5 ways to LOVE your body when you’re feeling gross

Maisie BateMenstrual Health, Musings

There can be times in your cycle when it’s tough to even like your body, let alone love it.  Bloating, cramps, mood swings, headaches, stains and leaks and sore boobs – sometimes it can feel like your body is letting you down.

Yet this is the time that your body needs your love more than ever. So here’s my top 5 tips to love your body while you’re bleeding:

1.Pay attention – be mindful of the natural processes your body is going through, the good and the bad. Often we try to block it out with painkillers and tampons so we can carry on as ‘normal’ and get through our to-do list.

Try instead slowing down and noticing the effects of bleeding – on your body and your mind.  Especially on the first day of your cycle, check in with your body and try to keep that awareness going throughout the day.

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2. Appreciate – when you feel rubbish it’s easy to focus on the discomfort – maybe your tummy feels blobby or your skin is driving you crazy. When you find yourself thinking those thoughts, try instead to close your eyes, take a breath and  remember the amazing job your body is doing. Your uterus has swollen up to twice its normal size (!) and is shedding it’s lining to start a new cycle – all signs that your body is healthy.

What could you do to recognise and honour this? Try journalling, meditating, lighting a candle or just saying a silent thanks to your body for doing what it needs to do to stay well. And listen to what comes up for you – after all, we are more intuitive during this sacred time so you never know what you might find! You can find some great tools to help you journal and chart your cycle in the Moon Times shop.

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3. Give yourself permission – make your moon time your own personal retreat. You might not be able to take the whole week off (just imagine!) but you can find small ways to honour this special time and it all starts with giving yourself permission.

Cut out anything extra – leave the washing up and the laundry and ask for help from friends and family. Your body needs this time to rest and renew so if you want to curl up in your pjs and watch a box set, go for it!

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4. Change your stories – we are taught by the media – and sometimes by our loved ones – to think that our bleeding bodies are gross, smelly and something to hide. We’ve internalised those messages and now have an inner critic who tells us we’re gross – we can look in the mirror and only see a blobby belly and oily skin. These stories can be deeply ingrained but your moon time is a special time of releasing and renewing so see if you can make a decision to change even a little bit of that story – and then let it go and try to treat your body like the goddess it is.

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5. Nourish yourself – try to give yourself a bit of extra TLC during this time. Some treats to show your body some love:

  • Extra fluids can make a big difference to bloating and headaches so have a cup of your favourite herbal tea or make a big batch of nourishing soup.
  • You need extra iron and magnesium to recover from bleeding so add a handful of spinach at dinnertime and if you need to reach for the chocolate, try to make it the dark stuff.
  • Exercise might be the last thing on your mind but a gentle walk or a little bit of yoga can help reduce stress and lift your mood. Of course, if you feel like doing nothing, go for it!
  • Heat is your best friend when you’re bleeding – have a warm bath with Epsom salts and essential oils, snuggle up with a hot water bottle or try one of our womb wraps.
  • Sleep is the best treat you can give yourself – try going to bed half an hour early or even a cheeky nap if you can swing it. Just remember – give yourself permission!

Some other posts to make your bleeding time better:

Womb Wraps – Nurture, Hold and Cherish

14 Ways to Have a Better Period

Take a Sacred Day Each Month