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08th Mar 2024

Is a good relationship with our period possible? A menstrual coach says it is

Jody Coffey


A good relationship with our period begins with talking about it more

Every month, when Mother Nature does her thing, many of us will greet our period with dread.

A lot of women need to alter their plans and/or clothing around their monthly visitors, especially those who are subject to painful cramps or a heavy flow.

Unfortunately, menstruating often means suffering in silence, pretending we’re not experiencing discomfort, and whispering about period health to not make anyone feel awkward.

These truths can make the relationship between women and their period a strained one.

However, what if there’s a reality where the arrival of our period is welcomed with positivity, understanding, and empowerment?

Apparently, there is.

From pain to power

Lisa de Jong, a Menstrual Cycle and Chronic Pain Coach, helps people to build a better relationship with not just their period, but their entire cycle.

Lisa’s work today stemmed from her own experience with her period, having suffered from debilitating pain for years, which later turned out to be undiagnosed endometriosis.

“I had a lot of period pain and I hated my period. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about my period either and I was embarrassed, I didn’t know how to look after myself with my cycle,” she tells

Through exploration, understanding, and education, she reframed her mindset around the menstruation cycle so that she could help others, serving as a beacon of hope for women suffering from theirs.

Lisa de Jong. Credit: Crotty Communications

Tuning into the ‘Inner Seasons’ of the menstrual cycle

Lisa, on her journey to understand period health and help others with theirs, began using a framework she refers to as ‘Inner Seasons’.

The concept is similar to the seasons of the year here in Ireland.

Not only does this help to understand the inner workings of our cycle, but it provides knowledge for how we should support it.

Inner Winter

The coach says winter is our menstrual phase when oestrogen is at its lowest.

Similar to actual wintertime, it’s normal to feel tired during this phase.

“It’s normal to feel tired and maybe tender or vulnerable or to have some symptoms and therefore it’s encouraged to slow down to take care of yourself,” Lisa explains.

“Maybe that day wear looser clothing to work or to curl up with a hot water bottle and just mind yourself.”

Credit: Getty

Inner Spring

After the inner winter of a menstrual cycle, the inner spring begins to bloom.

During this phase of the cycle, oestrogen begins to rise, which means more energy.

“After our period, we might feel like, ‘Oh, I feel happy to not be on my period anymore’, that’s the spring.

You’re likely to experience an increase in energy and strength during this phase, allowing you to put even more effort into physical activity.

Inner Summer

During ovulation, when oestrogen levels are at their highest, is what Lisa refers to as inner summer.

In direct contrast to inner winter, it’s a much more energetic time of the cycle (and likely our favourite time of the cycle).

This phase can result in elevated energy and mood, making it a good time to socialise and exercise.

Credit: Getty

Inner Autumn

Just like the seasons of the year, after summer comes autumn.

Lisa says that after ovulation, we enter the pre-menstrual phase, otherwise known as inner autumn.

During this phase, energy levels will begin to drop a little bit, Lisa explains.

Inner autumn is when the symptoms of an imminent period begin to show, such as bloating, mood swings, abdominal pain, and nausea.

This is a good time to prioritise our diet and sleep, she says.

“Make sure there’s lots of fibre in your diet, fresh air, exercise, and good sleep.

“Things like that can help to prevent the cramps from happening before we get to that place.”

How the Inner Seasons can reframe our relationship with our period

Rather than having a kind of ‘train crash’ at the end of our cycle, Lisa says working with it all month long can help to ensure we’re always tuned into our body and ‘inner seasons’.

Listening to our body’s signals the whole way through the cycle, as opposed to just the period, can better inform us on what steps to take to manage pain and hormones.

For her, she takes Cleanmarine’s PeriodPlan supplements every day throughout the cycle, rather than pain management when her period arrives.

“I have a lot less cramps since I integrated what I teach into my life and there are different ways you can do it; having a healthy diet, a good supplement like Period Plan, and having that energetic relationship with the menstrual cycle can help regulate the nervous system.”

Regulating the nervous system can be preventative for cramping (cramps not related to a medical condition like endometriosis or PCOS).

However, Lisa urges women not to put pressure on themselves to eradicate period pain completely, but, rather, to understand how to look after themselves by tuning into their cycle.