Every girl knows that when Aunt Flow comes knocking, you could be in for a rough few days of cramping and feeling a little out of sorts. But did you know that your menstrual cycle is also responsible for the days of the month when you are feeling on top of the world, powering through life and achieving goals?
The power of your cycle and how it is ingrained in your everyday life is often overlooked and is seriously underutilised by women. Menstruation aside, there are three other phases of your menstrual cycle that you can harness to become your best self. When you discover them, you will become empowered and know when you are at your strongest in a given realm, whether it is compassion, empathy, leadership, or confidence.
Better yet, this is already happening naturally in your body and uncovering the moments you step into each power is simpler than you might imagine. It is a matter of taking time to stop and listen to your body and charting how you feel.
A self-discovery and empowerment movement I have founded, called Emgoddess, is showing young women just how much power they can harness by being in tune with their bodies and paying attention to their menstrual cycle.
As the founder of Emgoddess, I know period shaming is still rife in society and as soon as anybody talks about menstruation, it is linked with instant negative connotations. But I have made it my mission to change that.
Somewhere along the line, something that is entirely natural has become taboo, but I am now working to transform this into a worldwide empowerment movement. We have this internal tool that guides us through our month and this tool helps us to work out when we are feeling more focused, more energised, when we are able to achieve more in our days right through to when we are more compassionate and understanding and when we are more inward and reflective.
When we understand that as individuals, we can deal with things life throws at us a lot better and not always be so hard on ourselves.
Through Emgoddess, the four phases of the cycle are given names of Greek Goddesses who embody the qualities that come to the fore while women are in that phase.
Daphne, which is the phase immediately after menstruation, is the phase of energy, where you feel like you can take on more and research has proven this is the time of the month where professional athletes achieve better results. Your skin is more resilient, making this the perfect time to try that new skincare regime. If there is something new you want to try in life – a new hobby, new job, new goals you want to set for yourself – Daphne is the time to do it.
Demeter follows up and is a shorter phase, around three days, during ovulation. Due to the high levels of oestrogen in your body at this time, you are feeling good about yourself and have an extended capacity for compassion and empathy. You also need to be aware that this phase comes with a desire to take more risks and to seek out rewards. For example, you might have an urge to hit up the shops and go on a bit of a spree. On the upside, you feel amazing in your clothes and might see a trend towards shades of pinks and reds. Demeter is a beautiful and loving phase for nurturing and a time where you will truly value relationships with friends, family and a partner if you have one.
Persephone is the phase that’s got the bad wrap, the one people instantly recognise when you talk about the menstrual cycle. Yes, you can be moody, feisty, teary and cranky and all of those things, but while your energy levels may be fluctuating, you are extremely passionate in this phase. If you paint, dance, draw or are creative in any form, this is a wonderfully free phase for channelling that hobby or passion and really feeling into your creativity. If your hormones are making you feel angry or frustrated, moving into something that makes you creative can be really powerful for you.
When you learn to listen to your body and recognise that you are in Persephone, you will know that you only have a few days before you will be out of this phase and it helps you to put things into perspective and avoid starting negative conversations about yourself. Take care of yourself in this phase, stop and take a break, go for a bath, watch a movie and take time out for a couple of hours. This is the time to really look after yourself.
Finally, there’s Hecate, which is day one of your cycle and the phase during menstruation. Yes, there is bleeding, feeling tired, heavy and bloated and you may feel compelled to smash down a box of chocolates and all that stuff, but it’s all fine. This is also a phase to nurture yourself by feeding your body nutritional foods and doing some stretching, like yoga, and moving your body in a comfortable way. Hecate is the perfect phase for reflection because you are emotionally more intuitive. Take a step back, breathe and look at how the past month went for you and you will find you can see things a lot clearer in this phase. Traditionally, women continue to push themselves during this phase, when our bodies are telling us to do the opposite.
While this is a great time to make decisions, wait until you have got your energy back in Daphne to begin executing your plans, because your energy tank will be back up to full by then.
The cycle can answer a lot of questions you might have about yourself. Like why did you get a lot of attention at a party one week and then no one was even looking at you the next? You may have been in Demeter in the first week, where you naturally put out a more loving and interactive vibe. By the time the second event rolled around, you had moved into Persephone and you were subconsciously feeling more vulnerable.
There is a ribbon analogy I use. I spoke to 100 girls at a private school and they all had to wear a white ribbon in their hair every day as part of their uniform. Some days, a girl might do her hair and think she looks absolutely fabulous, and maybe do a bit of a strut in front of the mirror and give herself a bit of a wink, feeling a million dollars. Other days, her hair doesn’t seem to want to go into the ribbon, it’s frizzy and messy and she doesn’t feel right at all. Nothing has changed. The ribbon hasn’t changed, her hair hasn’t changed, it’s simply which phase of the cycle you are in.
When you understand that, you can stop and think about which goddess you are embodying that day and if it is Persephone, you know this phase will soon pass. It is a way to be lighter about it and have more fun with your cycle.
Because a menstrual cycle looks different for every woman, I have found in my years of studying and researching that the most effective way to know which goddess you are channelling at any given time is to chart your own cycle.
There are lots of free resources you can download, including a cycle chart, from emgoddess.com.au.
Give it a try and in just a few short months, you will begin to feel the power of knowing when to accept that party invitation because you will be in your element, and when to opt for a quiet night at the movies with some girlfriends instead.