The concept of ‘self-care’ is a bit of a buzz-word these days, particularly in yoga and wellbeing circles. And it’s no wonder when you consider that the negative effects of stress and burn out are reaching epidemic proportions in our modern lives.
Even though it’s across the board, women are even more susceptible to the impact of stress.
Arianna Huffington writes in her timely book, “Thrive”, that “women in highly stressed jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks… and a 60 percent greater risk for type 2 diabetes.” She goes on to say that women are also twice as likely to die of heart attack in high-stress jobs and are also more vulnerable to alcoholism and eating disorders when stressed.
Sobering facts, huh!
So, why are we women falling like flies?
Well, as Arianna Huffington points out, it’s a man’s world – built in linear way that doesn’t take into consideration the unique needs we have as women. She suggests we are now entering the third wave of feminism. The first wave was led by the suffragettes in the early part of the century, the second wave was spear-headed by the radical feminists of the 60s and 70s (and we are not through this one yet in terms of the quest for equality in the work and domestic spheres), and the third wave is a revolution for change that eschews the driven, ‘busy-ness” culture that permits insufficient time for rest and rejuvenation.
“..a Third Metric for success, beyond money and power, it’s going to be women who lead the way – and men, freed of the notion that the only road to success includes taking the Heart Attack Highway to Stress City, will gratefully join both at work and at home,” exhorts Huffington.
So that brings us back to this idea of self care. It’s going to become increasingly vital for all of us if we want to thrive amidst the many demands put upon us in our modern reality.
So, what does self care mean to you?
One of the most important aspects of self care for me, is tuning into my monthly cycle and adjusting my work-load, expectations and how I relate to the world accordingly.
At no time is this more necessary and apparent than when I bleed every month. This is when I naturally ramp up my self care at this more vulnerable time. Even in the busiest of days, I try to take some time just to rest and ‘be’, because I know just how important this is for my overall health and vitality by supporting my body during this natural monthly process.
Plus, it just feels so right, so feminine, so intuitive to take some dreamy, ‘me-time’ when I menstruate.
In this way I am following in the footsteps of women throughout the ages; women from more nature-focused, more matriarchal societies. I am part of a growing number of women in our contemporary society, who recognize that our Moon Time, or as I call it, our ‘Dark Moon’ time, is a natural time of retreat, which helps deepen our connection with our bodies, the moon, and ultimately pays off in boosting our energy levels, health, and overall productivity.
An important aspect of this approach to our menses is about shrugging off our negative view of menstruation as a ‘dirty word’; that it’s something to be ignored, or even maligned. As well-known Ayurvedic Physician, Dr Robert E. Svoboda writes: “The fact that so many women in our society call menses “the curse” is sufficient indication of how far away from a naturally healthy life we strayed when we took women out of their menstrual huts and told them to work through the month no matter what.”
Self Care Tips for your Dark Moon Time
There are so many wonderful ways you can stop and honour your fertility and innate femininity during this time of the month.
Here are just some ideas:
- Take a nap and /or sleep in (did you know menstruating woman need more sleep?)
- Read your favourite book
- Sip your favourite herbal tea
- Write in your journal – reflecting on the month that’s been and intentions for the future
- Practise some gentle, ‘Dark Moon’ Yoga to relax and soothe body and soul
In my experience, stealing as little as even 30 minutes out of your day for conscious rest, doing just what you feel like – kind of like a mini-holiday – works wonders!
Next time you bleed, try it! I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!
Ana Davis, Founder and Director of Bliss Baby Yoga, has a passion for a feminine approach to yoga, and supporting women with yoga through all ages and stages of their life. Ana’s highly anticipated book, “Moving with the Moon – nurturing yoga, movement and meditation for every phase of your menstrual cycle and beyond” was released in October 2018.
Ana has collaborated with Bliss Baby Yoga fertility specialist yoga teacher Rosie Matheson to create an Online Level 1 Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training Course. She is also the lead trainer on our popular Online Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training and Online L1 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training courses, and offers private mentoring and yoga sessions online, and online yoga classes.
Further Reading related to this topic:
- Yoga’s Sweetest Nectar: Yoga Nidra (including Dark Moon Yoga Nidra Audio Practice) by Ana Davis
- Top Tips for a More Easeful and Enjoyable Period by Ana Davis
- Restorative Yoga for Busy Women by Star Despres
- Self Care for All Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle by Ana Davis
- Ayurvedic Self Massage: A Lush Daily Ritual for Women by Ana Davis