The post below made me realise just how naive I was when I previously posted about the menopause (here). It wasn’t intended to come across that way but it did and for that again I apologise (I know I don’t need to but I want to).
I wrote about how menopause CAN be a positive experience (and as one woman described it....liberating). Or at least that’s how I wanted it to sound but unfortunately it came across in many different ways to many different people.
And actually what came from it was my own voice asking me back “You’re not there yet so how the fuck can you possibly know?“
Then after some back and forth conversations with myself (I’m not crazy I promise you....well maybe a little) I realised that I am working on making my own menstrual cycle a positive experience as possible despite the shit storm that often comes with it. And if I can do that during my cycle, can the same not be done for the menopause? After all, there are so many women coming out and highlighting that exact thing.
But just because I’m trying to highlight that menstrual cycles and menopause are something that CAN be embraced doesn’t mean I’m ignorant to the fuck load of pain, heartache and frustration that comes along with it. I understand that I have all this ‘to come’. But there must be something positive that comes from it (again that’s what I’m being told....or maybe that’s what I’m hoping!)
Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s that I’m HOPING that I can embrace it. After all, my hormones have ruled every single day of my life (and not always in a good way). But the more I DO embrace it instead of fighting it the better I feel all round. That doesn’t mean it’s ‘good’. It means I become a little more indifferent to it. I just roll with it a little more instead of constantly trying to 'fix' it. I try and find out how I can make my own 'symptoms' less of a ruling factor in my life. And the thing is, the more I learn, the more I understand what is happening, the easier it all feels. Or at least I'm not fighting as much to change it.
I know that the transition to menopause is tough and I guess that’s what I missed out in my previous post. That I understand this. I was not for a second belittling or ignoring any symptoms, pain or frustration that anyone feels. That MOST women feel. The symptoms (of which there are so many ways to reduce) are something that are normal (to a point). But again, this is something I’ve not experience (yet) but I still intend to share what others (who have experienced) have found helps.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that all these posts are simply to highlight that we need to talk about this. All of it. The good. The bad. And the ugly.
Periods. Menstruation. Menopause. PCOS. Infertility. Endometriosis. PMS. Hormones. Mood swings. Birth control. Smear tests. Boobs. Vaginas. Etc. We need to talk about it all. We need to know that we are not alone. We need to know that it’s ok. It’s normal. And there is no shame in any of it. Yes being a women is hard fucking work. The shit we have to put up with can be unbearable. But that’s what makes us so freaking amazing. (Can you imagine men going through what we do ;-)
“Anyone who has ever loved anyone and existed in any kind of intimate relationship, or raised a kid, or negotiated with their parent as their parent ages knows that you can both love someone and also be very frustrated — even feel like hating them — at the very same time. You can love someone while simultaneously being extremely frustrated by her or him.
Ok so how do you know if you have 'hormonal' issues?
Well, here are just a few symptoms that may be caused by a hormonal imbalance:
• Heavy periods
• Missing periods
• Irregular cycles
• Ovarian cysts
• Fatigue/ exhaustion
• Thyroid issues
• Mood swings (This is my biggest issue!!)
• Insatiable cravings
• Lack of sexual thoughts
• Low sex drive/ desire
• Inability to reach orgasm
• Peri/Menopause 'symptoms'
And the thing is that research confirms that a woman's menstrual health acts as a gauge of her vitality and overall health throughout her life. What we need is to understand how our body works, what the underlying issues are and what we need to do to regain hormonal balance.
We're not out to achieve 'Perfect' health because we all know deep down that it doesn't exist. But understanding the science of how our body works, honouring what it requires, managing our relationship with it and really listening to what it needs can help us feel in control.
This is PART 3 of my Menstrual Cycle Series. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
So after Winter comes SPRING. This dynamic phase which starts at 5-7ish days (I know I know everyone is different!) is what is referred to as the Dynamic phase or alternatively the 'Getting Shit Done' phase.
Moving from the world of inner reflection (hibernation) and transforming into the energetic phase I come with (providing I have allowed myself to rejuvenated in the Winter) renewed energy, dying to get started on the things I have reflected on!
I just get so excited to be in another cycle that I can't wait to get moving more, become more productive and get back out in to the world. (However occasionally I might think I've got my energy back until I go out into the world and my sensitivity is reflected back to me. When this happens I'm learning to go easy on myself and take a step back for a few more days).
This is the phase where Oestrogen & Testosterone continue to rise and I begin to feel renewed and refreshed as well as being able to make more decisions. My energy begins to turn outwards as I become more sociable (NOW I'll return your phone call!) I become supper chatty which isn't a bad thing as my verbal fluency improves and I feel like I can express eloquently what I mean.
In spring I'm optimistic and I start to feel better about my body which is a good thing as my sex drive starts to pick back up! I get out of the baggy clothes that I use in Winter to hide my insecurities, and start to become more outwardly interested. I am, after all, looking for a mate!
This Dynamic phase means that I am able to get started on any projects that I've been wanting to do as I'm motivated, energetic and optimistic.
THIS is a time for positivity and partying!
My belief in myself is improved (which usually drops in Autumn and Winter) and I truly believe I can achieve ANYTHING.
My fitness picks back up, my eating habits improve and I am able to challenge myself physically and mentally. I need less sleep and am literally able to do anything I want (and I want to do EVERYTHING).
Yes this stage is awesome!!
Most of the time.
You see, because of the higher levels of oestrogen my anxiety can start to make more of an appearance. And because I want to do everything I have to be careful not to start too many things at once or I quickly end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed by it all.
I'm also not as supportive at an emotional level or have a very good empathetic understanding. Ok so that's not true. But it's not as good as some of the other phases as I'm so busy getting shit done that I just don't have time. (which is funny because I had the time in winter but didn't have the emotional capacity!).
This is also not a good time for me to go with the flow. I need to know what is happening and I need to know NOW. I get twitchy and just need to be doing all the time. Which means I'm impatient. REALLY impatient. And I get extremely frustrated when others don't keep up. I also get frustrated at lack of action and lack of mental stimulation. I NEED mental stimulation. I need to think and do and process.
I also believe I'm right all the time and try to fix everything and everyone. Yes I can pretty much come across as a bit of a Bitch during this phase (just ask my husband!). I may also appear cold and insensitive, forceful and dictating.
This does sound like a really bad phase for me but it's not. I love this phase because I love to be doing. BUT it is absolutely vital for me to keep my feet on the ground. I need to learn to breath and slow down, accepting that everything does not happen as quickly as I'd like it to. I now know when I'm being a bitch and WHY I'm being a bitch. Thankfully so does my husband. So when this happens we can actually laugh together because we know this is just part of my cycle and who I am.
Again food, exercise, stress all play a part with how much of a bitch I am in this phase. So if I continue to look after myself, if I accept that everything is ok, if I stay grounded, then all is good.
For the record, when I was on the pill, during this part of my cycle I was an absolute Psycho. I mean crazy crazy. My own hormones mean that I can be nuts without any help. Add the pill's hormonal concoction into the mix and we really do have a shit storm! Just something for you to think about if you are on hormonal contraception and are sensitive to hormones anyway.
This is PART 4 of my Menstrual Cycle Series. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.
There are lots of different versions of when people feel the Summer Phase starts but I'm still trying to work this out for myself. You see what happens is (and this is how I see if at the moment but it may change) the Spring time basically continues to rise in terms of energy (and anxiety if I let it).
Then I hit a peak at ovulation. Which is great. But just after ovulation…holy shit what a time that is. At least with menstruation I know what's happening (ish). But Post-Ovulation for me is a time when I go through a mini melt down (especially if I've neglected my health). I become depressive, anxious and struggle with everything. In fact I'm convinced that for me this is worse than menstruation. I guess it's because I am feeling so good and then all of a sudden…..bam! I'm in the corner of the room hugging my knees and rocking myself to sleep. Ok so it's not quite that bad but you get the drift. I'm just not a happy bunny at all.
Some people think that Summer starts just before Ovulation before we hit our peak. And this might be the case. But as these are not definitive phases, they are more for me to understand what happens during MY cycle, then I see that Winter starts just before Menstruation, Spring is a few days after menstruation, I hit a peak in energy at ovulation, then have a come down before starting to feel better again, which I refer to as Summer or the EXPRESSIVE phase.
This is the time that I LOVE being a woman. I am on fire! Stuff is happening. I have amazing amounts of energy and I want to be around people. In fact I NEED to be around people. It’s the time when I love everyone and feel connected to everything around me. My emotions are in tact and I can cope with anything. Life is great. Love is great. My body is great. It's all just great.
I become more relationship-focused and we naturally reconnect with those who are close to me during this time of the month – most particularly my husband (although this is post-ovulation….we don't get on very well during ovulation but that's for another post).
I drop my ego (that usually develops in Spring) and have an emotional strength which provides patience and acceptance. I'm less sensitive to criticism and able to understand the feelings and motivation behind people's words and actions.
This is the time where I can support people and have a huge feeling of love and gratitude. This inner strength means that I can be involved in people's lives without becoming overwhelmed by their needs, something which can easily happen in Autumn.
From nature's point of view this is when we are preparing to become mothers. And funnily enough it's one of the phases where I feel most connected to my boys and my family. I have patience, empathy and connection. Here I feel feminine but in a Motherly way. (Spring is when I am more flirty and I feel a need to be noticed, after all I'm at my most fertile). But during Summer I have a connection with the mother in me.
I have the inner emotional strength but still with the extrovert tendencies to express myself and what I want. I can listen. I can talk to people. And I can do these without getting upset or feeling threatened. I simply feel grounded.
Summer is my calm after the storm (post-ovulation). But I have to admit that I'm unsure how long this lasts. Again everyone is different with different cycle lengths. But it's definitely a time I thoroughly enjoy.
That being said, there are a few down sides to this phase too.
- I'm less competitive so my go-get attitude is not there should I need It (unlike the spring!)
- I struggle to spend time away from home and my family (which is not great if I need to be going somewhere!)
- I'm not too good at doing things on my own as I need people (especially my husband)
- I am highly critical of myself and of how I am as a mother and a wife
- I often give ALL of myself to everyone. Which means I can become completely exhausted.
As with all phases though it's important for me to remember that change is inevitable. It's difficult sometimes. When I am in a phase it's impossible for me to see how I am right now as impermanent. That things will not always be this way. I just believe that I will always be the way I am right now, whether I am feeling good or not.
And when I do feel good (usually in Summer) I think "Ah this is awesome. This is the real me. I'm going to do everything I can to stay this way".
And when I'm feeling a bit crappy (in Winter, say) I think "There must be something wrong with me. I'm never going to feel like me again. Life is shit!!" (I can be so dramatic sometimes ;-)
But the truth is that I am ME in all phases. Whether that is the reflective and reserved me in Winter, the dynamic and flirty me in Spring or the Motherly and expressive me in Summer. They are all me. It's just my perception of how I think I SHOULD be that appears to be the problem.
Which is exactly why I'm putting in so much effort to embrace every single phase, every single ME, regardless of how I actually want things to be. After all, nothing is either 'good' or 'bad'. It's the thinking that makes it so. And at the end of the day, knowing that change is the only thing that is ever guaranteed makes thing a hell of a lot easier when the going gets tough.
Following on from my previous post about the phases of the menstrual cycle today we're talking Menstruation. Or as I like to call it….WINTER!
This is where Oestrogen & Testosterone start at rock bottom on day 1 then steadily rise and is the first day of bleeding. However, personally my own Winter starts a few days before my bleed (I can feel the changes). And funnily enough there have been studies that show some women's 'Day 1' can actually be several days before bleeding as the uterus sheds internally before actually releasing blood. As always, everyone is different and so you'll probably work out your own Winter Phase but for now Day 1 is the first day of bleeding (roughly).
During this time I feel achy, tired, have cramps, sore boobs, feel nauseous, have back, knee and shoulder pain and headaches. I feel bloated, have around 7-10 pounds of water retention (if I eat too many carbs) and crave the said carbs that cause me to have water retention so badly. I also occasionally have problems with my teeth and gums. I may have insomnia (or at least wake more frequently and earlier) and can be prone to crying spells . I'm insecure, fat and ugly (even if I'm not I feel that way). Which means I am NOT in the mood for some sexy time!*
This means that for the first few days it needs to be a relatively quiet time for me and is a perfect time to let go of the s*%t that no longer serves me (as you'll see below).
This is the time for me to become a human BEING instead of a human DOING.
Winter has been described as the REFLECTIVE phase and I couldn't agree more (when I actually stop fighting or ignoring it that is). When I stop and let my body be, I understand that this is a time of slowing down to a stop (perfect for cuddling under the blankets watching Christmas films).
This time is often thought of with annoyance or frustration because we don’t have our usual energy levels.
But it is an extremely powerful time for us and despite that sounding a bit 'La-La' I know that my own intuition comes through so clear during this phase but again, this is only when I stop, breathe and just let it come. It’s a time for reflecting over the past month, year, life, career, projects and what direction we want to go in.
Personally when I do stop, I can hear my thoughts clearer than in any other phase. I can make decisions from a really deep place of understanding. Issues and problems that I was fighting with are resolved (and anything that isn't resolved will have a chance to go through the cycle again if I let it be).
I also know that during this time I'm not very good at social situations. I just don't have the focus or energy for them. And so I have the tendency to want to be alone and to emotionally withdraw. Some people may find this rude or feel like I am in a mood with them (I tend not to answer to phone calls or messages at this time either). But it is not intended this way. I am simply saving myself. Thankfully those that truly know me understand that this is just where I am right now, it is not a reflection on them and that I will be back out from my cave very soon.
Winter is also not a the best time for me to do lots of physical activity and so I will change my training to suit what I feel my body will appreciate (AND I no longer feel guilty about it either!).
I'm also rubbish at starting new projects or juggling lots of things at once, structured tasks or planning. I have complete brain fog when it comes to these types of things and so I try not to have to make too many decisions. Maybe that's because my mind is too busy being reflective internally that I can't focus on anything external. Maybe.
My enthusiasm drops and I have no desire to push myself. I'm in a state of 'I can't be bothered' and 'Whatever!' I also become over-stimulated very easily and so retreating (and hibernating) is how I recharge my batteries. Everything is just so much effort, from thinking and interacting with people to simply walking or moving.
And you know what. IT'S OK!!!!
I now know that when I try and force myself to be more active and productive in this phase it often generates anger, frustration and stress. Which is why I need find ways to deal with the demands that are placed upon me and the stress (that I often place upon myself).
As I said, EVERYTHING feels like just too much effort. But again this isn't a bad thing. It can actually become a resourceful tool for self-development. It means that I can look at aspects of my life and myself and figure out what it is that I CAN be bothered with at this time. (As of writing this, I am actually in Winter, and the funny thing is that the one thing I can be bothered with is WRITING. I love writing. I just never realised how much until now!)
I know that if I surrender to this phase it means that I will have the energy, ability and enthusiasm to ride my next phase, the Dynamic part of my cycle. But if I continue to push through, ignore how I'm feeling, and try and keep up with what I think I SHOULD be doing then I literally crumble. I get angry, frustrated, I cry and I feel like the whole world is crumbling in.
But if I let myself be, if I go to bed earlier, stop stressing over the little things, let the hoovering wait until tomorrow**, cuddle with my boys and spend more time daydreaming (and not feeling guilty about it) then this time doesn't feel as difficult.
If there is ever a time to give ourselves permission to just stop and be, this is it!
Every woman is different and so we will all have different symptoms. That being said, all of our symptoms can be made better or worse by diet, stress, medications, exercise, sleep, etc.
And so if I was to give any advice (and follow my own ;-) it would include:
- Do what you enjoy doing to give your happiness hormones a boost and to make you calmer and more upbeat
- Remember that spring is just around the corner!!
- Don’t take anything too personally
- Learn to ride the ups and downs
- Understand that no one is to blame, it's just the natural cycles of being a woman
- Hold off writing that message to your boss or partner!
- Increase Vitamin D, B6 and Magnesium (research these to see if they will help you!)
- Cut down on caffeine, sugar and alcohol
- Increase your water intake
- Get yourself to bed earlier (take naps if needed)
- Exercise for your mind and hormones (yoga and a walk?)
(The next phase of the cycle will be discussed soon...)
* Ok so that's not always true. Sometimes I get super excited due to my nerve endings becoming stimulated from the menstruation. I know some people might think that being turned on all the time is a good thing. It's not. It does not go away no matter what I try! And it can actually become quite painful. Like an itch that you won't go away no matter how hard you scratch!
* Actually that is another symptom of winter for me a few days before my bleed….I clean!! I'm guessing evolutionary wise I'm nesting ready to invite a baby into the world. Who knows. It's just a symptom I've noticed (despite not having much energy for it!)
One of the things that I wanted to write about was the menstrual cycle and the symptoms that we may have around each part of the cycle (as well as tapping in to the positives of the cycle….there are lots I promise you!).
However I'm not going to go into the biology of it as I really wanted to show you how much we change from day to day as women as we move through our cycle as opposed to the physiology.
Now having researched a fair amount, it's easy to see that there are loads of ways that the cycle can be divided. That being said, we are all different. And it's not as simple as pinpointing exactly the day and time that we move from one phase to the next. (Again, although I have written the days next to each phase this is not set in stone. After all, my own cycle is roughly 40 days. But I have included a 28 day cycle which apparently is the 'norm' whatever the hell that means!)
Over the next few days I will try and explain the phases that we go through. But in this post I wanted to share with you what I noticed about my own cycle after using myself as an experiment.
So after 6 months of journaling every symptom that I came across I realised a few things.
1. I am not crazy! My hormones change me over the month (or roughly 40 days for me). This means that over my cycle I change. My personality changes. My thoughts change. My habits change. And my views change. This does not mean I am crazy. This means I am cyclical. Because the same personalities come out at the same time every single month.
2. Sleep, exercise, food (particularly sugar), water, stress, all play a part in how intense my symptoms become. If I am sleeping well (and turn off Facebook early!), if I am hydrated, if I have eaten well and watched my sugar intake, and if I have exercised appropriately, then my symptoms are so much more manageable than if one of those basics is out of whack!
3. Knowing these changes through the month has, quite possibly, saved my marriage. Explaining to my husband just how my hormones affect me has meant that he knows that I will be a different Sarah during Winter than I am in Spring (more on that in a bit). It means he knows how to address things with me, when to leave me alone and when all I really need is a cuddle (even when I'm being a bitch). He knows that when I'm struggling (or maybe should that be when HE's struggling with me, then what I probably need is to get to the gym for a bit and de-stress. THEN I come back a happier wife, mum, person). He also knows when I need more sleep and when I might need some more help with deciding what the hell to have with dinner (because I just have no more decisions I can make!)
4. I now know when to give my body what it needs. As we live in a world where we must always be doing something, I know that there are certain times of the month where I can burn the candle at both ends and not suffer with very many consequences. My body just has the capability to deal with the stress that I put on it. BUT at other times my body NEEDS rest. It needs me to take care of it. It needs me to pay special attention to the above basics that we were talking about. The cool thing is that now I know when this is. This doesn't mean I don't do the things I need to do but it does mean that I may change my gym session for yoga or a walk. It may mean that I try and get to bed a little earlier (It's not uncommon for me to get into bed at 7am after putting my boys to sleep in order to give my body what it needs). It means that sometimes I just need to stop giving a f$%k about things that do not matter.
5. As you will see, we all have a Reflective, Dynamic, Expressive and Creative Phase. And each of these phases (as discussed), for me, changes my personality. So in certain phases you will find me being amazingly empathetic. Other times you'll find me daydreaming. Some phases see me sorting and organising, others find me putting it in the 'F%&k It Bucket' for later. Some phases I need more sleep, others I can burn the candle at both ends and still have energy for a monster gym session. Some phases I'm in the Zone, others I can't even find my own nose with both hands. The point is that as pointed out in #1 this is NORMAL. And it's only frustrating or annoying if I fight the changes that I go through. If I just be who I'm supposed to be at any given moment rather than fighting and trying to be who I think I SHOULD be then life gets a whole lot less stressful. Acceptance. Ah it's a beautiful thing!
So as I said, over the next few days I'm going to send out posts about the phases of the menstrual cycle. Again I'm going off a combination of research and personal experience so they may not be relevant to you. But if you do notice any similarities, leave a comment so we can do a virtual high five. That is of course if I'm not hibernating ;-)
As women living in this time, we have got so much more opportunity than the women before us. We now live in an age where we have the chance to do it all. Have a career. Fall in love. Travel the world. Have a family. Have social lives. Enjoy hobbies. But there is a downside to 'having it all'.
We are not giving our bodies the support they need to sustain the demands that we place on them (myself included). Our diet and lifestyles afflict us with problems relating to our health and we end up looking for answers in all the wrong places. We spend so much time, energy and money looking at fixing the symptoms whilst forgetting the cause of what is going on. We look for quick fixes.
What we need to be doing is taking the time to learn how our endocrine system functions and how to work WITH our hormones instead of fighting them. There's an order and logic to how our endocrine (hormonal) system works. And once we can gain a deeper understanding of how our hormones work we'll know what we need to do for our body in order to enable it to perform better. And I believe we all need a stronger understanding of how our bodies work and what to do to take care of ourselves on a day to day basis.
The intention of this Page is to help us understand how the hormonal (endocrine) system works and what affects it, address the underlying reasons for any hormonal imbalance and focus on creating changes to bring our hormonal system back to optimal functioning. It's not easy. And it will take time. But I'm hoping that the information that I share with you will help you to see that there is a way to feel better.
*As a side note….yes there are exceptions. Yes there are women who will need medical hormonal help regardless. But these really should be exception and not the rule.
Over the years I have worked with many women who have come to me asking me to 'fix' them.
- Their periods were irregular
- They struggled to get pregnant
- They were on antidepressants and other medications
- They had no sex drive
- They lacked energy
- They had excess weight that they were not happy with
- They were unmotivated in their career
- They were unhappy in relationships
- They had no passion for life
I did what I could to help them gain control over their health, fitness and life. And although many were helped, I couldn't help but feel that there was something I was missing.
When I first started my career it was believed that women were just smaller versions of men and that we should eat and train the same way. Now I realise that's a load of bullshit. I for one have always pushed aside my female traits when it comes to health and fitness and have never appreciated just how important my menstrual cycle was. I always saw it as a burden. Now I'm seeing it as anything but.
When I started learning about and observing my own biology and hormones I witnessed an incredible transformation in my entire being. Now I have fallen in love with my hormones. The same hormones that gave me depression, weight fluctuations and anxiety. Because once I started to understand my own hormones and what they were actually telling me I realised that my body is strong enough, smart enough and capable enough to heal itself.
Once I started to learn how to work WITH my hormones, I used that power to become, what I believe, is my fullest, most potent expression of myself. I am finally being able to see who I am and what it means to be me, hormones and all. Understanding our hormones is the next part of the jigsaw.
I want women to understand how their body works from a deeply functional level. I want them to be able to interpret all the signs and symptoms that their bodies (and in particular their endocrine system) is sending them. Because only then can we begin to make sense of what the hell is going on and how to create a natural state of hormonal health and balance, that affects not only our physical health but our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing too.
When we understand how our body works and learn how to make changes to our diet and lifestyle we can create certain effects on our hormones. And in doing so we can have the energy, the mental focus and stable moods to live our best life. Now who wouldn't want all that?
Personally, I just wish I knew this information years ago. But the good news is, it really is never too late to start.
Do you know what your hormones are doing?
Do you know how you might be interfering with them and their attempts to stay balanced?
Do you know how to deal with an imbalance?
Do you know how to get your hormones, body and life back on track?
No? And that's why you're here.
And that's a good thing. Why? Because your health depends on you knowing these things.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be one of the boys. Even from a young age I spent more time with my male friends than my female ones. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was that idea of being able to do anything I ever wanted, without being seen as 'just a girl'
Regardless of my reasons, as I have grown, and despite females having more and more rights within a male dominated world, I have met, and continue to meet, the challenge of managing my traditional feminine side, whilst trying to perform the same as men and so purposely have (or should I say HAD) tuned out of my natural cycle.
After all, it's a running joke in so many people's lives that it's 'her time of the month'. And it’s not until the last few years that I have realised just how much I have suppressed my feminine side out of fear of being perceived as irrational, weak and incapable.
Now did you know that women have a unique feminine brain? Nope, neither did I until recently. And it's different but definitely not inferior to a man’s brain.
For the two weeks before ovulation, we are more likely to be influenced by our left-brain. We are more focused, tending to be more analytical and rational when dealing with personal and professional issues. Our mood is generally optimistic and we approach life in an assured manner. (Men are left brain dominant which means this time of the month we think more like a man!)
After ovulation, there is increased connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain, and we become more intuitively open, empathetic and emotionally connected to our own feelings and the lives of those close to us. With the onset of our period, Oestrogen levels drop as testosterone levels rise and the right brain takes over, until the cycle begins again.
Now the problem is that as women, we have had to reprogram our brains to work within a culture that was designed by men. We have changed the way we think and work in order to replicate how THEY think and work. But for most of us, the traditional (or should I say masculine) approach to business, fitness and LIFE , is not a healthy way for us to live and definitely not one that is sustainable.
Some women easily adapt to this change, but others (myself included) are much more susceptible to the changing levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. And women who are particularly sensitive to hormonal changes, can develop mood, sleep or eating disorders, pain, PMS and other perimenopausal symptoms….See where I'm going with all this!!
Not working with our bodies or our hormone cycle can increase anxiety, fatigue, and exacerbate drastic mood swings amongst other symptoms. And it's these symptoms that are warning signs being sent to us by our Nervous System, to encourage, or eventually force us to stop and re-evaluate what we are doing and why.
Today, we continue to 'push through' the tough days and stay in our left-brain to 'box-up' and even censor, our feelings at work and at home, regardless of the changing phases of our menstrual cycle. But the more we push through the tough days, the more they will turn into even tougher weeks, and bad months, and painful years.
The belief that we are Superwomen, that we can do it all, all the time means that we are developing health problems that needn't be there. And as a consequence we are adopting addictive behaviours to compensate for the lack of self-nourishment and support in our lives. Some of us abuse prescription or so-called recreational drugs. Some of us self-medicate with food and alcohol. And for many of us, sleep deprivation has become the new norm.
As we knowingly (or should that be unknowingly) live outside our natural hormone cycle, we lead ourselves down the path of health issues such as compromised immune systems, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and other disorders.
Now I do believe over these last few months I have become an accidental feminist. Because I now know just how important it is that, we, as women, take back our power and actually appreciate our feminine bodies and mind for what they are capable of instead of doing it 'like a dude'. As women we simply need to tap into each of our strengths at the different phases of our cycle. Unlike men, we are not linear, we are cyclic. And once we appreciate that we can see just how freaking powerful our cycle really is!