How to use your menstrual period to truly thrive

Could an empowered period – or learning to love, know and respect your menstrual cycle – really be the key to feeling happier and more productive in everyday life?

It’s a rare woman who doesn’t view “that time of the month” through a lens of negativity, and is it any surprise?

In a society where period shaming comments such as, “Well, that explains your bad mood” and “Gross, nobody wants to hear about it” are common, women have learnt to refrain from talking about their menstrual cycles – unless it’s to grumble about them.

Studies show that the only way many girls and young women feel comfortable communicating about their periods is to identify and complain about PMS symptoms.

And it’s no wonder; according to a 2022 survey by Plan International Australia, one fifth of Australian boys and young men think periods should be kept a secret, with 23 per cent associating the word “dirty” with periods.

Why an empowered period is important

Menstruation advocate and author Lucy Peach, is on a mission to change the way young people view menstruation cycles.

Lucy, who wrote Period Queen: Life hack your cycle and own your power all month long, says the key to success is teaching women how to embrace their periods and the role it plays in their lives.

“Because of this external messaging, we tend to minimise what our bodies go through each month, but it isn’t insignificant,” Lucy says.

“The cycle starts from nothing, builds to something, turns it into everything and comes back to nothing again, and we’re having to adapt to this constantly changing internal biochemistry while we manage all the other areas of our lives, such as building our careers and raising our families.

“Rather than attempt to maintain this linear existence created by men, there are real benefits to understanding the ebbs, flows and strengths of your cycle and creating a life that is more in sync with it.”

How an empowered period can help you achieve more

The first rule when it comes to “hacking” your period for empowerment is to take note of your physical and emotional states throughout your entire cycle and jot them down.

“Pay attention to your self-talk and any judgments you might hold about your cycle too,” Lucy says.

“Once you understand yourself and your cycle a little better, it’s about scheduling time to rest on the days when you know you’re going to be more tired than usual.

Lucy says this means ensuring you don’t have any meetings on days where you tend to be more emotional, or moving important functions to days when you’re most driven and focused.

She also recommends asking yourself three questions throughout your cycle: What day in my cycle am I? What do I need? How can I use this?

“These questions prevent you from jumping to conclusions and give you a better understanding of your landscape, what you need to feel empowered and rewrite the narrative to reframe for power,” Lucy says.

“It’s about listening to your body throughout the whole cycle rather than just viewing your period as being ‘on or off’, and reworking your life, where possible, around key dates to turn your cycle into an asset rather than something you view unfavourably.”

Love your body and its ability

While Lucy offers online courses for those keen to understand the power of their menstrual cycles, and themselves, a little better, she says a lot of it comes down to intuition.

“My biggest question is this: How are we going to happily transition into perimenopause and menopause if we’ve had a 30-year career of tolerating our bodies at best?

“It’s time to change the conversation and that starts with having a rolling dialogue and feeling comfortable doing it publicly.”

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Written by Dilvin Yasa.