Recently during the full moon I received this question:
“Every full moon I become very, very… well… sensitive, and on the point of a super low. I’ve read you mention a few times the part of being extra sweet and kind to yourself during these days but somehow I manage to go the wrong way every time. What can I do?”
‘A’ also shared that she is not on hormonal birth control and the full moon coincides with her moon-time, her bleeding phase. And she experiences constant hunger, pain in the breasts and mood swings for over a week prior. And a feeling of no longer ‘being me’. She finished with saying: I love being a woman. I do. But oh how I wish I didn’t have these moon cycle swings.
Thank you for your question ‘A’, I know a lot of women can relate, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be that way.
PMS, painful cramps, sore breasts, mood swings arrive as a reminder that something is out of balance physically, emotionally, or energetically. They are messages calling you home.
Here are some important facts to keep in mind as you begin to partner with your PMS and turn this monthly struggle into a time of deeper self-understanding:
- Despite popular belief, pain, major discomfort, and crazy mood swings are not how a healthy cycle expresses itself. However, keep in heart that even within a healthy cycle your energy and feelings still wax and wane. It’s a natural part of living in cyclic, womanly bodies to feel different in the various phases of our menstrual cycle. Check out my blog post on living in tune with the phases of your menstrual cycle.
- The domino cycle effect: Ovulation affects PMS. Each of the four phases of your cycle work together and has a domino affect on each other. There’s both a physical and energetic side to this. The creative and sexual energy that peaks at ovulation needs to be expressed and honored. If we don’t follow the instincts of our creative energy, it can trigger PMS symptoms and feelings of disconnection, moodiness, and grief.
- Keeping your blood sugar stable is necessary to keep your hormones balanced and PMS symptom-free. You need nutrients and regular nourishing meals to flow with ease. When you enter the luteal phase which is the second stage of your menstrual cycle that happens after ovulation, your metabolic rate increases with the hormonal changes that happen leading up to your moon-time. So make sure to nourish yourself with healthy foods until you feel satisfied and at ease.
- Be aware of xenoestrogens: endocrine disruptors that have an estrogen-like affect, throw off hormonal balance, and cause PMS. Our animal bodies are easily thrown of balance with the myriad of chemicals in our living environment, including what we wear and put on our bodies. Stay alert to chemicals in cleaning products, skin care, make-up, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, food preservatives, conventional meat, dairy and fruit, plastic, and unfortunately many more things.
Understanding the energy of your pre-menstrual phase & how to work with it
“Bone by bone, hair by hair, Wild Woman comes back. Through night dreams, through events half understood and half remembered…” Clarissa P. Estés
The premenstrual phase, like perimenopause, is the time of the wild woman. When I say wild woman, I don’t mean a woman out of control. I’m referring to the untamed power that emerges when you pull back the veil of the “good girl”.
We live in a world where the archetypal energy of the premenstrual woman carries shame and isn’t considered valuable. Yet it is necessary we reclaim the wild woman energy to feel whole and at home in all parts of ourselves.
When your energy begins to draw away from the outside world, the veil lifts and your subconscious comes to the surface. You need a quiet space to listen to the deeper feelings, stories, and desires that are arising for you beneath the surface.
The inner voices of PMS, the sensitivity, and the turmoil are voices of our inner selves begging to be heard and mothered.
Learning how to work with our wild woman energy means welcoming all faces of yourself and learning to sit with your own shadow, deepest needs, and untamed feminine soul.
Working with PMS: When you begin to make space for the energy of your premenstrual phase with self-care and time for introspection, this becomes a potent time for clarifying your needs and course-correcting your life through listening to what comes up for you in your body, emotionally and intuitively.
Solutions & My favorite habits and practices for enjoying your pre-menstrual phase
1. Plan ahead by tracking your cycle.
In my daily planner I always write a the top of the page which day of my cycle it is, what phase it is, how I’m feeling, and what’s happening in my body. I always rest more, do more self-care practices, and try to eat and sleep more regularly. Despite the extra rest I plan in, this is also often when I get the most done. The way your premenstrual brain notices detail at this time can be used to your advantage.
This is the time to focus on completing projects, tie up loose ends, and listen closely to the emotions that come up for you. The emotions and feelings that surface at this time sprout from the subconscious and provide guidance for what you need to live in alignment with your needs, desires and Inner Woman.
2. Create new beliefs around your inner wild woman: learn to meet your needs & work with the emotions of the pre-menstrual phase.
Although you might not carry conscious shame or limiting beliefs around your cycle, most of us have grown up hearing jokes or complaints about PMS. We’ve grown used to a society that favors productivity over introspection. It is rare to hear women that speak of the power they experience during their premenstrual phase or how they enjoy their emotional nature.
In the premenstrual phase, our Inner Woman is awake with a deeper sensitivity, emotion, clarity and a both yin and yang energy. The raw feminine energy of this phase is one that isn’t given much space in our tamed culture, so it is up to you to welcome and express it in a nourishing way. Often this means we have to face our own shadows and begin to welcome and express all flavors of our Inner Woman.
Use your favorite practices for introspection and connection to connect with your Inner Woman and the deeper wisdom beneath the emotions and feelings that come up for you.
3. Turn up your sleep, turn down your stress & turn of the light.
Persistent stress affects hormones, big time! If you are experiencing irritability, moodiness, major cravings or overwhelm with your menstrual cycle, this is the perfect place to start.
Stress at an earlier stage in your monthly cycle can set the stage for PMS. Persistent stress makes it impossible for your body to create just the right amounts and combinations of hormones that it takes to feel good. Instead you may be left with too much cortisol, and an imbalanced amount of progesterone vs. estrogen, leaving you with various symptoms of PMS to signal the imbalance.
Persistent stress includes lack of sleep or deep rest, skipping meals, lack of nutrition, high stress levels, unexpressed emotions, as well as perhaps the trickiest one to avoid in today’s world: using a lot of artificial light which interferes with hormone levels.
Exposure to light affects the menstrual cycle, as well as many body functions. When we are exposed to artificial light at night, we interfere with the release of melatonin, which can then disrupt regular progression of hormones and lead to PMS.
So tonight, dim your light & gaze at the moon. We need night time darkness, ease, and deep rest to thrive.
4. Nourish your painful breasts with breast massage.
Breast massage works wonders for the congestion, pain, and swelling that some women experience in relation to PMS. Breast massage can help to dissolve swollen glands, fluid-like cysts and promote lymphatic drainage and circulation in the breasts. Besides the physical benefits, I also love it as a way to connect with my Inner Woman. It’s meditative, soothing and allows me the time to connect with my deeper needs and emotions.
Simply add oil, and gently massage your whole breasts with small circles and sweeping strokes. Use your breath to inhale into your breasts and exhale to release tension and congestion.
If you experience quite severe pain, or lumpiness you can do a Castor Oil pack before your breast massage.
5. Massage your womb & belly for a healthy uterus, hormonal health and pelvic vitality.
Womb massage is wonderful to support your uterus into optimal alignment, stagnancy in the pelvis can inhibit blood flow and affect hormone balance. In my Womb Massage Sessions I use The Arvigo Techniques Of Mayan Abdominal Therapy and teach you their self-care massage to use at home. I use this self-care massage myself regularly. Both for the physical and emotional effects.
6. One of my own regular rituals for this phase is Yoni Steaming.
I just love it. It is the best way for me to prepare for my moontime. Adding this ritual in can give you that stillness you need to stay nourished during your premenstrual phase. Read all about it my Complete Guide To The Feminine Ritual Of Yoni Steaming.
A note on Full Moon Cycle vs. New Moon Cycle
In todays world women bleed at all different phases of the moon. Hormones are very easily impacted by artificial light, lifestyle choices, stress, sleep and more, so of course our feminine bodies and cycles will reflect this. Although there definitely isn’t a right and a wrong, your experience of your menstrual cycle is greatly affected by the moon phase along side of it. Each phase of the moon is rich with its own emotional and energetic pull.
For many women it can intensify their symptoms when they cycle near or around the full moon. There is a rising energy at the time of the full moon that can feel intense in correlation to the downward pull of our premenstrual and bleeding phases. It’s like the yin of our bodies clashing with yang of the full moon.
Minimizing artificial light and getting sufficient darkness and deep sleep can help you to sync up with the new moon, as women mostly do in natural environments.
That’s my answer to your question ‘A’. It’s tricky for all of us to build new habits, sometimes it feels like we end up going the wrong way, even with the best intentions.
It takes dedication to nourish and sit with ourselves in the premenstrual phase and follow the internal guidance of our Inner Woman. Mother yourself through this process and this might just turn into your favorite time of the month.
It is my hope that all women will discover the immense wisdom that is available within the premenstrual phase and perimenopause. It’s time to reclaim our darkest depths and take a seat in all the faces of our Inner Woman.