Introducing ‘Your Cycle. Your Month’ Course.

I get it.  You really want to change your life. But you get stuck, doubt yourself, burn out.  It's super frustrating and demoralising.  

A few years ago, I was in that same place.  I would start things and give up.  

But then I found out about a tool, and started using it in my own life.  

Using the menstrual cycle (or lunar cycle) as a framework to make sustainable life changes.

I’ve been reluctant to talk about it because it sounds so woowoo, but it's made such a difference to my life.  It is now a fundamental tool for how I design my month, so I want to share it so you can also benefit from it. 

So I’ve teamed up with the person who got me started on all of this: nutritional therapist, yoga teacher and menstruality educator and friend, Abi from Nutrition For Change.  

Together, we’re bringing you the best of our coaching practice, but in the shape of a course.

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  In the course you’ll learn:

  • how menstruating women’s hormones change during an average month, and how this mirrors the lunar cycle

  • how you can support these changes through the food you eat and the type of movement you do

  • how to use this cycle to make a personal project happen.  

The Course Structure and Dates:

We’ve structured the course around the lunar cycle so that everyone can follow along- men, women, menstruating, menopausal, whoever.  The course has 5 modules, or as we’ll be referring to them, seasons:

  • Winter: starting on 17th January.  The new moon. Menstruation.
  • Spring: starting on 25th January and the 1st quarter moon.  Follicular
  • Summer: starting on 31st January.  The Full Moon.  Ovulation.
  • Autumn: starting on 7th February.  The 3rd quarter moon.  Luteal.
  • Winter: starting on 16th February.  The new moon. Menstruation.
  • The course ends on the 22nd February.  

How it will work

At the start of each new season, we’ll email you with info, suggestions and ideas for how to design that season.  

We have also created a facebook group, just for this course, as a safe space for you to share with other like-minded people.  

During the season we’ll share more fun stuff, ideas and plenty of encouragement on the group. 

As a bonus, each season we will also do a live coaching call, so that we can answer your questions.  

Registration is now open!  Closes 16th January 2018. 

Register here

Posted on January 9, 2018 .

An alternative to new year resolutions and an exciting announcement!

Happy New Year!  

Are you doing resolutions this year?  

I used to make them.  I jumped at the chance to make a change to my life.  But I, like most people, didn't stick with it for the whole year, and then I felt bad about it and beat myself up.  Can you relate? 

What I've come to realise is wasn't because I can't make changes in my life (I made plenty of them) but because I didn't have enough support, and I didn't know something that I believe is critical for women to understand.  Since then I have developed an alternative that works much better for me, and I want to share it with you.  

Let's back up.  In 2014, I was living in Brighton and working in the field of sustainability.  I found it super rewarding, but it was also a struggle.  Ironically, it was personally and financially unsustainable. I had health issues like eczema (a sign of stress).  I often felt really tired even if I slept ok, and I certainly didn't make (or take) enough time to rest unless I was really ill.  I couldn’t afford things like decent winter boots (an important thing when working outside.  I was chasing and chasing and it didn’t add up.  

Along the way I met Abi.  She lived around the corner from me, and before long we were getting up to all sorts of fun adventures together: creating community gardens, I helped her with her garden, we went sea swimming together.  We also worked together.  She took courses with me, and became a client and I helped her re-design her garden and life.    

Abi imagining and designing what she wants her garden to look like

Abi imagining and designing what she wants her garden to look like

I also became Abi's client.  As a nutritional therapist, she helped me understand my health holistically rather than just focusing on the symptoms.  The changes she suggested to my food and lifestyle helped me manage my stress, and irregularities with my menstrual cycle.  

This began my re-education about my menstrual cycle.  Did you know that menstruating women go through four different hormonal phases every month?  Menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal.  I certainly didn't, well not in a meaningful way.  One day it clicked… these phases are like seasons, with menstruation being like winter and ovulation like summer.  (I’ve since come across others that also think of them as seasons, so I am by no means the first).  This new understanding of the hormonal changes I go through helped me re-design my month according to my seasons, and also helped me have a lot more empathy for myself.  And now I am continuously tweaking my life through the year, rather than just at the beginning.  

I have been reluctant to talk about online because it felt so… well... wooowooo and taboo.  But I believe this is information all women should know about, and yet… I don’t know about you… but this wasn’t part of anything I learnt about when I got my period.  

 

And now for the exciting bit.  

Over the last few months, Abi and I have been collaborating to bring this information to you.   

Abi is bringing her knowledge and experience as a trained nutritional therapist, yoga instructor and menstruality educator and I’m bringing my knowledge and experience in life design and coaching.  

The idea is that we lead you through a month, looking at the different hormonal phases, what to do during those different phases, what to eat and different ways to move.  

We want to make it inclusive to women (and also men) who aren’t having periods, or whose periods aren’t regular so we will structure our month by the moon, and we will start with the new moon on 17th January.

Before then, here's something to get you started.  

 

Create a Seasonal Calendar

A seasonal calendar is the basis of re-designing your month, and year.  I find a seasonal calendar really helpful when I’m planning my month and also organising things, so I can work with my seasons and not against them.  

If you are menstruating and know your cycle, here are two options

  1. Paper calendar- mark different coloured dots by the different days of the month.  

  2. Digital calendar- gcal.

    1. Create four different calendars one for each seasons. I like to use different colours for each season.  

    2. Add the dates for each season

My Seasonal Calendar using Google Calendar.  

My Seasonal Calendar using Google Calendar.  

If you're not menstruating

Use the moon and the different phases as the basis from you calendar.  Here's a link to find out that the dates of the different moon phases in 2018 (with this one you can also change your location to give you accurate info for where you live.  

If you are menstruating, but don’t track your cycle.

For this month, use the moon phases and the link above.  When you get your period, mark that in your calendar, and record how long you have it.  You can also note down any other observations along the way re your physical and emotional health.

So... here's to re-designing your 2018, month by month... according to your seasons.  

Posted on January 2, 2018 .

In between days

These days during Christmas and New Years… they are often a bit slow (whether you’ve gone back to work or if you are still on holiday).  Sure, there is eating leftovers, and preparing for New Years… but they can also feel a bit meh…

I find these days great for finishing up my review of the year and starting to come up with ideas and projects for the new year.

At this stage it is about coming up with as many ideas as possible, including the fantastical and the lame.  The audacious and the wild.  

One idea I have is that I will also put together a photo album like my mormor (Swedish maternal grandmother) used to make every year.  

One of my work projects for the new year is a collaboration with Abi of Nutrition For Change.  We’ll be starting it on 17th January, and over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more details about it.  

Posted on December 26, 2017 .

Making time to rest

I love summer.  I love the heat.  I love the light. I am a girasole- I turn towards the sun.  

Winter, on the other hand, is not my favourite time of year.

I used to looking forward to winter solstice as held the promise of the days getting longer, and eventually warmer.

But over this year I learnt to take time to rest. I built it in to how I designed my month. I have learnt that this time is necessary in order to have the energy for the rest of the month. As I have learnt to value of resting every month, I am learning to love the winter more and more. It now is a season I make time to rest and re-charge for the year ahead.

This year winter solstice is something I want to celebrate as a time to pause and to enjoy the darkness.

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Here are some of the things that I love to do on the winter solstice:

Light lots of candles indoors

Make mulled wine/juice

Bring in some greenery

Plant bulbs indoors

Not do very much

Spend some time outside in the dark: like go for a walk. 

Light a fire

Sleep in- no alarm clock… try and wake with the light. 

Finish work early

Snuggle up with a book/notebook

Get my haircut

 

Do you mark/celebrate solstice?  If so, what do you like to do?

Posted on December 21, 2017 .

Reviewing 2017 by Abi

Yesterday I posted my 5 step process for reviewing 2017.  

And today I'm sharing the responses and reflections of using the process sent in by one of my clients, Abi.  She was my first client, and we have been working together every since.  She works a nutritional therapist among other things.  

 

Here is a summary of Abi's year review with some pictures…

 

WORK

Lowlights of this year…

A few patches where paid work was not coming in as fast as costs were!

Often feeling quite chaotic and disorganised, chasing my tail

Highlights of this year…

More fully stepping into life as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, completing half of my certification process

Cooking delicious colourful food at Earth Heart for Women’s Initiation

Cooking delicious colourful food at Earth Heart for Women’s Initiation

Increase in collaborative and creative work

Training with the Menstrual Medicine Circle to deepen what I can offer in menstrual work

Continuing the healing healthcare circle to support the supporters
 

PLAY

Lowlights of this year… 

Not prioritising play over work quite often

My attitude towards play could shift- sometimes considering it frivolous and not time well spent or feeling guilty 

Highlights of this year…

Some of the collaborative work has felt playful, fun and like work so I have learnt they don’t have to be distinct all the time

Holiday in Cyprus - naked snorkelling, building shelters on the beach, exploring wild seas

Swimming with friends into the winter just to be silly 

 

LOVE

Lowlights of this year…

Sharing the pain of baby loss within our relationship

Bobs the furry best friend through tough times 

Bobs the furry best friend through tough times 

 

Getting to grips with money and personal power

Highlights of this year…

Travel adventures to Scotland, America and Cyprus together

Scottish rainbow in Kirtomy March 

Scottish rainbow in Kirtomy March 

Time spent in couples circle for reflections and relationship expansion

Starting the Grove women’s circle

Setting up the Yurt for the first grove circle

Setting up the Yurt for the first grove circle

Widening the circle of amazing women bringing the menstrual work

Maintaining friendships with people in far away places

 

HEALTH

Lowlights of this year…

Miscarriage - January 

Extreme fatigue and burnout in September/October 

Starting low oxalate diet - December 

Highlights of this year…

Physical recovery from miscarriage very smooth - January/February 

Beginning daily Hiit training and really enjoying feeling strong -March 

Learning and understanding more about my genetics -July 

Getting to the root cause of fatigue and other symptoms - November/December

 

REFLECTIONS ON THE PROCESS

I really enjoyed starting with looking at photos, it felt like a really natural way to connect to different ways I have felt through the year and getting an overview of the highs and lows was helpful for me. Most memories of the last 12 months have been slightly overshadowed by my long awaited surprise pregnancy and then my tragic miscarriage, so it was good to notice all of the other sweet and magical moments in 2017!

Here are some pictures to illustrate a few of these moments.

I also really enjoyed having a look at the different elements of my life and notice where I was giving different amounts of attention, the difference to life overall when these areas were in balance. this was also a process I enjoyed when working with Hedvig as a client.

Taking an overview of all of these, I can see how the highlights mostly outweigh the lowlights! 

 

Thank you so much Abi for sharing your year with us.  Here's to more highlights in 2018!

 

Posted on December 19, 2017 .

5 Step Review of 2017

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I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I like spending a little time looking back on the year that is coming to an end.  

I find it really worthwhile doing this because it both helps me to:

  • remember and appreciate all that has happened
  • reflect on and appreciate how I have grown
  • identify things that I want to do differently next year, or ideas for new things to try.  

There are lots of ways that you can review a year, but here is the process I used this year.

 

Review your year in 5 steps.  

  1. I opened up my app where my photos are stored, and go back to 1st January 2017.  I  looked through my photos and I wrote down some of the highlights and lowlights of January.  Once I'm done with Jan. I continued month by month through the rest of the year.  (If you don’t take lots of photos try your calendar/diary)

  2. I categorised the highlights and lowlights into work (paid and unpaid), health, love and play.  

  3. Then I re-read what I wrote down for each category and noted down any patterns and lessons learnt.

  4. If anything felt unresolved or lingering, I spent some time processing it until I got to the lessons learnt.  

  5. If any ideas come up for 2018, I noted those down.

So, there you have it.  My 5 step process.  As always, I’d love to know what you think, and if you use it, how did it go.  

Posted on December 18, 2017 .