Self care continues to become more and more mainstream. However as I developed my own self care routine, I started to realise a lack of self care down there.
Each day I would check items off my self-care menu, and yet some days I would feel completely disconnected. I felt foreign in my own body, like something was just not right.
One day I noticed the self talk going through my head. “I hate my period”. “Why do I have to be a woman?”. “Argh, I am so fat”. “Oh great, I’ve leaked again. Stupid period.”
It was like an epiphany, I suddenly realised how disconnected I was to my womb. And thought, why not incorporate self care for down there. Once I did, it literally changed my life!
Becoming a woman
When I was 16 years old I got my first period. I was so excited! Jumping up and down, and celebrating with myself that I was finally a woman.
I was the last of my friends to get my period. And even though they had told me it was “the worst thing ever”, and were envious I was a late bloomer, I didn’t care. I just wanted to be normal, and get my bloody period (pun intended). I vividly remember checking every day for a year to see if I had any blood, only to be disappointed every time.
The novelty wore off after having my period for a year. I too was like my friends, and hated my period, I hated the mess, I hated being tired and I hated the hormones.
I hated everything about it.
At the age of 17 I started dating, and most of my boyfriends over the next few years had the same opinion about periods. They were disgusting, and didn’t want to be near me when I was bleeding.
And the boys that didn’t share these thoughts I thought were crazy.
For 8 years the story I believed was periods were taboo, disgusting, painful, made me a moody b****, and fun destroyer. I thought it was the worst.
As I grew older, I knew there was no escaping my period, unless I took the pill and skipped my cycle, which I wasn’t a fan of. So I started to educate myself, and began reading books about honouring your cycle, and falling in love with your period.
A little resistant, and in disbelief that any female could ever love her period, I decided to be open-minded and give it a try. Three years later I can tell you, I truly love my period.
Each time I get my period, I am utterly grateful. I love the days I bleed.
This journey hasn’t been easy, and truthfully I still have days where my negative self talk replays the old story I used to believe. The difference now is I catch myself, and focus on self care down there to help me reconnect with my womb.
It starts with getting curious about your vagina, and understanding what feels fabulous for you. I will share the self care practices I have implemented to help me fall in love with my period. Be open minded as you read on, try the suggested exercises and adjust to what feels right for you. If it isn’t a hell YES, then it’s a no.
Get connected with your womb
Connecting with your womb is not a once-off. It’s something you need to do continuously, particularly as you transition through your menstrual cycle, and seasons in life. I don’t get it right all of the time.
The key to remember is that it’s all about awareness. Being aware of when you’re not aligned with what’s true to you. I know I am connected with my womb when I:
- Talk about periods openly with my partner and girlfriends
- Structure my work around my cycle
- Trust my gut instinct, and listen to my intuition
- Feel comfortable talking about sex with my partner and experiment with what feels good for me down there
- Don’t turn to alcohol or food to numb myself
- I don’t compare myself with others
- Don’t bitch or complain
- Follow my truth, inspired by the work I do
- Feel calm and not frantic, anxious or overwhelmed
- Am overflowing with love
- Am creative, and in the flow
If you’re not there yet, don’t fret. Here are 6 practices for self care down there, to help align yourself to your womb.
Try them but remember, if it isn’t a hell YES, then it’s a no, and that’s OK.
6 Practices for Self Care Down There
1. Understand the Seasons in your Cycle
The female body flows through four different stages during your menstrual cycle. Spring and Summer are when women are big on energy, amped up for logic and intense thinking. Autumn and Winter are when females move inwards and withdraw from the world.
The four seasons of the female menstrual cycle:
- Winter: Menstruation (Day 1-end of bleed). We’re most forgiving.
- Spring: Pre-ovulation (Day 7-13). We’re most energised.
- Summer: Ovulation (Day 13-21). We’re most productive.
- Autumn: Pre-menstruation (Day 23-bleed). We’re most organised.
Remember all women are unique, and every cycle is a little different, so your timing might vary.
Whenever I start a new project, or I’m asked to present, I do my best to align these high energy tasks with Spring and Summer seasons.
I also align my exercise regime with my cycle. I listen to what my body is craving during Autumn and Winter and stay clear of high intensity workouts, and go on short walks or practice pilates instead.
If you want to learn more about how to get aligned with your menstrual cycle, listen to the third episode of The Females in Tech Show, Periods and Productivity. How to Leverage your Monthly Cycle.
2. Chart your Menstrual Cycle
Charting isn’t just for women who want to fall pregnant (or don’t want to). It’s a goldmine of information relating to your energy levels.
I use the mobile app flo to chart my cycle. I can log my symptoms, cravings, mood and other relevant information. You start to see trends as you move through your seasons, which help you be your most productive and loving self.
I also share details with my partner so he knows where I am in my cycle, when I need additional support, and reminders to slow down. Plus, he gets advance warning of when I’m in go-go-go mode and want everything on my to-do list done yesterday.
Do some research, and find an app that works for you.
Understand which season you’re in, and use this information to set achievable goals and help you be the best version of you. For example:
- Coordinate project deadlines in your Summer or Spring season (as best you can)
- Add extra self-care practices during your Autumn when you’re feeling the most self-conscious
- Book relaxing yoga and pilates classes during your Winter, rather than going full-steam at the gym
3. Use Organic Feminine Hygiene Products
There are so many nasty chemicals and bleaches in regular tampons and pads. These nasties are transferred from the hygiene products into your bloodstream, negatively affecting your hormone levels.
Your skin is your largest organ, and absorbs anything that it touches. The last thing we want is to ingest chemicals into our bloodstream, and particularly near our womb.
This video highlights the difference between organic and non-organic sanitary pads:
I recommend using organic feminine hygiene products to avoid as many chemicals as possible. For example:
- Tom Organic tampons and pads, and also Cottons
- Biome OrganiCup Menstrual Cup
- Modibodi period undies (at night)
Like all things, you need to choose an option that feels right for you.
4. Practice Daily Mantras
If you’re anything like me, your negative self talk is at an all time high a week before, and during your period. This is completely normal, as you have a big drop in testosterone during your Autumn phase, which makes you feel extremely self conscious, and doubt yourself.
You’ll say or have thoughts like:
- Argh, I’m about to get my period, bring on the mood swings
- I am so fat, look at that cellulite
- Great another breakout of pimples, it must be that time of the month
This is the last thing you need to be telling yourself before entering Winter, the most sacred part of your cycle.
Your bleeding days are a great time for self-reflection. Releasing things that no longer serve you, and restoring your creative and spiritual energy. Filling your mind with negative thoughts will leave you feeling more miserable and insecure.
I like to make the most of this sacred time. I have some mantras and positive affirmations that help me reconnect with myself during this time. Each morning on my bus trip I repeat them to myself:
- My womb is my power source. The safest place is to be in my body.
- I am not broken, I live my life from a place of love.
- I'm at home in my body
- I take charge of my mind and my life. I am a powerful, dynamic woman. Every part of my body functions perfectly. I love me.
- I am both powerful and desirable. It’s wonderful to be a woman. I love myself and I am fulfilled.
- I'm grateful for my period, and the beautiful gift it allows me to give the world.
- I have something special to offer the world
- I respect my body's needs and treat it with the kindness that it deserves
- I'm grateful for this wonderful day and the endless possibilities it has to offer. I know something great is in store for me.
Feel free to use the same affirmations, and copy and paste into your Notes on your mobile phone.
5. Womb massage
This is one of my favourite self care practices for down there.
Please do NOT practice this massage if you’re on your period, pregnant or have a coil.
This massage brings fresh blood and energy to your womb and digestive organs. It helps release tension, stress and dissolve emotional blockages.
You can practice the womb massage yourself, or together with your partner. Use organic desegregated coconut oil and clary calm oil (or an oil of your choice – lavender is also beautiful).
Make sure the oil is warm, and your bladder is empty. Put on some soothing music and light some candles. Wear loose clothing or lay naked on the bed. Do what feels right for you.
Stop if you find it painful in any way.
How to do a Womb Massage:
- Breath slowly and mindfully for five minutes to make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable. I like to place my hands on my womb and start to connect.
- Gently rub circular clockwise movements between each hip bone. Adding more pressure each time.
- When you’re ready, move your fingers towards your upper abdomen, it will feel a little tender. Gently press down, and take a deep breath. On the breath out move your fingers to just above your belly button, maintaining the pressure. Repeat three times.
- Move your fingers below you left ribcage. Take a deep breath and move diagonally to your belly button. Repeat three times.
- Repeat on the right side.
- Place your hands on your lower belly, and close your eyes. Feel the love, gratitude and warmth you have for your womb.
Drink lots of water after your practice, and pay attention to how your womb responds. Tune in to your body, and do what is right for you.
5. Yoni Egg
This is another of my favourite self care practices.
Please do not use Yoni Egg if you’re pregnant, or have an IUD fitted.
The Yoni Egg (also known as a Jade Egg or Love Egg) was discovered in China over 4,000 years ago. It was typically used by women in the royal household to strengthen their vagina, increase their sexual power, awaken their sensuality and maintain amazing health.
The egg is made out of jade (a stone) which is known to help release negative thoughts, soothe and calm the nervous system, and stimulate creative thinking.
My partner was the first person to introduce me to the Yoni Egg, after listening to a podcast on its benefits. These included:
- Tone and strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Alleviate pelvic floor pain
- Naturally increase fertility
- Reconnect to your sexuality
- Enhance creativity and power
- Heal past sexual trauma
- Reduce painful menstruation
- Promote hormonal balance and harmony
- And a whole lot more!
How to use the Yoni Egg:
Make sure you have cleaned your egg before using (everytime). I put mine in boiling water for 30 minutes beforehand. Add a string to the egg (if required).
- Create a loving and safe environment. Put candles on and some calming music, diffuse some beautiful oils, and give yourself a full body massage (I love to use coconut oil and a few drops of balance essential oils) before you begin.
- Make sure your egg is warm and at body temperature. Place gently on your womb.
- Breathe for a few minutes. Tune into your body, and understand how you’re currently feeling.
- Massage your groin, belly, thighs and vulva.
- When you feel you are ready, bring the egg to your vagina opening and start to form tiny circles. If you feel she is tight, you may need a little more warming up.
- Allow your vagina to open and gently slip the egg inside. You may need to add a little pressure when you first get started. Take it slow, take deep breaths and trust yourself.
- Lying on your back, place both feet on the floor (or bed) and bend your knees. Breathe in, and squeeze your yoni as much as you can. Exhale and relax completely.
- Repeat 5 times.
- You can remove* the Yoni egg at this point, or you can leave it in for a little while. I like to leave mine in for a few hours and do some chores around the house, or whilst I work on my business.
*My vagina is strong enough to push it out whilst laying on my back, however don’t worry if you can’t do that. I recommend buying a Yoni Egg that gives you the option to purchase and attach unwaxed dental floss to your egg, so you can gently pull the string to remove it. The Jade Egg from Getting Naked is great.
There are so many ways to use your Yoni Egg. Do your own research and find a practice that works for you.
I want you to fall in love with your cycle as much as I have. It’s not easy, some months are easier than others, so it requires regular practice.
You have the power to do anything you dream of. You don’t need to live and behave like a man to be successful.
It’s time to fall in love with your body, and your period. Quit the negative self-talk, and start opening wide. Be open to experimenting with self care practices for your vagina, and find out what feels right for YOU.
Tune in and reconnect to your womb. It’s the most magical feeling, and I want that for you beautiful.
Remember, talking about your period is NOT taboo. Please share this article with any soul sisters or women in your life who need a reminder about how amazing her temple is.