Written by Dr. Mona Wiggins
As the summer winds down and we move into autumn and the start of yet another school year, it's common to feel a lot of emotions and stress around these transitions. We're saying goodbye to summer and what feels like more freedom and moving back into a more regimented schedule, increased responsibility, and, typically, more time indoors.
Whether you're a student or a parent, it can be helpful to bring awareness to these changes and any emotions you may be feeling in regards to them.
I’m no longer in school, but when I was I liked to take a little time prior to the school year to reflect on my state of mind and my resilience plan for the year. Below I’m going to share with you some of my favorite tips!
You might be wondering why, on a blog for a basal body thermometer, we're talking about mindfulness. Numerous studies on yoga and mindfulness practices confirm that these are extremely beneficial in supporting mental health, relaxation, and a positive stress response. Finding ways to lead our bodies back to more of a parasympathetic mode (rest, digest, heal, calm) is key to a healthy mind, body, spirit, and hormones.
Here are some of my favorite practices that I invite you to consider
- Prioritize self-care. Ideally have at least an hour a week that can be devoted to you, your mental health, and building your resilience bucket. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, claim time as yours consistently. The more we support ourselves when we aren’t stressed, the better we can support ourselves when we are stressed!
- Name your emotions without judgement. The more familiar we get with identifying our emotions (without judgement!), the better we are at understanding what our bodies are needing for support. The key is really learning to practice this without judgement, which can be especially challenging for women. But the more we normalize our experience and see it as an opportunity to connect with and learn from ourselves, the more ease and opportunity we will find in our experience. If you’re new to identifying and welcoming feelings, this feelings inventory is one of my favorites to look at to determine what I’m feeling and what I might be needing based on that feeling.
Centering. This is an ancient visualization technique that teaches us to focus on the here and now, on our bodies in the moment, so we can decrease outside concern and negative thoughts while building stability and grounding in our own bodies. This is a great regular practice to build resilience and very useful in times when you are under acute stress, or when negative or overwhelming thoughts are taking over. Simply find a quiet space for 2-10 minutes (or longer), become aware of your breathing, find your center, and release negative energy. I literally like to focus on breathing in love, breathing out frustration, or breathing in peace, breathing out anger, or breathing in calm, breathing out fear… whatever feels fitting for your day and the feelings you are experiencing.
- Meditation. Another beautiful way to center yourself, focus your mind, become more attuned to your body and achieve an emotionally calm and stable state. Many people meditate sitting down in a quiet place but you can also meditate lying down or while walking - try out a few things and see what works best for you! If you’re new to meditation this is a great guide to get you started. If you’re looking for guided meditations or music, there are many free meditations on YouTube or you can use an app like Insight Timer or headspace.
- Breathing exercises. There are many different breathing exercises that can be used alone or in additional to meditation to help calm your nervous system and improve stress. Box breathing is one of my favorites, in which you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and so on until you feel grounded. I also love the alternate nostril breathing and humming bee breath you can read about here.
- Yoga. Finally yoga, one of my deep loves for keeping my mind and my body grounded and flexible to help deal with life and all of its ebbs and flows. If you’re cycling naturally, I’d encourage you to consider various types of yoga based on the timing of your cycle - vinyasa or a challenging flow for your pre-ovulatory/ovulatory phases, and yin or a more relaxing yoga for luteal/menses. Yoga nidra is a beautiful practice for sleep regardless of where you are in your cycle.
So what are you waiting for? Build up your routine to maintain a low-stress life. And find me on Instagram to let me know what works best for you.
Dr. Mona Wiggins is a doctor of nursing practice, fertility awareness educator, and cycle coach. With over 15 years of medical experience, her passion and goal in life is to empower women to shamelessly embrace their bodies and divine feminine wisdom through cyclical living, fertility awareness, and holistic health education.Mona first came to fertility awareness after years of struggling with irritable bowel syndrome, mental health issues, and significant side effects from hormonal birth control. Fertility awareness has helped her to find true health, freedom, and confidence in her body and she is dedicated to sharing this valuable information with others. She teaches the double-check symptothermal method with optional LH testing and also offers individual holistic health educational consults. You can learn more about working with Dr. Mona on her website and can follow her on social media - Facebook and Instagram. If you found this post helpful and would like to thank Mona while receiving a special discount, shop Tempdrop with Mona’s discount code.