The second part of my cycle has been more difficult than the first in some ways. I thought it would be ovulation that would be difficult as this is the time when I am much more motivated to be out there doing things and meeting people. But I tend to crave a lot of time alone during the pre-menstrual phase and this can be pretty difficult when you are stuck at home with others. I have had to set some boundaries so that I can have the space I need otherwise I can easily start to feel suffocated and frustrated.
On the plus side, being in lockdown means that demands on my time are at an all time low right now. Normally when my luteal phase comes around I am exhausted after taking on too much during the first half of my cycle. Balancing work, social life and trying to stay active is doable up till ovulation when my energy levels are rising but once I pass that turning point, I can easily start to feel overwhelmed by the tasks on my to do list and activities in my calendar. Normally this looks like me crying more than usual and being more irritable but in bad months it can sometimes feel like the earth has opened up beneath my feet and I am just falling into the depths of despair. However, the pre-menstual phase naturally lends itself to the slower paced quarantine-life.
I am still working but from home but a lot of my normal work is on hold until the social distancing restrictions are lifted. I don’t have any children (only my baby cat Teddy) so I am suddenly blessed with a lot of free time at home which has allowed me to slow down during this part of my cycle. I have been able to get back to some long forgotten creative hobbies and I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve got back to a daily yoga practice and found a morning routine that helps me to ground and centre myself at the start of each day. I have also had time to write in my journal which has helped to process all of the crap that my inner critic brings up at this time of the month.
Another one of my escapes has been going for walks. We’re only supposed to go out of the house once a day but as I wake up early I have been sneaking out a second time in the morning when no one else is around. I’ve really enjoyed walking around a big park opposite our house. I probably look crazy doing laps of the same field but I find it relaxing or even meditative. When you walk in the same place every day you can really notice the differences in the time of day and weather. You get to know the plants and the wildlife and its cool to watch them shift as the seasons change. Sometimes I listen to music or podcasts or call my family but mostly I just walk and listen to the sounds of nature.
I am on day 28 of my cycle right now so coming towards the end of my luteal phase. I’ve had a boost of energy and motivation the last few days for cleaning the house and getting chores done so that I can take a few days off for a menstrual retreat or “big bleed”. I got the idea from the book Wildpower by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Wurlitzer and I thought this is the perfect time to give it a go. I really want experience of true surrender and access the full power of menstruation. Every much I try to take it easier and give myself time to rest and recover during my period but often there are many things I still have to do and I often come out of this phase feeling more tired as I haven’t been able to listen to my body’s signals.
So this week I have hoovered the entire house, emptied the washing basket, weeded the garden and done a BIG shop. I have enlisted the support of my boyfriend and told him that I will be needing a bit of space for a few days once I start bleeding. I have created a sanctuary space in our spare room where I have a cosy corner for relaxing, a bookshelf with all of my yoga and health books, my yoga mat and my sewing box. My plan is to rest as much as I need to, nourish my body, take epsom salt baths, get lots of sleep and spend time every day in meditation. Hopefully I will come out of this refreshed and inspired for my next cycle. I have some projects that I want to dedicate myself to in the coming months and I think I need this to get my creative fire going again!