If we are women and menstruate, I am sure it’s not by accident. Menstrual cycle has many functions and the purpose of the present article is to present you some of the health benefits it has.
1. It helps with stress management
As Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Wurlitzer say it in their book entitled “Wild Power”, our menstrual cycle is our best stress management system. We, as women, are told regularly, by nature, about the importance of productivity and rest. For instance, in the first part of our cycle, our energy is directed more towards ourselves. We are reminded by nature that we need rest in order to be functional and efficient. We need rest in order to balance our hormones and to be alright in our shoes. We need rest in order to start the second part of our cycle refreshed and with a new positive energy that will help us achieve targets and overcome them, take care of our families, meet up with friends and be physically active.
In the second part of our cycle, our energy is directed towards outside, we are more active and in a better overall mood. We are social, we want to do and see things. We feel tuned. Often, based on how we feel during this phase, we criticise ourselves for how we are during our first phase. When we menstruate, we tend to have the bad habit of continuing at the same peace as before. This exhausts us and makes us very self-critical. We find it difficult to let go and relax. But this is what our period asks us to do. And it has many reasons for doing so.
It is a natural way to de-stress and restore that energy we need for later. If we do no respond to this and we carry on as before, we might feel unmotivated, depressed, maybe a bit anxious and very exhausted.
2. It makes us aware of our vulnerabilities
We are all unique and we all have vulnerabilities. We are sensitive to particular aspects and we fear certain things. We are human beings, and it is normal to be emotional.
As women, we connect to ourselves via our menstrual cycle. It is a direct line towards who we are, who we want to be and where we are. When we bleed our vulnerabilities accentuate. One explanation for this is that our hormones’ levels are down at the beginning of our cycle, letting us with no energy. This impacts our mood as our neurotransmitters are impacted by the low level of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone in our body. Thus, during this time, our fears and vulnerabilities might become more visible because we have less resources to cope with them. Now, it is our chance to observe and acknowledge them.
My advice? Try seeing what they want to tell you and what role do they have. Once you start being aware of your vulnerabilities, you will have less tendency to want to “cover” them and be reactive. You will probably accept them easier and feel more at ease with your own.
3. It preserves health
In line with the de-stress principle, our menstrual cycle, if we listen to it, it protects us from illnesses, addictions and other misleading behaviours.
If we listen to it, we will notice that before and during menstruation, it will ask as to rest, bring the energy inwards and be more relaxed. Normal days might feel exhausting, family and friends might be just too much. It is important to listen to our core needs and get some rest. Otherwise, without acknowledging this fatigue, we will continue to pursue. How? By putting in place our bad habits to keep us going. We will increase coffee intake for more energy, smoke more to reduce stress, etc. This will in turn impact our health.
4. You will discover your pattern and improve efficiency
When we practice menstrual cycle awareness, we become closer to ourselves. We will start to observe our behaviours and reactions more attentively and to be more in contact with our emotions and feelings. Thus, we will start noticing that certain behaviours will occur more often than others, that we are more susceptible to criticism in a certain period of the cycle, etc. Similarly, we will start noticing that our moods might actually be predictable and follow a certain pattern.
My advice? Write down in a diary how you feel so you can see how your mood fluctuates day by day and if there are certain patterns that repeat regularly. This will help you to organise your tasks and it will give you a better idea of how to schedule your activities to maximise efficiency and productivity. For instance, go for presentations and social events in your ovulatory period when your energy is directed rather towards the external world and keep the work you have to do on yourself for the first phase of your cycle when your energy is directed towards your inner-self. Similarly, if you have any decisions you have to take but you keep hesitating, your premenstrum period is definitely the moment when you know what path to go.