As an avid advocate of inspiring and empowering a Self Care revolution (in a gentle and lovingly feminine way of course!) - and desiring for women to see Self Care more as a dedicated self-awareness practise over something else they need to do - I am curious to know:
When do you prioritise your PLEASURE and SELF CARE - once you're in burn out or as a daily devotional practise?
What if you had an easeful way to flow with your natural waxing and waning as a woman?
What would it FEEL like to know how to honour your care above ALL else - no matter where you are in your cycle each month - whether with your menstrual cycle or the moon cycle?
Prioritising PLEASURE and SELF CARE can be challenging when the society you live within gives more credit to how much is achieved in a day over tending to self-nourishment.
As a woman, your deeply cyclic nature is your greatest guide for navigating how to fill yourself up, yet sadly this too is often overridden for the sake of productivity.
The deep disconnect women - as a culture - have with our cycles and the 'paradigm of push' has led to all sorts of health issues for women - from ongoing exhaustion to full blown burnout - and I believe we are only at the beginning of this epidemic for women's wellbeing.
For me, Radical Self Care is grounded and anchored in remembering (and understanding) that as a woman we show up differently every day of the month.
The feminine is cyclic, fluid, flexible and ever changing - not linear, rigid, routine and stagnant.
How you self-source will be different every day of the month, each day of the year.
Tending to and refilling your inner well is a unique journey, and one that will never be the same for each of us - so instead of getting caught up in a prescription given to you by others of what it is to self-source, isn't it time instead to get to know your own patterns?
Empowering yourself through exploration of your menstrual rhythms (or that of the moon), and a reclaiming of your cyclic nature can allow you a simple and gentle way to navigate your self care rituals as they flow day to day.
Below I am sharing a very simple overview of your Inner Seasons as you journey with your cycle and some loving and aligned suggestions of how to care for yourself within the energy of each phase.
(Note - this is based on a 28 day cycle. Your cycle may be shorter or longer - we are all so different!)
( To re-iterate - there is NO one size fits all when it comes to Self Care, so what I share are my embodied experiences. They may turn you on - or they may not! This is purely a guide - a place for you to get started)
Self Care for the 4 phases of the Menstrual Cycle
+ Inner Winter: Days 1 - 6 / New Moon Energy
Inner Winter is your bleeding time - a time to S L O W things down, pause and turn your gaze inwards. During this phase you naturally feel more reflective, intuitive and inclined towards practises that are deeply nourishing.
This is a time for a recalibration and reset - a time for nesting, visioning, resting, connecting to your 'womb wisdom', journaling and allowing more space to simply BE - not for pushing, overriding and excessive DOing.
The archetype of the Crone governs your Moon Bleeding time - and if you create space for her she will offer you the gift of deep wisdom and insight.
(Note - when you ignore the inward pull to rest at this time in your cycle you can set up a domino effect for the rest of the month - you might feel you are always playing catch up and are unable to access the full potential and energy of the Spring and Summer due to exhaustion)
Self Care Rituals for Inner Winter
* Restorative Yoga (heat packs/ hot water bottles can be great here)
* Yoga Nidra - guided deep relaxation
* Naps - yum!
* Baths (with calming oils if it you like - lavender is lush!)
* Self-enquiry and Journaling
* Intention setting and Visioning
* Reading for pleasure
* Day Dreaming
* Resting in Nature
* Gentle walks (preferable in nature) if you feel up for it
* Breath Awareness - practises that are soothing for the nervous system like:
- Long exhalations
- Falling our breath (breath in via the nose and out through the mouth as a sigh)
- Soft Belly breath or womb breathing (breathing deep down in the belly for deep nourishment of the reproductive organs)
* Soothing Herbal Teas - Ginger/ Raspberry Leaf/ Fennel/Peppermint/ Chamomile/ Cinnamon
* Oracle cards
* Pull back from always consuming information - have a break from Social Media (even just a day or a few hours is going to nourish you)
* Create your own 'Red Tent' space - a devoted area for you at your moon time (even if you have to put it away each time) and then:
* Create a Moon Time altar - decorate it with red flowers, crystals, candles etc - whatever feels right for you
* Create a Moon Time Box and fill it with all that things that feel lush and nourishing - oils, teas, crystals, cards, chocolate!
* Using Natural Menstrual Products - moon cups and cloth pads
* Essential Oils like Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense, Clary Sage (in oil and massaged on belly)
(in the bath or diffuser)
+ Inner Spring: Days 7 - 13 / Waxing Moon Energy
From around Day 7 you begin to arise from the depths of Winter and feel the shift into your Inner Spring - a time of new beginnings, possibility and potential. In Spring you can start to feel and harness the budding energy building, and (slowly) begin bringing the seeds you planted in the Winter to fruition. This is a great time to implement new rituals into your daily life as you are feeling inspired and filled with energy.
The Maiden archetype is evident here and you will perhaps feel playful, innovative, abundant, courageous, sensual and inspired.
Self Care Rituals for Inner Spring
* Feminine Yoga
* Beach walks
* Light Exercise
* Self Love practises - breast massage/ mirror gazing
* Essential Oils in the diffuser for cultivating and harnessing that energy:
- Citrus: orange/lemon/mandarin/bergamot
- Minty - peppermint/ wintergreen/ spearmint
- Spicy: cardamon/ black pepper/ cinnamon bark/clove/ frankincense
* Mindful + clean eating
* Beauty regimes and pampering that leave you feeling amazing!
* Nature time/ Bushwalking
* Swimming - for pleasure or exercise
Inner Summer: Days 14 - 21 / Full Moon Energy
After the Spring comes the fullness of Summer (and ovulation - around Day 14) and the peak of your energy during your cycle. This is a time to get expressive and use all that creative potential - in your work, life or the bedroom!
Aligned with the energy of the Full Moon and the archetypes of the Mother and the Sensual Siren, this is the time to have fun, play, not take life too seriously, share your love and bring the seeds of intention planted in the Winter and nourished in the Spring to manifestation.
Your focus is outwards and you may very well feel like you have the world at your feet - nothing can stop the energy of Summer!
Self Care Rituals for Inner Summer
Really this is the phase where you can go for it, however here are a few suggestions
* More 'yang' style Yoga
* Stronger Activities in Nature - canoeing, paddle boarding, bushwalking - again this is totally personal
* Naked swims are perfect for this phase!
* Active exercise - bike riding, gym workouts, dancing - harness that energy with whatever turns you on!
* Tap into and cultivate your abundant sexual energy - solo or with a partner
* Connect with your sisters - this is your social phase!
* Use your creative energy - have a secret yearning you haven't explored - now is the time!
Inner Autumn: Days 22 - 28(or when you start bleeding) / Waning Moon Energy
Once the Summer heat begins to dissipate you will start to feel the turn of the season - the Fall - as your energy begins to wane. Your Inner Autumn begins around Day 21 and lasts until your womb is ready to shed.
As your hormones drop you may feel the need for more sleep, so honour your changing rhythms and rest when you need to.
The Wild/ Wise woman archetype is your guide through the Autumn - and she is untameable, fierce, sovereign and has a 'no bullshit' approach!
This is a potent creative time for you - and as you feel the waning energy drawing you close to bleeding, you can experience a final surge to get things done and finish projects so you can fully rest come Winter.
Autumn can also be the time you are most likely to fall prey to self-sabotage and inner judgement so it's crucial to hold yourself with kindness and compassion, and not take on too much in this phase.
Self Care Rituals for Inner Autumn
* Gentle Yoga/ Exercise - can help to stimulate endorphin release, regulate hormones and lesson stress
* Reading for pleasure
* Nature walks
* Creative projects - get crafty, write, paint - mix it up!
* Decluttering - the external and your inner world
* Take extended periods off Social Media (comparisonitis can be rife this phase)
- what did and didn't flow last cycle?
- what are my visions/ intentions for the coming cycle?
* Sleep ins and naps - in fact make sleep a priority!
* Healing Herbs - Check out Chaste Tree and Shatavari for starters, but there are many to support your unique experinece
* Essential Oils - soothing oils (look at Inner Winter), or simply tune in to what feels good for you!
* Nourishing and warming foods - the digestive system can be a little sluggish during this phase (try and give sugar a miss too)
Self Care ANYTIME
For me Self Care is less about how you tend to yourself and more about getting to know your self - so the following list are some practises that I love to help develop and deepen my self awareness - no matter where I am in my cycle.
* Self-enquiry and Journaling (from my womb - I simply hold my hand over her, connect with my breath and ask her for insight)
* Feminine Embodiment practises - these are ways to move you out of your head and anchor you back in to your body temple
- Breast Massage
- Jade Egg practises
- Womb massage
- Womb/ Heart Connection and activation
- Gentle Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
- Yoga Nidra/ Body Scan
- Somatic enquiry (unscripted movement exploration)
- Dance - slow and sensual or wild and ecstatic (whatever feels delightful!)
- Breath exploration
* Daily gratitude practise
* Time in Nature
I truly hope you feel inspired to start (or dive deeper) on the sacred journey of exploring your own ebbs and flows as a divinely cyclic woman - and that you have found my suggestions helpful.
I'd love to know some of the beautiful Self Care practises you feel nourished by throughout your cycle, so please do share in the comments below. I am always looking for new juicy ideas too! :-)
May your Self Care come from a place of compassion, devotion and deep deep love.