Menstruation is a time of internal winter, it is the dark moon, the stillness. So it is no wonder Women are struggling with maintaining self-care in a fast-paced modern world!
The days leading up to and including menstruation are asking us to slow down and Please Make Space (PMS)….
But that is not always possible! I often find myself torn between work and Mothering during this time, when what I truly need is rest. So that is why I created this Cheat Sheet, for the menstruating women with busy schedules who still want to prioritize self-care *where we can fit it*!
With this type of self-care, we are going to focus on stress-reduction. Instead of creating more elevated energy in the body, we are focusing on bringing the energy down in a more rooted, grounded, and calming way - even when your schedule is full!
During the days leading up to bleeding and menstruation itself, it can be the most challenging time for a woman to show up in a grounded way. This is because our hormones are dropping drastically.
During this time in our cycle, we have the lowest levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, serotonin, FSH, and LH. This directly impacts our energy levels and capacity for emotional regulation. It is important to recognize how drastic a change this is for us, and that it will have effects on our daily lives, so that we can prepare for this time and learn the tools to help us regulate.
Each of the following practices are designed to stimulate the Vagus nerve, the director of the parasympathetic nervous system. The Vagus nerve is in charge of your ability to regulate, rest, and digest life, and is the counterbalance to your fight or flight, and thus it is the key when we want to recover an internal sense of calm.
THE SELF-CARE CHEAT SHEET
1-5 minute tools & strategies…
Inhale and allow your stomach to expand, then exhale while consciously pulling your belly button toward your spine. The exhale should last longer than your inhale, and you can hum and hold it as long as possible if you find yourself struggling with short exhales.
Inhale and make an apparent sound as you exhale. Slump your shoulders and fully release as you sigh. Repeat as many times as you can until you feel a shift.
Plug your ears with your thumbs and softly cover your eyelids with your fingers. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, hum like a bumble bee with your mouth closed. Try to vibrate the roof of your mouth.
Loud singing of specific tones to stimulate the vocal cords. Experiment with different tones both deep and high until you find a frequency supportive to you.
Close your eyes and one-by-one check in with each of your senses. What are you hearing? What do you see? Smell? Feel? And taste? This can be exceptionally grounding.
Choose a scent and immerse yourself into it, attempting to turn off thoughts while experiencing it.
Gargle with water for a sustained period to stimulate the vocal cords. This stimulates the Vagus nerve and directs it to begin digestion.
Immerse the forehead, cheeks, and eyes into ice cold water for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath. Upon emergence, don't dry your face too quickly. Allow the experience of wetness for a few seconds after.
Force yourself to laugh in whatever way you can. Act out a scene where you can be expressive and dramatic. Even fake laughter triggers responses in the brain as if you were really laughing.
Acupressure is an effective way of connecting with the major energy points of your body. They are located by feeling a small divot under the skin. Sensations are normally intense! Apply firm pressure while moving in small circles for 1 minute. Repeat on both sides of your body.
- In the center of your wrist, three fingers up your arm from the base of your hand you will find acupressure point HEART-7. An important trigger point for the Vagus Nerve and relief of anxiety.
- Directly to the outside of your shin bone, four fingers down from the base of the knee cap, you will find acupressure point STOMACH-36. This point calms the stomach and is effective for stopping pain and assisting depression relief.
- On your ear, find the concha cymba, the cavity just above your ear canal. This is acupressure point CONCHA CYMBA. This helps to regain inner balance, relieve pain, and releases pathogens + infections from the body.
- LARGE INTESTINE-4 can be found between the thumb and index finger. On the top of the hand, find the soft spot between thumb and index finger bone. This helps to relieve pain and regulate elimination. Perfect for menstruation!
Music is proven to directly affect our internal systems, but let's be selective! Listen to 425GHZ frequency songs. Search it on Youtube or Spotify - there are many options for all genres! 425GHZ music is the frequency of healing, assists in reducing anxiety, and can lower blood pressure and heart rate!
Exposing sunshine on the skin enables the skin to synthesize vitamin D, but it also has a huge effect on our mood! Sunlight in the eyes boosts serotonin levels significantly.
- Shaking: shake and wiggle your entire body in whatever way feels best. This stimulates the Vagus nerve and releases tons of endorphins.
- Dancing: for when the kids won't stop, I throw music on loud in the hopes that we all release some of that pent up energy!
- Hip movements: The hips are the epicenter of stored energy and emotion. Widen the legs, point the toes out to opposite sides, and rotate those hips as fully as you can!
These techniques are simple and are meant to offer relief when our schedules just do not allow for us to retire for an hour or more to maintain proper self-care while menstruating.
Menstruation is a time for energy to move down and out, and these tools are designed to bring the energy back down and into our center - perfect for the menstruating woman.
The techniques don't take away the stress. They help us regulate and calm our physical bodies, so we can respond from a centered place.
May we all find moments of feeling rest, calm, and empowerment during menstruation.
Written by Amber Jade
Written by Amber Jade