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03 May, 2023

A Mindful Approach to Your Cycle with our mind expert Sarah

Feel out of whack often at different parts of your cycle? Our hormones can have a huge impact on both our mental and physical health. We chat to our mind expert Sarah to help you break through some of the misunderstandings, frustration or confusion to allow you to have a better understanding of yourself, how to live more in balance with our bodies and appreciate the phenomenal power they hold.


As a woman, you’ll be all too familiar with the ups and downs, changes, inconsistency and challenges that can occur throughout your monthly cycle. Also throw in the fact that each of our bodies are unique and we each have our own independent hormonal experience which can add to the complexity of understanding our cycles. We would like to therefore help you break through some of the misunderstandings, frustration or confusion to allow you to have a better understanding of yourself, how to live more in balance with our bodies and appreciate the phenomenal power they hold. We call this segment, ‘A Mindful Approach to your Cycle’ combining helpful mindfulness techniques and approaches towards a woman’s hormonal experience.

The link between mental and physical health has been identified and discussed in research and mainstream media, but more recently emphasis is now being placed more specifically on the relationship between our hormones and our mental health. Think of hormones as the gates to our experiences, they are the chemicals inside of us, helping or hindering the type of energy our body produces and affecting certain bodily processes (ie. appetite). It makes sense then as to why we are now having a more open discussion about the hormonal experience women have and appreciating the effect this then has on our mental health.

Hormones and Mental Health are directly correlated. For example, a decrease in Estrogen and Progesterone can make us more irritable and anxious, and chronic stress (long periods of cortisol in the body) can exacerbate an underlying state of depression. It’s important to start with getting the ‘right’ information pertaining to you (always speak to your GP or Gyno) but the following Mindfulness techniques are accessible and applicable to any woman inclusive of any stage or age (ie. menopausal, perimenopausal).

  1. The first step of cultivating a Mindfulness practice is to become curious. I find I can easily get self- critical and blame myself/my body when I’m PMSing or have to lay down with a hot water bottle with cramps, but I quickly remind myself to switch into curiosity mode. This is where we can ask ourselves questions such as ‘What does my body need right now? What is it trying to tell me? What is it trying to accomplish right now?’ Curiosity brings in a lightness in any situation, it diffuses the emotion and drives us towards just wanting to know more. Curiosity quietens the Judgement around our experience and Judgement is what we try to notice and soften in Mindfulness, not because we don’t want to have an opinion about things, but because Judgement can often cloud our ability to make sound healthy choices. Ask questions, knowledge is power, and try to catch anytime you are judging yourself or your body for what it is naturally born to do.
  2. Another helpful Mindfulness practice to use is seeing things as opportunities vs challenges. As your hormones change you will have the chance to see yourself from a few different angles, each equally good and powerful. Try to avoid labelling a part ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but see all parts of your cycle as equally beneficial because they offer you the opportunity to do/be slightly different. The changes in your cycle provides offers you the opportunity to add some variety into your monthly routine. Ie. have a different exercise plan in week 1&2 (maybe more cardio and strength based) and then change it in week 3&4 (to more restorative and less high intensity) when you may be more tired and need more rest.
  3. Acceptance is a key principle to Mindfulness since the biggest thief of joy is to desire something different than you have. Work WITH your cycle, not against it. A great way to balance your hormones through Mindfulness is to map out what activities work best on which week of your cycle (ie. When do you feel more creative, social or introspective). This will empower you to see strength in all areas and allow you to still feel good about yourself and productive. For example, I always make sure I do any public speaking or networking during week 1 or 2 when I usually feel more social and outwardly confident. I then plan a lot of my admin and head down work later in the month when I may be more sensitive or emotional (which are still strengths) and I use being in those states as an opportunity to be more in touch with myself.
  4. Last, and most importantly, is Self Compassion. To be Mindful we must be able to give ourselves a break, a big pat on the back and treat ourselves with the same kindness we give others.

5 Minute Meditation

If you’re new to meditating or struggle with it (I often do too! And this is totally normal!) or if you’re short for time (don’t let that be an excuse) start by setting a timer for 3 minutes, find a comfortable place to sit (try to avoid laying down so that you remain alert but comfortable) and close your eyes, placing one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. This already indicates to the body you care about yourself (self-soothing through touch is essential in growing self compassion). Start by taking a few simple deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now start to count how long you inhale for (try to breath in slowly) and when you exhale try to extend it for 1 or 2 counts longer than the inhale. Repeat until the timer goes off (you’ll be surprised how quick time goes!). I often end my practice thanking myself for carving out time (however brief), taking a moment to pause and becoming more aware of myself. If you’re more advanced at meditative breathing, try introducing helpful questioning such as ‘what do I need to let go of to find more peace?’ ‘what help do I need right now?’ ‘what’s working?’ or simply ‘what am I feeling currently?’

Whatever age or stage you are in, being empathetic and encouraging to yourself is key to triggering our feel good hormones. We preface this again with encouraging getting sound, professional medical advice in order to ensure you are not ignoring any underlying health issues and always ask for help from your support system.

‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’ - Kabat-Zinn 2004.

Our NEW 10-Day Spring Balance programme: discover how to listen to your body, treat it well and tune into your hormonal cycles. Our holistic Spring Balance Programme delivers 10 days of Detox Kitchen food & drink delivered directly to your door every day, as well as supporting gifts to help you feel your absolute best this spring. Find out more here.

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