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Know Your Flow with Claire Baker

Posted by Kitty Sutherland on

Know Your Flow with Claire Baker

Friend of Tsuno and all round period positive life guru, Claire Baker, recently published a very good book full of things about periods. We love it, we sell it and we're even giving a copy away (hint: follow us on social media)

Titled 50 Things You Need to Know About Periods, we are lucky enough today to share two things direct from the book, to get you as excited as we are.

After-all, your menstrual cycle is an empowering gift, you should know your flow.

Over to Claire & her marvellous book - with two very useful things to know about your period! 48 more to enjoy here

#8
The seasons of your cycle 

The stages of your menstrual cycle mirror the seasons of the year and, because they are so familiar to most of us, I like to use the four seasons to explain the four hormonal phases of the cycle. 

The Winter of your cycle is your period. This is menstruation, when your body releases the last cycle’s uterine lining. Levels of hormones are low. Just like on a cold, rainy winter day, you might feel like chilling indoors under a blanket in this phase, and that is A-OK. 

After menstruation ends, you’ll move into the Spring phase of your cycle. This is the pre-ovulatory phase. As oestrogen rises, you’re blossoming and building up to ovulation here. Say farewell to the period cave because hormones are kicking off and you are back in the game! 

A few days before you ovulate, you’ll move into the Summer phase of your cycle. Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of your ovaries and it’s a key moment in the menstrual cycle process. Both oestrogen and testosterone levels peak and you’ll stay in this sassy Summer phase as you ovulate, and for a few days or so past ovulation. 

You’ll then move into the Autumn of your cycle – the premenstrual phase. Progesterone steals the show here, but not before having a ‘hormonal dance off’ with oestrogen a few days after you ovulate. Compared to the linear increase of hormones in Spring, Autumn is more dynamic. You’re moving back towards menstruation. After progesterone levels decline and halt entirely, you’ll cross back into Winter and begin to bleed again. 


#11
How to chart (and sync) your cycle 

Cycle syncing is about approaching the important aspects of your life differently in each phase of your cycle – because how you feel changes from season to season. It’s less about micro-managing our schedule, and more about holding ourselves in the awareness that the hormonal journey means we shift and change from week-to-week. By gaining insight into our cycle, the way we approach everything from our attitude, creativity and productivity to our relationships, self-talk and self-care, can ebb and flow with these inner changes. 

You need to commit to consistent daily charting to find the most golden cycle insights, but checking in doesn’t need to take more than 30 seconds a day. But how do you chart your cycle? First you need to check in each day with your ‘four bodies’... 

Physical 
How is your physical body today? Think energy levels, sensations in the body, cravings, digestion, appetite, libido, strength and endurance, and sleep patterns. What’s your body telling you it needs today? 


Mental 
How is your head today? Think quantity and quality of thoughts, cognitive function, memory, motivation, insight, focus, attitude and perception. What do you notice about your mindset today? 


Emotional 
How is your heart today? Think mood, feelings, self-love levels, stress levels, confidence and self-esteem. Do you have a stable emotional landscape or do things feel more up and down? 


Spiritual 
How is your spirit today? Think gratitude, intuition, creativity, open- heartedness and levels of fulfilment. How connected do you feel to yourself or to something greater than you? 

Once you’ve checked in with your four bodies, you need to think about your superpowers, vulnerabilities and self-care... 

Superpowers and vulnerabilities 
It’s normal to have a place in the menstrual cycle where you feel ‘at home’ and more like yourself. It’s also likely you’ll have spots where you feel more vulnerable or uncomfortable. As you chart your cycle, pay attention to your unique ‘superpowers’ in each season: what are your strong points and positive qualities in each phase? Same goes with your vulnerabilities: what are your particular sensitivities or weak points in each phase? 

Self-care practices 
Finally, think about the self-care practices that will help you to optimize your strengths in each phase and take care of your vulnerabilities. Remember to keep asking yourself: how can I practise self-care today? 

Then try out these methods to chart your cycle: 

  • Use words. Keep it simple. Write just one or two words for each ‘body’ that captures how you feel today.

  • Use an app. If the convenience of digital tracking appeals to you, there are plenty of free period apps available. Choose one that allows you to input a variety of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional observations.

  • Use journaling. If you already use a daily journal, add your cycle day next to the date and simply add your thoughts and feelings as you would normally. After a few cycles of doing this, flick back to notice patterns.

  • Use a notebook. Divide each page into four sections. The first page of the notebook will be for day 1 observations, the second page will be for day 2 observations, the third page will be for day 3 observations... and so on. Use one section per cycle and you’ll end up with four cycles worth of observations – this will make it easy to notice patterns.

  • Use the notes app on your phone. Create a new note for each day of your cycle and jot your observations down. With each new cycle, go back and start again using the same note page for each day in the cycle. Another easy way to notice patterns over time!

  • Use my menstrual map. Using one map per cycle, jot down your daily observations for each season. (To download your own map, go to clairebaker.com/free-class) 
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    A huge thank you to Claire who has been mega busy with her book launch in London but still took the time for Tsuno and shared some absolute gold with us today. Want more? There's still 48 more things you need to know! Shop the book here and follow Claire here


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