Each month, a woman’s period signals potential stressors that might be impacting her body. Here’s how you can better listen to it’s telling you.
As women, our hormones play a significant role in our biology. We are cyclical over the course of approximately 21-35 days, and our hormones fluctuate day-to-day throughout the course of this cycle.
These fluctuations are the reasons behind how you’re feeling (such as your energy levels) and what you’re drawn to (hello, chocolate!). In other words, if you pay close attention and tune into your cycle, you can develop an inner wisdom with your own body.
We, as women, are made to have a menstrual cycle every month. While some may struggle with regular cycles due to conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis, others may struggle to have a regular period because of stressors from the everyday life – including low body weight, environmental stress, mental health, or stress from exercise.
In fact, your period is similar to a report card for your body’s stress.
It tells you how well you’re keeping your stress levels at bay and taking care of your body’s needs. That’s because a regular period, in a healthy female, occurs when the body feels safe. Stress often signals to the body that something is not right and indicates it may not be the right time to prepare for conception.
The truth is, stress is inevitable; however, you can start paying attention to your cycle by tracking your menstruation and noticing symptoms of how you’re feeling day-to-day to tune into the clues of how your body is doing.
If you’ve noticed that your period is irregular or if you have absent menstruation, ask yourself these questions to become your own expert on your body.
- What’s going in my life that has been potentially stressful on my body?
- Am I exercising too much, or too hard?
- Am I more fatigued by exercise than rejuvenated and energized?
- Am I eating enough food?
- Am I getting enough calories, fat, or carbohydrates in my diet?
- Am I listening to my cravings or honoring my hunger?
- Do I have a practice for dealing with stress at work or home, such as yoga, meditation, or daily quiet time?
- Is my relationship with food peaceful, or anxious?
Answer these questions honestly, and remember to react neutrally to whatever comes up for you. Your answers are not meant to cause distress or guilt for not putting your self-care as a priority; rather, they are meant to be empowering and educating on what is happening with your body.
By paying attention to your cycle and the effect of stress on your body, it will allow you to take ownership of your body, regain perspective, and understand what actions you can take to mitigate stress. Just listen closely, and let your inner wisdom guide you.
We are, after all, life-long learners of our bodies.
Adapted from the original post.
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Victoria Yates, RN is a Registered Nurse & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor based in Westchester, NY who focuses on helping women reach a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. She is passionate about guiding others reprogram negative thoughts around food and body image so they may experience a truly joyful life.