The power of setting an intention for each menstrual cycle
Do you love or loathe your inner Winter?
Winter refers to the season/phase of the cycle that starts just before or as your period begins and ends around the time your period finishes, so roughly days 1-5 in a 28-day cycle.
Many of the women I help have one kind of period problem or another, often so severe that they’re bed-bound for a few days, but no matter your experience of your period, there’s a way to get something positive out of the Winter season of your cycle and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Your inner Winter is the perfect time to set an intention for the rest of the cycle. When you set an intention you mentally connect with and commit to something that you want to focus on or bring more of into your life.
If you’re not sure what kind of an intention you could come up with, here are three questions to guide you:
1. What came up in your previous cycle?
Look back at the data you’ve collected from the previous cycle(s) and reflect on where you’ve come undone and what you’d like to change, what felt good and what you’d like to cultivate more of. If you haven’t started tracking your cycle then today is the day! Grab a pen and paper or a nice notebook and start tracking your energy, mood, and behaviour every day. You can get a free PDF to help you here.
2. What insights/realisations came to you whilst you were bleeding?
This requires some silence and stillness so that you can connect with your heart, womb, and ovaries and listen to their wisdom and guidance. That means turning Netflix off, leaving your phone in another room, sitting or lying down and being quiet. You don’t need to do this for hours on end, start with twenty minutes and see what happens. You can even do this in the bath. What’s important is that you create some space and see what you happen upon.
3. What is your diary looking like and what’s going on in your life in this cycle?
Finally, you want to look ahead to what your schedule is looking like for the rest of this menstrual cycle. What key themes stand out to you; are you going on holiday, do you have an important work project, is your diary looking crowded already? For instance, my son is currently on his six-week break from nursery and I wanted my intention for this month to suit all the time we’re spending together, so my intention for this month is ‘connection’, which happens to suit other aspects of my life too.
Where you could go wrong with setting an intention:
This is not a to-do list. To-do lists have a very different feeling to them and you don’t want anything that feels tight or tense here.
It is not about what you should and shouldn’t be doing because that’s way too much pressure.
And it’s something that you want to frame positively.
In case you feel stuck with how to do this…
Here are some examples of how to transform your starting sentence into something positive that’s an intention rather than a to-do list.
Feel less anxious → Calm and grounded.
I need to eat ‘healthier’ meals → Nourish myself
I should get more work done → Focused.
I’m going to exercise more → Feel the freedom of moving my body.
Stop rushing and multi-tasking → Glide through my day.
Spend some quality time with my friend/partner/parent/child → Connection
Go to bed earlier → Restore my body and mind.
The key is to focus on what qualities you want to bring more of into your life and specifically, this cycle.
An intention acts as a guiding principle for the cycle that you can use when making decisions about day-to-day life.
Once you have your intention, here are your next steps:
Write it down on a post-it note and stick it somewhere visible so that you’ll see it every day.
If it feels helpful to do so, set an alarm on your phone to go off every day and use your intention to name the alarm so that it comes up on your phone and reminds you. (I’m not a fan of this method personally as I’m aware of how my stress hormones respond to my phone making noises/vibrating/lighting up, but I know some people find it helpful)
Whenever you are faced with the choice of deciding to do something or not, bring your intention to mind and use it to help you decide what you want to commit to.
Think ahead to the rest of your cycle and the key times when your intention will matter most and get practical about things, ie. do you feel anxious on day 20 and if you do, what do you need to get in place now in order to soften things (time alone, time with someone, rest, exercise, time off social media, a walk outside etc)? If focussing on a project is important, then how can you safeguard the times in your cycle when you feel most productive (hint: stick your out of office on and log out of your email)?
Or, you can just simply park your intention somewhere inside you and see what unfolds as the weeks go by.
Your menstrual cycle can be used to great effect in your life to get whatever it is you want, and setting an intention is an easy way to focus on what’s important to you in each cycle.