A woman’s hormonal system is very delicate by nature.
Everything we do, say, eat and feel changes the entire chemistry of our bodies and hormonal balance. At times, this can be challenging because we have to be very aware, listening to our bodies to identify what will balance each of our own unique systems.
Fortunately, this delicacy also means that the smallest changes can be healing. With gentle lifestyle shifts, we can bring our hormonal systems back into balance. Each woman has a very unique experience of her body and of herself. Each of us finds our real power in knowing our uniqueness and being able to trust our bodies to tell us what we need.
Here are foundational steps to begin re-aligning with your cycle:
1. Observe Your Cycle
One of the most effective and tangible ways to navigate hormonal shifts is to observe physical sensations and emotional fluctuations. Our hormones are always changing, impacting the way we feel and see the world, but there is also a steadiness as we connect to those rhythms. The more we begin to feel rooted in the cyclical rhythms of our hormonal shifts, the more we can appreciate ourselves rather than act unconsciously.
When we observe each phase of our cycle—the emotional, cognitive and physical changes—we can move with them and consciously come into synch with our bodies and psyches. For me and my clients, speaking the language of hormones helps us to know ourselves. We can shift our lifestyle and food choices appropriately, instead of fighting, pushing and resisting where we are.
2. Neutralize Stress
When a woman feels stressed or unsafe, the tension goes right to her ovaries before the pituitary. This physical feedback helps us protect our womb and eggs. Therefore, stress is unique for a woman. Upon waking up in the morning, I advise my clients to massage their ovaries as a hormonal signal for relaxation. This helps to decrease cortisol and encourages the glandular system to unwind.
Making our emotional, physical and spiritual health the most important part of our lives can help us choose nurturance over stress. It places us above the extras. Making a list of pleasurable and relaxing activities is a precursor to hormonal health. Often, when women are overworked and feeling exhausted, we gravitate towards unhealthy ways to soothe ourselves like shopping sprees, ice cream, wine and coffee. By making a list, we can begin to add more beneficial habits into our daily lives.
Investigating what we do or don’t enjoy, and then taking responsibility for integrating these moments into our lives, can calm our nervous systems and regulate our hormones. For example, I love starting my day with organic facial products that smell like flowers. The smell is so centering. That makes me feel good and it’s healthy.
3. Consume Nutrient-Rich Foods
The way we eat is a great reflection of our relationship with our body. Food offers an opportunity to come into a place of more self-love, care and nurturance, to take the time to think about what our unique bodies need (especially when it comes to hormonal regulation).
When our systems are relaxed, we can absorb the vitamins and minerals from our meals. A general and foundational place to start at every meal is to include healthy fats, proteins and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Each person must experiment to see what’s best, but research has revealed an ideal ratio estimation for each plate: 45% of low-glycemic carbohydrates (especially green leafy vegetables!) 30% healthy fats (love coconut butter right now!) and 25% protein.
When we nurture our physical and psychic health, we become awake to the connections when we, for instance, stray off track. This provides us power, rather than giving hormonal imbalances power over us. This is the journey.
Nicole Ohebshalom, RN, PCCI, CHHC, is a women’s health specialist and therapist for hormonal health and periods. Through her online programs and private sessions, she uses endocrinology education, nutrition, psychology and meditation to help women heal menstrual cycles and feel comfortable in their own skin. Learn more at devoraohebshalom.com and on Instagram @dohebshalom.