It’s not a secret that the female body is difficult to understand, even for a woman living with it every single day we can’t seem to wrap our heads around how to “live like a woman”. Because guess what, as the world gets more and more equal, living like a woman becomes harder and harder.
What might still be a secret for many is that females go through 4 phases in our cycle. And with that said, we’re not our best selves when we live each day in the same rhythm. What if I told you that if you go to work 9-5, workout every morning, eat the same diet, same amount of calories, meet people most days after work and try to do your best - that you’re actually doing yourself a disservice.
What our female bodies need is that we listen to our phases and change our routines accordingly. We have slower days and faster days and can be super efficient one day and get nothing done the next. But if you do listen to this rhythm, you’ll see that even if some days you get nothing done, over a month you’ll be so much more efficient and will also feel a lot better - as your energy levels will be more balanced and you’re not forcing something that doesn’t feel natural.
People usually ask me about my morning routine and are surprised to hear that I actually don’t follow the same routine every single day, because my body was not built to start each day the same. As we go through the four phases, if we are in tune with our bodies and in balance, we feel what’s right at that moment in time. And for me, it usually looks something like this:
Phase 1 - Follicular
Rise and shine! You’ve just experienced your period and feel more energy come, this time it’s perfect to start your mornings with movement and energy. A glass of lemon water, a walk or workout (workouts tend to come closer to ovulation as we feel the energy rising), coffee if you’re into that, and a good breakfast.
Phase 2 - Ovulatory
This is our shining moment, when we feel like we can take on the world. So take advantage of this and start your morning like your best self! High intensity workouts, a run in nature or something to kick start your day. You can have a lighter breakfast and will feel full of energy. Coffee is also suitable for this phase if you want to have a morning cup.
Phase 3 - Lutheal
We’ve had our peak in energy and the morning workouts start to feel more like a high mountain to climb than your best friend. Move the workouts to later in the day and focus on yourself. Include a longer meditation and give yourself that mindfulness before entering the world. Decrease your coffee intake and make sure you drink plenty of water in this phase. A big breakfast is a must as you’ll need that energy to go through the day.
Phase 4 - menstruation
This is the phase of analyzing and listening to your body and mind. Those high intensity workouts are now gone and I turn more towards yoga, long walks, might do a nice “walk around the gym” (aka, lifting some weights, stretching, feeling the vibe but not a killer workout). Big breakfast and matcha instead of coffee, and you’re ready to take on the world.
How do adaptogens fit into all this?
So now to the next thing, to optimise your female health even further. There’s something called adaptogens, and that’s my secret tip to getting even more into balance. It’s not a magic pill, but it can do wonders if you’re already on your way to living a healthy life. What adaptogens do is to help the body adapt to stressful situations, you can see them like a hormone balancer.
My favourite adaptogens to support your cycle:
Maca: Maca is a wonderful adaptogen to support the female cycle.It may help to increase your libido, support ovulation and a regular cycle and is extra good if you’re just off the pill as your body adapts. This is extra important in the weeks leading up to your period so help minimize the symptoms.
Dandelion root: Most of you probably know this from when your mom was in the garden and got rid of all the dandelions from the flowerbeds. But it can actually do wonders for your body. Dandelion root supports your liver in flushing out hormones and can help with PMS symptoms. I take this the entire month as it’s so helpful to the liver.
Cacao: Cacao is not only very yummy, but it also contains a lot of magnesium which is like your period's best friend. It can help with your headaches, cramps and mood swings which are all oh-so common in your pms phase (lutheal). Ramp up this the week before and during your period and you’ll have an easier week. (and who doesn’t love a little chocolate in this phase)
Vitex: Vitex, also called Chaste Tree or Chasteberry, and can just like Maca support a regular cycle. It’s also helpful when it comes to PMS and ovulation. It’s also said that it can help to produce breastmilk when breastfeeding (but should only be used short-term). I would use this when coming off the pill or experiencing irregular cycles for extra support.
Saying all this, I’m all for making life EASIER for women, and not harder. And to know what to eat, how to workout, and how to go on about your day can seem like a hustle in the beginning. Therefore I’ve created svaan, products that supports your female hormones in your daily life, without creating a second job for yourself in cooking, mixing different herbs etc.