MOON CYCLES: How reducing stress can help your period, period.
On a scale of feeling like you're living in constant warfare to being fully in harmonious flow, where do you sit?
Most of us can often feel at the top end of this battle mode as stress and anxiety levels are at an all time high. But what's the relationship between stress and our menstrual cycle? How does this affect us? And does it impact our fertility?
Stress impacts our hormonal balance
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious the adrenal glands at the top of our kidneys create cortisol. But what happens if we’re packing stress on top of stress? Our adrenal glands need to borrow hormones from elsewhere. They borrow from our ovarian hormones called progesterone, meaning we have lower levels in our system.
Our monthly cycle is regulated by a particular set of hormones, mainly progesterone and estrogen. When the balance is upset by stress, it can really interfere with our cycle creating emotional disturbances and a whole array of unpleasant symptoms.
Low levels of progesterone interfere with our cycle
When Progesterone levels fall too low, we can become estrogen dominant leading to severe PMS, menstrual headaches, mood swings, menstrual cramps, bloating, breast swelling and tenderness. It can also encourage the growth of endometriosis. Estrogen is a growth hormone, which signals the endometrium to grow, including those endometrium cells living outside of the uterus on the bladder, ovaries and bowel causing lots of discomfort.
Higher stress levels can also change the flow and length of our cycle, as well as when it’s due to arrive.
How can this affect fertility?
Progesterone is known as the pregnancy hormone. This is mainly produced after ovulation in our inner summer phase (middle of our cycle) to prepare the lining of our womb to receive and nourish a fertilised egg so it can begin to develop into a fetus. Progesterone levels are important to maintain the uterus lining and to carry the baby to full term.
Biologically, when the female body does not feel safe or whenever stress appears too high or chronic it can protect itself by shutting down hormone production. This is an evolutionary adaption. Stress indicates to the body that it may not be a safe enough environment to become pregnant.
Getting back in natural flow
Here are some natural options to help reduce stress, create balance and work with our cycles more harmoniously:
1. Walk around barefoot in nature
Our bodies vibrate at eight hertz, the same frequency as nature. When we walk in natural areas, our bodies resonate and absorb this vibrational energy which helps us to feel relaxed and in harmony with any changes going on around us and throughout the month.
Proven to ease not only stress and anxiety but also to reduce inflammation. Meditation also increases our self-awareness. We’re able to cultivate a better understanding of and relationship with pain from periods or chronic pelvic conditions like endometriosis.
3. Gentle Yin or Restorative Yoga
Floor based practices that are designed to nourish and heal. The postures allow your muscles to relax helping to relieve tension from the pelvis as well as activating your rest and digest system replenishing energy levels.
4. Reiki Energy Healing
A deeply nourishing energy that intuitively heals and clears stagnant energy blocks and patterns so energy can flow harmoniously. Following a Reiki session you can expect to feel grounded, relaxed with a greater sense of balance and calmness.
5. Sleep – Chinese Herbal Medicine
I had always struggled with sleep. It would take me an hour to fall asleep and then I’d be woken up by the slightest sound. Chinese herbal medicine helped me to create healthy sleeping patterns which means my body can now rest and restore fully at night.
6. Working with the inner seasons of our cycles
During our period, we are in our inner winter phase. The more we can honour the call to rest and nourish here the more we honour the time our body needs to replenish. When we push against this, we are likely to be depleting our energy creating more stress within our lives.
Image Credit: @earth_altars