Happy New Year!
Are you doing resolutions this year?
I used to make them. I jumped at the chance to make a change to my life. But I, like most people, didn't stick with it for the whole year, and then I felt bad about it and beat myself up. Can you relate?
What I've come to realise is wasn't because I can't make changes in my life (I made plenty of them) but because I didn't have enough support, and I didn't know something that I believe is critical for women to understand. Since then I have developed an alternative that works much better for me, and I want to share it with you.
Let's back up. In 2014, I was living in Brighton and working in the field of sustainability. I found it super rewarding, but it was also a struggle. Ironically, it was personally and financially unsustainable. I had health issues like eczema (a sign of stress). I often felt really tired even if I slept ok, and I certainly didn't make (or take) enough time to rest unless I was really ill. I couldn’t afford things like decent winter boots (an important thing when working outside. I was chasing and chasing and it didn’t add up.
Along the way I met Abi. She lived around the corner from me, and before long we were getting up to all sorts of fun adventures together: creating community gardens, I helped her with her garden, we went sea swimming together. We also worked together. She took courses with me, and became a client and I helped her re-design her garden and life.
I also became Abi's client. As a nutritional therapist, she helped me understand my health holistically rather than just focusing on the symptoms. The changes she suggested to my food and lifestyle helped me manage my stress, and irregularities with my menstrual cycle.
This began my re-education about my menstrual cycle. Did you know that menstruating women go through four different hormonal phases every month? Menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal. I certainly didn't, well not in a meaningful way. One day it clicked… these phases are like seasons, with menstruation being like winter and ovulation like summer. (I’ve since come across others that also think of them as seasons, so I am by no means the first). This new understanding of the hormonal changes I go through helped me re-design my month according to my seasons, and also helped me have a lot more empathy for myself. And now I am continuously tweaking my life through the year, rather than just at the beginning.
I have been reluctant to talk about online because it felt so… well... wooowooo and taboo. But I believe this is information all women should know about, and yet… I don’t know about you… but this wasn’t part of anything I learnt about when I got my period.
And now for the exciting bit.
Over the last few months, Abi and I have been collaborating to bring this information to you.
Abi is bringing her knowledge and experience as a trained nutritional therapist, yoga instructor and menstruality educator and I’m bringing my knowledge and experience in life design and coaching.
The idea is that we lead you through a month, looking at the different hormonal phases, what to do during those different phases, what to eat and different ways to move.
We want to make it inclusive to women (and also men) who aren’t having periods, or whose periods aren’t regular so we will structure our month by the moon, and we will start with the new moon on 17th January.
Before then, here's something to get you started.
Create a Seasonal Calendar
A seasonal calendar is the basis of re-designing your month, and year. I find a seasonal calendar really helpful when I’m planning my month and also organising things, so I can work with my seasons and not against them.
If you are menstruating and know your cycle, here are two options
Paper calendar- mark different coloured dots by the different days of the month.
Digital calendar- gcal.
Create four different calendars one for each seasons. I like to use different colours for each season.
Add the dates for each season
If you're not menstruating
Use the moon and the different phases as the basis from you calendar. Here's a link to find out that the dates of the different moon phases in 2018 (with this one you can also change your location to give you accurate info for where you live.
If you are menstruating, but don’t track your cycle.
For this month, use the moon phases and the link above. When you get your period, mark that in your calendar, and record how long you have it. You can also note down any other observations along the way re your physical and emotional health.
So... here's to re-designing your 2018, month by month... according to your seasons.