Trying Out ‘The High 5 Habit’ During the Luteal Phase

Dear Hearts…

The year is marching on, the seasons shifting in one direction or the other depending on which corner of the earth you find yourself. Here, in my own little haven, I’ve been breathing more deeply, making the most of the deliciously dry and sunny early winter days while I am quietly laying the foundation for the upcoming book projects, content and resources that I’m working on. 

If you follow my work, then you already know that I am passionate about exploring various methods of cultivating calm, relieving anxiety and ultimately developing a balanced sense of self, even in the face of adversity. So, when new mindfulness or personal development tools are on my radar, I am always intrigued to investigate and experiment with integrating them into my personal self-care (or soul care) practices. That said, a few months ago, all the buzz and positive reviews around renowned author, Mel Robbins’, latest self-help book, The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit, caught my attention. Robbins describes the ‘High 5 Habit’ as a “holistic approach to life that changes your attitude, your mindset and your behavior.” Robbins shares that she began cementing this somewhat peculiar habit in her own self-care routine during a particularly challenging period of her life when she was, “exhausted, beaten down and burnt out”. She immediately noticed the positive impact her new habit had on her, how it uplifted her energy and catalyzed a profound shift in her relationship with herself. When she began sharing her ‘high 5 habit’ online during the pandemic, she was blown away by the effect it had on people who also started practicing it. 

What Exactly is the ‘High 5 Habit’? 

To practice this very simple approach, she guides readers and online challenge participants to start the day by taking a few minutes to connect with themselves in front of the mirror. The general instructions for the process are as follows:  

When you brush your teeth in the morning, take a few minutes to look at yourself in the mirror. 

Set an intention for the day. 

Think about how you are going to show up, who you are going to be and what matters most to you in terms of the areas you want to make progress in for that particular day. 

Then you raise your hand and high five your reflection in the mirror to seal the intention. 

In all honesty, at first glance, the ‘high 5 habit’ seemed a bit cheesy. I am big on setting intentions and journaling in the morning (see my latest journal Soulful Sunrise: A Mindful Morning Reflection Journal available on Amazon), and although I’m also familiar with the concept of ‘mirror work’, its benefits and have done many such exercises, I wasn’t quite sure how Mel Robbins’ method would be any different to that. Out of curiosity, I decided to go ahead and just be open to the possibility that it may surprise me. I figured that the luteal phase would be a great time for me to experiment with Robbins’ method. It’s the period of the female cycle that often brings up all kinds of strong emotions, anxieties and when we may feel drained or fatigued. It is the period of time when my inner critic surfaces, so I am more likely to list all my perceived failings and go down a negative spiral. We often fall into the trap of nitpicking our appearance and berating ourselves during those moody premenstrual days. And of course, on cycles where you happen to be trying to conceive (TTC) or going through fertility treatment, the emotional turmoil and anxiety can be even more pronounced during the two week wait (TWW). Mindfulness exercises, art therapy, tea meditations and yoga have all been beneficial resources for me to lean on during the TWW. So, uncertain of what to expect, I was curious to explore whether the ‘high 5 habit’ could be another nurturing tool to add to the mix. On cycle day 15, the first day of my luteal phase, I showed up in front of the bathroom mirror, looked into my own eyes in the reflection and followed through with the ‘high 5 habit’ guidelines. I kept a basic log of my experience, and here is a glimpse at what I noticed over the course of the first seven days:  

By the end of that first week, I could appreciate what Mel Robbins had been talking about. Robbins puts forward that because of the positive association with the act of high-fiving, it immediately stirred up feel-good energy, making it easier to cultivate affirming thoughts rather than self-deprecating ones. I certainly noticed that. I enjoyed the feeling of unexpected comfort, calm and inner joy that it awakened in me. I was also very aware of how it enabled me to keep my inner critic in check. 

Reviewing the book in her article, writer, Natasha Lavender, summed it up perfectly when she wrote: 

“You’ve probably performed this gesture hundreds of times before. Your brain subconsciously knows what a high-five means: celebration, reassurance, teamwork, determination. So when you give your reflection a high- five, your brain automatically gives you that little thrill you get when you do it with someone else. It tells you that you’re cheering on the person you’re high-fiving—in this case, yourself.”

In essence, we have a psychological predisposition to mine uplifting thoughts and feelings when we carry out a simple physical act that has an associative feel-good factor. Put that way, the impact of exercise makes a lot of sense.  

Lavender’s article goes further to say that: 

“Facing yourself in the mirror can be an intimidating experience. Not because of the things you don’t like about your reflection, but because it makes you take stock of all the life experiences you’re carrying around. That includes sad things that have happened to you, and bad things you’ve done that you haven’t forgiven yourself for. That’s why a high-five is such a perfect gesture for repairing that relationship with yourself. It’s lighthearted, but it also means something serious: We’re on the same team, and I’m going to be here for the struggles and the celebrations.” 

The feeling of being fully held, seen and supported is truly underrated and this was one of the exercises that showed me the extent to which we support others, but regularly and often unconsciously abandon or disassociate from ourselves. Are we as happy to see ourselves in the mirror as we are when we see a friend or loved one? Do we offer ourselves nurturing internal dialogue when we’re feeling low (the way we would a friend) or do we berate ourselves further? Robbins found that many of us either ignore or criticize ourselves in the mirror. Practicing the ‘high 5 habit’ reminded me on a daily basis that I owe it to myself to be more present and compassionate to ME. It also reinforced that each day I have a choice as to how I show up, a choice to focus more intently on what matters most to me and that in itself is empowering regardless of the many pear-shaped things I am unable to control.

 A Forbes article by speaker and author, Blake Morgan, reminds us that:

“No one is immune to challenges and dark times. The strain of the world and work challenges can feel overwhelming and isolating, especially for entrepreneurs. But the simple habit of taking just a few minutes for yourself and giving yourself a high five can change your day, and over time can change your life. When you’re excited to see yourself and cheer yourself on, you can take control of your life and make amazing things happen.”

Whether you experiment with the ‘high 5 habit’ or not, the sentiment rings true in any situation – When you show up for YOU and meet yourself with compassion, you rebuild your relationship with yourself. You rebuild your sense of self-worth (and boy has my self-worth needed a lot of repairing I’m the midst of subfertility and pregnancy loss). You make empowering decisions that benefit your wellbeing and personal growth. You are reminded that you deserve your own love, kindness and devotion just as much as everyone else in your life does.

Have you read the book, “The High 5 Habit”? Have you tried out this practice? What was your experience like? 

If not, which practices help you connect with and nurture yourself? 

Thoughts on Tending to Your Inner Wellbeing & Finding Healing After Miscarriage

Monday greetings to you! It’s new day and new week, and tomorrow the vibrant full moon will grace us with her luminous feminine beauty. Are you finding ways to keep breathing and to nurture yourself as you put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time? I hope so.

There are a few new blogposts that explore different paths to integrating mindfulness, energy/womb healing, relaxation practices and self-care rituals into your fertility journey coming to this space soon. I’ll be posting this new content over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I  wanted to take a moment to share two articles that I had published on Fertility Road Magazine and Harness Magazine recently:

3 Ways to Tend to Your Inner Wellbeing: One key lesson that my personal experience of fertility challenges has taught me is that tending to your inner self is just as important as nurturing your body’s health and wellbeing when it comes your fertility journey. With this in mind, I recently wrote an article for Fertility Road Magazine offering three ways in which you can work on taking care of your inner world and supporting your emotional wellbeing when the going gets tough…Click to Read the Full Article.

Finding Healing in Unexpected Places: Finding balance and healing beyond miscarriage is not an easy thing to do. In my most recent article for Harness Magazine, I wrote a piece about my personal experience of Finding Healing in Unexpected Places:

“Yet, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d been holding in until we’d arrived there—the heaviness, the stress and tension in my body, and the deep sadness that seemed to permeate everything. I was exhausted. I felt broken and emotionally depleted. Between grieving a miscarriage, getting to grips with the challenges of infertility, taking on too many new projects to avoid my reality and working myself to the point of burnout, it had been a grueling year. However, within hours of arriving at the coast, I felt the layers of built-up tension stripping away from my body and soul…” Read Full Article Here…

Happy reading ❤


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.


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.


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.