Helping others can be a source of joy, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Studies suggest that we get a boost of self worth from helping others. But if we give too much of our time and energy away in the process — if we over-do and over-give — we end up feeling tired and worn out, and sometimes even resentful of the commitments we’ve made.
If this sounds familiar, the antidote isn’t to stop caring. It’s to include yourself in all that care!
I can’t stress how important it is to prioritize your own self care, and not just to keep you from wearing out and feeling resentful. Self-care is the secret ingredient in solving period problems. Yes, other things matter. Food, exercise, supplements, and lifestyle strategies are critically important when it comes to hormonal healing. But you won’t get as far, as fast, if you don’t prioritize self-care.
Without self-care, your hormone healing will stall, you ability to erase period problems will be limited, and your desire to help others won’t go anywhere. You can’t give back to others if you’re depleted.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s the opposite. Self-care helps you solve period problems AND help others.
Why Your Self-Care Shouldn’t Be the Same Everyday
Women suffer because of the widespread belief that we are supposed to do the same things each day — have the same morning routine, for example, or schedule ourselves at work the same way every day. This belief carries over to our self-care practices. It doesn’t matter when we sit in the sauna or schedule a facial, we’re told, so long as we do them regularly.
This insistence on doing the same thing day in and day out caters to the male hormonal biological rhythm. Men’s hormones follow the same predictable pattern everyday: they align with the 24-hour circadian clock. Women follow the circadian clock, too. But that isn’t the only clock we follow.
Women have a second internal timekeeper: our bodies follow a 28-day infradian rhythm that is connected to our menstrual cycle. This second clock has a strong influence on our body and brain throughout the month, amplifying certain aspects of our physiology at certain times—and making certain self-care practices more (or less) fitting for each phase of your 28-day cycle. Take temperature-related self-care practices like infrared sauna and cold ice baths, for example: because our body temperature shifts up and down with our hormones throughout each 28-day cycle, there are better and worse times of the month for warming the body up and cooling it down. Another example: IV Therapy makes sense during the ovulation phase when our immune systems are downregulated to support fertilization of an egg.
Simply put, you are not the same each week, so your self-care practices shouldn’t be either.
When you sync your self-care practices with the different phases of your cycle, not only are you freed from the pressure of having to try to fit everything into your schedule, you will feel better because your self-care practices are tailored to your unique needs each week. Plus, you will experience more joy, better organization, and less overwhelm.
Signs You Need More Self-Care
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does your life direction feel fuzzy or unclear?
Are you trying to bring your A game to your career but something’s not clicking?
Are you trying to bring your A game to your home life but something’s not clicking?
Do you have a tough time trusting your intuition?
Do you struggle to start or complete things?
Do you feel vaguely dissatisfied with your life and you want to know once and for all how to address it?
Do you feel exhausted more often than you don’t?
Do you feel resentful toward your family or coworkers?
Do you suffer from regular period problems, like heavy periods, bloating, acne, severe cramps, PMS or menstrual migraines?
Do you feel disconnected from the things you care about?
Is your sex drive in the tank, or has it disappeared all together?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it can be a sign that you need more self care. Self care is essential for optimal hormonal health — and optimal hormonal health is essential for looking, feeling, and performing your best. Simply put, when your hormone health is compromised, so is your ability to flourish.
The Secret to More Effective Self-Care
Often we’re motivated to engage in self-care to find relief from symptoms — and, of course, that is a great place to start. Self-care is an essential component of erasing period problems. But what if the right self-care practice could give you access to more creativity, clarity, energy, and freedom of expression in addition to symptom relief?
If you’ve been struggling with creativity and purpose, or if you’ve been seeking a connection to something more meaningful, you may have tried some self-care strategies already. Maybe you’ve dabbled in yoga? Pored over your horoscope? Whipped up an array of Instagram-worthy kale smoothies — all in hopes of finding your path and feeling your best?
These practices are fantastic. But they all ignore one key component of self-care for women:
cyclical awareness. What does that mean? It means eating, moving, and living in ways that support you during each different phase of your 28-day cycle. Women have different needs each week of the month — and that requires different self-care strategies each week.
I call the practice of living in line with your cycle the The Cycle Syncing Method™, and it is what differentiates our work at FLO from others in the health space. It was why women who have tried everything else to erase symptoms finally start to make progress.
Here’s why The Cycle Syncing Method™ works: The practice helps support optimal hormonal health. And when your hormones — including estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, insulin, testosterone, and cortisol — aren’t functioning optimally, the imbalance has a direct impact on your serotonin and dopamine, or the neurotransmitters that influence your mood and thinking.
In other words, your endocrine system is a powerful player in how you feel physically and emotionally every day. By dismissing the signs and symptoms of your period problems, you undermine your ability to be as happy, creative, and powerful as you have the potential to be.
Self-care without cyclical awareness doesn’t give you access to all the benefits you’re looking for — and, in some cases, it can make hormonal imbalances worse. Why? Certain times of the month call for specific foods and specific types of workouts, but those same activities at other times of the month can interfere with stable blood sugar, mess with your cortisol, and throw off your hormones, mood, and energy. That means the very things you think you’re doing to feel your best could be stalling your progress and keeping you from connecting with the energy, creativity, and clarity that is your birthright.
How to Use Your Cycle To Structure Your Self-Care
Your body will tell you loud and clear if your self-care routine does not match your 28-day hormone cycle. If you suffer from period problems like PMS, heavy or irregular periods, missing periods, bloating, acne, mood swings, depression, fatigue, foggy thinking or migraines, that’s your body’s way of telling you that your current lifestyle and self-care practices are not supporting your endocrine system — and that making some key lifestyle changes could help you find more energy, creativity, clarity, and good physical health.
Your goal isn’t to engage in more elaborate acts of self-care more often; it is to give your body what it’s asking for in the right way at the right time — then everything will open up for you.
Good Self-Care Requires “Both/And” Thinking (NOT “Either/Or” Thinking)
Do you ever box yourself into either/or thinking?
When you make decisions, do you feel like they have to be “all or nothing” or they don’t matter?
When it comes to self-care, it can be easy to get trapped in either/or mode. Does this type of dialogue sound familiar?
“Either I go to the gym at 7am every morning or I won’t go at all.”
“My only two choices are to keep working 12-hour day, or run away to Costa Rica and live in the jungle.”
It’s easy to fall into this trap, but this type of thinking only serves to keep you stuck and not making the changes you want. It keeps you from engaging in any self care at all!
Instead of looking at self-care as an either/or proposition, I encourage women to look at it from a position of abundance and possibility. What small steps can you take toward engaging in better, more cyclically aware self-care today? Can you shift just one food? Make one small shift to your exercise routine? It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be one small step.
Self-Care Rituals When You Get Your Period
A ritual is a way of honoring the present moment, giving gratitude for what is happening, and connecting with yourself and your feelings. A ritual can be a transformative experience that shifts your energy, thinking, and emotions in the direction you wish them to go.
Your period is the perfect time to create and take part in a special ritual.
Menstruation is the time in your 28-day hormone cycle when you’re called to reassess and reset for the month ahead. You look back, you look forward and you look within to you deepest hopes, dreams, and desires for your life. It’s a time to be still and to listen to your body. This is your chance to let go and your chance to make resolutions.
During my menstruation phase, I set intentions for my next cycle. It helps me to focus, but it’s also about taking time for myself — about doing something that honors my cycle, my body, and all that it does for me. It lets me find stillness, calm, and peace in my otherwise busy life. It’s a little date I keep with myself — one that I never cancel.
Of course, practicing The Cycle Syncing Method™ means that I ritualize my whole cycle. I have certain foods I eat, teas I drink, and activities I do during each different phase of my cycle to support my hormones and embody my full potential each week. But if you’re new to creating cyclical rituals, your menstruation phase is a good place to start (in part because you have clear signs that it is happening!) Once you tune in to your period, you’ll find it easier to tune in during the rest of your cycle, to sense and feel out those hormonal shifts, from the energetic optimism of the follicular phase to the analytical determination of the luteal phase.
My favorite Period Rituals to Honor My Cycle
I’ll practice my period ritual at any time of the day, whenever I can make space for it. This changes from month to month. I change my ritual depending on how much time I can take for myself, which depends on the needs and routine of my daughter and my busy work life! If you’re in a similar boat, don’t worry about when you carve out time for a ritual, just make sure you find a window of time somewhere in your day. I’m happy to report that it might seem impossible, but it’s not!
If you have 5 minutes: Meditation Ritual
Sometimes I’ll just light a candle and get comfortable in a cozy room, then hold my favorite crystal in my hand (bloodstone or tiger’s eye are clearing, grounding and blood-tonifying crystals, perfect for the menstrual phase).
I’ll breathe deeply for a few moments. I’ll meditate, stay still and quiet, and listen. My intention is to connect with my soul and what it needs right now. My intuition is powerful at this time. As I listen, I’ll make notes of any thoughts that may arise in my mind that I feel I need to pay attention to, in my journal. These are the thoughts I might consider acting on once I’m in the active, energetic, get-it-done follicular phase.
If you have 15 minutes: Tea Ritual
If I have just a little time to spare, I’ll sit down for a quiet moment and perform a tea ritual. I’ll make myself a wonderful, hormone-balancing cup of raspberry leaf tea with nettle. Or I’ll make up a batch of my golden milk. It takes a little time, and it’s slow and contemplative, so it can feel quite meditative. Plus, you know you’re taking care of yourself in choosing to do this, and that feels good. Golden milk is the ultimate hormone-balancing concoction, and it’s also warming, soothing, and delicious. The combination of turmeric, coconut oil, coconut milk, sweeteners, and spices is warming and rejuvenating, and it’s something I recommend to women with all kinds of endocrine issues. Here’s my recipe:
- 1/2 cup organic turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
- 5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- In a stainless steel pot, cook the water, turmeric, and black pepper until it forms a thick paste, stirring and cooking for about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add virgin coconut oil, using a whisk to fully mix in the coconut oil.
- Transfer the Golden Paste into a glass jar with a lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
You will use this paste to make your Golden Milk below.
- 1 teaspoon Golden Paste
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- Raw honey [or stevia] to taste (optional)
- Pinch cinnamon (optional)
- In a stainless steel pot, gently heat, but do not boil, 2 cups of milk with 1 teaspoon of golden paste.
- A whisk is helpful to fully mix the paste into the milk.
- Add optional vanilla, honey [or stevia], and/or cinnamon.
If you have 30 minutes: Home Spa Ritual
If I have a little more time during my period I will hold space for a more meditative, self-care centered ritual. I’ll take a long, hot shower and use my favorite facial and body scrubs to cleanse. This makes me feel refreshed.
Take Your Self-Care to the Next Level
One of the best ways to kick your self-care routine into high gear is to take key, hormone-supportive supplements. Taking targeted, high-quality supplements that are designed specifically for a woman’s unique biochemistry is the best way to ensure your body is getting what it needs to feel its best — and to enable you to tap into your deepest well of creativity, passion, and purpose.
Choosing the right supplements, and knowing if they are high-quality, is confusing, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. That’s why I decided to create the Balance by FLO Living supplement kit: five formulas, rigorously tested, thoroughly researched, and perfectly suited to meet your needs. After years of research, I’ve determined that these are the five essential micronutrients that every hormonal woman needs in order to stay healthy — and these are the only ones that are universally helpful to take.
If you’re curious about the difference that taking a targeted, high-quality supplement can make in your self-care, symptom management, and sense of purpose and passion, I encourage you to check them out. The Balance by FLO Living supplement kit is an important piece of the self-care puzzle.
FLO 28: THE CYCLE SYNCING® MEMBERSHIP
A Revolution in Nutrition, Fitness, and Time Management for Women
FLO 28: The Cycle Syncing™ Membership is a revolutionary method for women to care for their bodies and find more flow in their lives. You’ll learn how to shift your self-care to support your cycle and play to the unique strengths you have in each phase. When you begin Cycle Syncing, you’ll start to have more energy for everything that matters the most to you. And, you’ll feel more energized, relaxed, happier and more free in all areas of your life.
Pers Relatsh. 2011 Sep 1; 18(3): 370–391. Changing Relationship Growth Belief: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Consequences of Compassionate Goals. Amy Canevello and Jennifer Crocker
Front Neurosci. 2015; 9: 37. Sex hormones affect neurotransmitters and shape the adult female brain during hormonal transition periods. Claudia Barth, Arno Villringer, and Julia Sacher.