your energy.
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