Self-Care Rituals for Cycle Day 1

The arrival of your period is often the last thing that you want when you’re trying to conceive and hoping for your ‘big fat pink’. So, it goes without saying that ‘cycle day 1’ can end up feeling like a dreaded guest who shows up at the worst time simply to shatter your hopes. It’s difficult not agonise over the profound sense of loss or failure that my surface, and it’s the kind of thing that makes you feel like your body is working against you. This is something I struggled with tremendously in the initial years of my personal fertility journey. It took a long while to recognise the need to reframe my thinking around my period, to see things differently in order to help keep a balanced perspective and ease the emotional distress I experienced from month to month.

下腹部を押さえる女性

In her book “The Optimised Woman – Using your menstrual cycle to achieve success and fulfilment”, author, Miranda Gray, suggests that the menstrual phase of a women’s cycle is a time to slow down, let go of outer stresses or concerns and to focus your attention on nurturing your inner self and practicing self-care instead. Adding to this,  fertility and women’s health expert, Emma Cannon, in her book ‘The Baby-Making Bible’, wrote that “It [your period] is the symbol of a new beginning…Day One heralds the beginning of the next cycle.” Cannon encourages women to “Think of it as a fresh start: another month in which to get healthy.”

Drawing inspiration from guiding words such as these, with time and practice I’ve allowed myself to see it as a time to shed the old and as an opportunity to start anew. I’ve come to understand that my moontime (menses) is a valuable barometer of my health and fertility. Along with this, developing self-cares practices have been the greatest source of medicine for my soul, making it a sacred time to debrief, breathe and reset for a few days, something that I actually look forward to. If there is one key lesson that keeps being reinforced on this journey, it’s that one the path to becoming a mother I’ve learnt how to be a mother to and nurture myself. The more I tend to wellbeing, my health and incorporate energy/womb healing, mindfulness and relaxation practices into my daily life, the easier, more regular and balance my periods become. I make a point of constantly asking myself – what is the most healing thing I can do for me? The answers are always simple – it’s more healing to surrender and express gratitude when my moontime arrives (esp. bearing in mind that it’s a healthy indicator of my ability to conceive and carry a child) than it is to fight against it. And it’s more healing to nurture myself in calming ways than to get stressed out and spiral down into negative emotions or self-hate.

Woman relaxing in bath with foam and petals

Three Self-Care Rituals for Cycle Day 1

Magnesium Baths: After hearing many good things about the benefits of magnesium and how it can help with menstrual pain, I decided to experiment with adding magnesium to my baths during my moontime. Six cycles later, I’m glad that I did, because this has proven to be a beautifully relaxing away to release body tension and ease menstrual cramps. I also add a few drops of clary sage and lavender oils to help balance and ground me. I light some candles and just take my time soaking in bathtub and reading poetry or prose to soothe my soul. It’s a beautifully calming way to create space of me-time. It’s worth checking out the article – Healing Baths for Each Phase of Your Cylce – by Bri Braggs, found of Fertile Alchemy. She has some wonderful bath soak recipes and suggestions on how to support your body during your moontime.

Yoga: Yoga is credited with many benefits to general wellbeing and for fertility as well. For me, it’s been a really great way to connect with my root and sacral chakra energy centres, loosen stiff and tight hips, release lower back pain. It helps with stagnant flow and to ease my blood clots (although since working with my Fertility Naturopath over the last year I struggle less with this sort clots and pain). Overall, leaves me feeling light, grounded and emotionally balanced. A couple of my favourite go-to yoga videos for this phase of my cycle are Brett Larkin’s ‘Yoga for Pain & Period Cramps’ and ‘Yoga for Fertility’.  

Womb Healing Meditations: Since the uterus is shedding what it no longer needs it seems the perfect time do some womb healing and clear the energy in my womb space. There are various ways in which you can approach womb healing exercises. I tend in use visual meditations, reiki healing to clear my sacral and energetic womb space, crystal healing and colour therapy and self-fertility massage. I’ve also incorporated the mantra given to me when I received the Munay Ki womb rites training a few years back, which is : “The womb is not a place to store pain and fear. The womb is a place to create and give birth to new life.” Working with this mantra has been helpful in allowing me to release pain, fear and negative emotions that I project onto my feminine self. So it’s worth taking some time explore what you feel drawn to and experiment with what works for you.

お腹をおさえる女性

If you like, here is a ‘3-Minute Womb Breathing Meditation’ try out: 

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and allow yourself to relax. Take a few deep breaths, in and out. Place your hands on you lower abdomen/pelvic area beneath your belly button. Now, breathing deeply, draw your breath into your womb space and visualize loving light and healing energy flowing in as you do. Release any tension stored in this space on the exhale. Spend a few moments practising this visualization, breathing into your womb space, sending love to your ovaries, your uterus, your pelvic bowl and releasing any tension from this space.

 

Advertisements

Create Your Own “Soul Therapy Box” for TTC Self Care

Soul Therapy Box.

A little space for you to retreat to when you need some extra love.

Fill it with gentle things to comfort, ground and restore your soul on those difficult days when life feels so hard.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

 

How do you keep breathing through your hardest moments?

You know those days, the ones where you’re feeling triggered, where anxiety runs high and your heart is heavy with grief and longing? Those days where the stress of trying is taking toll on your tired body and you don’t know how to stay strong, positive or hopeful anymore?

Are you able to meet yourself with kindness?

You often tend to be hardest on yourself during those sticky moments when you’re plagued by feelings of inadequacy and are slipping slowly into the depths of despair. Yet, that is the very instance when you need to soften, breathe deeper and lean into the mothering energy of the inner nurturer.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

In my last blog post, I wrote about identifying your restorers – the soothing things that you can reach for when you are feeling depleted. Building on that foundation, a ‘soul therapy box’ is simple idea that serves a similar purpose since it is a self-care tool you can turn to when you’re in need of comfort and restoration.

I keep exploring different ways to integrate *TTC self-care rituals into daily life. I feel that this sort of practice is an integral part of creating balanced in our lives and restoring some semblance of harmony within. Emotional/mental distress is a very real by-product of a difficult (and sometimes traumatic) fertility journey, so having the right kind of support is important (both professionally and personally). It’s just as important to create supportive tools and healing strategies for ourselves in order to cope better. That means creating space to show up for YOU when you’re in a place of vulnerability, space to nurture yourself and to offer your inner self the balm it needs when the going gets tough. This is exactly what keeping a ‘soul therapy box’ has allowed me to do for myself. I’ll add that I recently created boxes for a few of my soul sisters who have experiencing a lot of stress lately as well. I was really moved by their overwhelming feedback, because it reinforced just how effective a self-care tool the simple act of keeping a ‘soul therapy box’, ‘care package’ or ‘rescue me kit’ is. In a small way it lessened their mental load, gave each of them permission to carve out more space to tend to/restore their well-being and inspired them to keep cultivating a daily practice of self-love. It really has reminded me once more, not to underestimate the profound impact that taking little steps to be there for yourself can have.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

What to include in your Soul Therapy Box:

You can include anything that you find calming, grounding and that helps bring you back to your centre. Here are some ideas of what works well for me:

  • Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Essences) – I always think of flower essences as a gentle hug for my heart
  • Calming Essential Oils (Lavender – for relaxing baths, Geranium + Chamomile for my oil burner)
  • Soothing Tea (brewing a pot and taking a moment to breathe as I sip a cup is a therapeutic forms of meditation)
  • Gentle crystals to meditate with/calm my mind
  • A Love Letter/Pep talk to Myself (I found some beautiful botanical print cards to write some love letters to myself in. Think of all the encouraging things you’d say to one of your TTC sisters going through similar to what you are right now, then write all of that down in a heartfelt love letter to yourself. Write down everything you love about yourself + everything you have to feel proud of so that it fills you with good vibes/happy feelings when you read it in your time of need.)
  • Bath oils + Facial masks + Skin care treats for a little bit of pampering 
  • A Mini-Gratitude Journal – It’s so helpful to shift your attention to all the wonderful things that are already in your life when you’re feeling a little low. 
  • Remember to keep refilling your soul therapy box so that you continue to enjoy a nurturing routine that supports your well-being.

I added some nice chocolates to the boxes that I made for my friends (though not to mine since I’m trying to manage my PCOS/hormones/Insulin). So the idea is to find whatever will work best for you, whatever helps lift your spirit and restore your inner resources. When your self-care is a regular practice, then you begin to offset the effects of prolonged stress and distress that could otherwise become overwhelming. And while there are so many factors that are outside of your control, it feels empowering to know that you can take mindful actions to guide yourself back a place of balance in small but nurturing ways.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Have you tried this out? What other supportive routines/daily rituals do you turn to nurture your well-being while TTC? Please share your experiences and ideas in the comments (or use the hashtag – #ttcselfcare on Instagram

 

[ *TTC – Trying to Conceive ]