Whether we like them or not, routines and periods are beneficial to our neurodivergent experience.
Historically I have hated my period. I have also found it hard to establish routines in my life, despite being desperate for them as a form of comfort.
I have a real interest in improving my experience in life, yet translating the information I learn about ADHD strategies into consistent habits has remained a challenge. As we know and experience, the ADHD and Autistic parts of us can clash.
After being diagnosed with ADHD and Autism at 25, I was searching for a routine that satiates my Autistic side. During this time I remembered my really intense special interest: the menstrual cycle.
Our monthly cycle is a routine, a routine that is unavoidable, for those of us with wombs that menstruate, because it is what we are operating from at all times.
Our periods are influenced by our hormones, which operate as a part of our endocrine system.
You may have heard before that our focus is challenged during the week before our period, as estrogen levels are lowered. Estrogen has a direct effect on dopamine - the alleged power player in ADHD.
While this can make us turn against our periods, even more than we have been conditioned to - I do feel that periods are the game changer when it comes to Neurodivergent people.
We are ‘more sensitive’ to so much, of course we are more sensitive to our hormonal cycles - and our menstrual cycle. This can be devastating, especially for those with PMDD - or be the best foundation for neurodivergent wellness going.
After discovering that PMDD existed - see www.instagram.com/solacesisterhood for more on this - I went on a deep dive on how to care for my tumultuous menstrual experience.
www.iapmd.org was pivotal in my PMDD experience, many people report struggling with having it recognised by their GP but because I used their advice [including a resource to find GPs that recognise PMDD] I was diagnosed after the first consultation.
I no longer experience PMDD after working with Rapid Transformational Therapy, which I have since trained in to assist others in releasing themselves from the pre-menstrual demon clutches.
Here’s my cyclical run-down that gives us some context for how our cycles are the Neurodivergent game changer:
Menstrual cycles are here to work as a fantastic foundation for our mental health. Let’s get into it - I am so excited to tell you more!
Ever find that certain weeks you find your clothes just don’t feel right, everything is louder and emotional regulation seems like a very foreign concept? Our hormones are what are bringing on those distinct changes.
The hormones are:
Follicular Stimulating Hormone
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
Sex hormone binding globulin (SBHG)
Estrogen directly affects our dopamine levels - which were on their knees to begin with. This is why the week before our period it can be harder to focus, we feel lower self esteem and emotions are running high.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, after we move away from the mindset that we need to be the same - every day. Our body’s inner routine is moving us towards resting, introspection and generating more energy for the next cycle.
Rest to invest. With cyclical understanding, our periods go from a nuisance to a really powerful way to nourish and build ourselves up.
Those who experience painful periods, PCOS, Endometriosis, Adenomyosis - et al: I see you, I hear you, I understand you. All of your continued pain is the body trying to communicate. I speak further about this on my own platforms @solacesisterhood - solutions are available.
As cyclical beings, we are not meant to operate in the same way - every day. Those of us who ardently despise change may find this initially uncomfortable. However, I invite you to expand your current concept of your routine.
The cycle is made up of:
So many of us experience burnout and overwhelm - bringing our focus towards nourishing and resting during our bleed dramatically reduces this.
Rest is something that is so weaponised and so many of us feel guilt and shame for needing it - yet it is a key part of the cyclical experience for those with wombs.
Here is a beginners guide on how you might want to structure your month for work and wellness:
Slow. It. Down. Take as little external action as possible. This is the time to catch up with processing the previous cycle. Your pre-period (luteal) phase will have identified many tension points. This is the time to plan what you want to do about them going forward. Utilise slow movement, your voice, creativity to let out all the emotions, feelings and sensations that are still waiting to be noticed and released. I invite you to lie down, listen to a podcast that you find fascinating and invest with rest. The less you do now, the better you will feel when ovulation comes around.
If you are experiencing pain, know that period pain is common, it is not normal. I recommend enlisted support from a hypnotherapist specialising in menstrual challenges, functional doctors, holistic endocrinologists, period coaches. The pain is your body trying to communicate with you, it’s up to you to listen and take action.
Resist the urge to rush back into ‘go go go’ energy. Take stock of what you have discovered and processed during your bleed, how do you want to implement and integrate this with your new cycle? This is a good time to strip back any habits, mindsets etc that are not benefitting you - your resilience levels are primed for change here.
We feel the most confident, and our energies are likely to peak here. Keeping this in mind, avoid making loads of plans for the weeks where you will not be feeling so amped. This is the best time to front load all of your social and extroverted work plans.
Speaking of sensuality, and sensations: utilise this time to explore your sensory needs. What can you experiment with? Our memory can be off during this time, so go kindly with yourself and it’s definitely worth double checking - everything.
Should you feel overwhelmed or imbalanced during this time, it is worth looking into whether you have an estrogen imbalance. Functional doctors and menstrual coaches are especially beneficial for this identification process as they can point you towards foods and supplements that can support you.
Expect all of the emotions that have been pushed to the side, to resurface now. Notice the causes of tension in your emotions during this time - come back to them during your bleed to reconsider how you want to navigate them going forward.
It is a good idea to write down what is going on emotionally and physically, and how you feel about all of this. The reason for this is that the ADHD mind especially is prone to forgetting painful/uncomfortable experiences - until we experience it again.
This means we can get stuck in loops of discomfort, inaction, more discomfort - that then leads to guilt, frustration and shame.
Break that cycle by keeping note, in a way that works for you, of what is going on - as it happens.
This is the time to look at what is, and isn’t optimised work wise. How did the previous cycle feel? Utilise meditation and womb connection hypnosis to flow into your feelings. If something feels like too much of an effort, consider allowing yourself to come back to it later on in the cycle. Connect to your womb space using your hands, womb meditations and asking your womb questions. The answer is there, which is weird until you realise how well this works.
Welcome to admin week. All of those mundane jobs that felt impossible before your period, are ready to be achieved now. This is a really prime time to get tasks done which our ADHD minds find the most arduous. This is a brilliant place to research, learn and engage in the world curiously. Get clear on your desires and dreams, from a place that is balanced and not as highly influenced by hormones.
Communication time: writing blog posts, recording podcasts, direct to camera content - let’s get those ideas you’ve been nurturing into the world. This is a great time to assert yourself, to speak and explain your truth in a really powerful way. Utilise your strong will, get your voice heard. Sensory issues could be at their lowest, so consider exploring environments that are otherwise challenging. Our minds are primed for single-focus tasks.
If you feel safe to do so, inform colleagues of your cyclical placement. This will be beneficial to you as the likelihood of overwhelm or being caught out while experiencing non-verbal times could come into play and cause confusion. Communicating before saves us further stress later. Wind down on working in community as much as possible. This is time to begin the process of going within, cash in that quality time with yourself here. If you have the option to work from home, lean into that now. Understand that estrogen levels have lowered, so your dopamine levels are likely to need additional support. I recommend including activities that move emotions out of your body during this time - from rage rituals on a pillow to HIIT done with the intention of expressing your emotional landscape. Have headphones, soft fabrics, sunglasses and ear plugs to hand as sensory challenges peak. Creative thinking will be very fruitful, coming up with new solutions for otherwise daunting challenges will be easy. When your work is done, engage in special interests, eat what feels good for you - get warm, snuggly and know that’s amazing work to do in itself. Winter is coming, I promise.
And with that, welcome to your womb re-introduction.
This is the tip of the phenomenal exploration that womb literacy and connection has to offer you.
I know how much utilising my menstrual cycle as the foundation for my mental health, and navigating neurodivergence, has uplevelled my life.
Going from someone who was distraught, upset, angry and completely in the dark about how to navigate my health - to feeling balanced, confident and proud of my period - is so brilliant.
I offer 1:1 hypnotherapy and am releasing masterclasses focused on how to expand your experience of neurodivergent lives - and how to use our menstrual cycle as a foundation for health. I’m so excited !!
See you over on IG, Tiktok and my Spotify podcast - all @solacesisterhood
I have so much to share, I’m excited to meet you soon.