what i am currently digging: Claire Baker, self-care, and the deets on my own menstrual cycle

this post is especially for my girlies today. i have something to share that i am absolutely 200% excited + over-the-moon about and i am so stoked to be writing about it here.

to begin with, a rapid-fire round:

  • have you ever wanted to feel a deeper sense of connection with your body? a sense of being at ease and at home with it? to really, really understand it and stop fighting with it?
  • have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the emotions that have raged in your being and wondered what a hot, chaotic mess you were?
  • and have you ever thought it possible, or actually wanted to, celebrate your menstrual cycle (yes, your whole entire menstrual cycle and not just the 1 painful week). (the male fraternity might want to stop here. warnings for OHT and un-relatibility released.)

enter Claire Baker.

i stumbled upon Claire’s profile on Instagram (suuuch a good place to find amazing people) through another equally badass woman that i follow when the said badass woman shared how she was using Claire’s method in order to get to know her monthly cycle (the entire 28 day thing) and her body, really well. i was instantly intrigued and went over to her profile to check her work out. needless to say, after scouring around for a bit + a few clicks, i was a fan and i have been following her work closely ever since.

what Claire advocates is a way of living that is based on a simple philosophy: self care that cares first about how you feel on the inside before what you look like on the outside. most of us women, if not all, are so out of touch with our own bodies and completely clueless as to what it actually, really needs. now those needs can’t be set in stone because our hormones and energies are changing each month with our cycle and changing with each phase within our cycle. no wonder it’s hard for us (and for those around us) to make sense of us at times.

i came up against this very same dilemma as i dived into and searched around for ways to take better care of myself without falling into the quagmire of shoulds and have-tos and what was recommended. those could come later. i wanted to get to know my body first and what served it in the best way possible. i wanted a system that a) i felt excited about b) really allowed me to look at wellness and self-care, not just through the lens of what i ate and what shape my body was in, but how i felt in/ about it. i wanted to actually take care of my body and hence, myself in the process. i wanted to understand and strengthen my relationship with it.

and this, i believe, is where Claire’s work is golden.

a snippet from her own website says it best:

This is about wellness on a deeper level – the kind where you’re as lit from within as you are glowing on the outside; where you take true pleasure in feeding yourself high-vibin’ foods and get actual joy from movement and exercise, where you understand your body’s natural monthly cycle and work with them – not against them. It all boils down to honouring your body and heeding its whispers. If that means a sweaty beach run and a kale salad, that’s great. And if it means a night on the couch with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate, that’s totally fine too.

talk about self care that’s sprinkled with toppings of absolute love and no stress of any kind (bye-bye diet programs).

Claire’s idea appeals to me because i myself feel the fluctuations in my energy at different times of the month and i am so sure you do, too. there are times during the month when i feel all high-energy-vibin’ and really want to go out, explore new things, spend time with people, and basically be really extroverted in my endeavors. and then there are times when i want to do nothing but come back home as soon as possible and curl with a good book + my journal and go to sleep as early as possible.

yoga? i really wanna do core workouts on particular days but on others i just want gentle, easy flowy sequences.

dressing up? i really want to invest in looking good + experiment on some days whereas on others i couldn’t care less if i wore a particular top the day before yesterday.

trying out new things? on some: ‘omaiigod yes! why i’ve always wanted to do this, and so what if we fail? Let’s do it!’ on others: ‘umm… i’d rather not.’

and when i followed along with what i wanted/ needed that day, when i planked out real good, put in the extra effort in my outfit, or turned my phone off early to journal + chat with my sister before sleeping, i felt good and well in my body. like my body had just smiled contentedly and whispered a warm ‘thank you’ for listening to and honoring its needs. and when i ignored the messages for the day, that made me feel cranky and less-than-stellar. so not what i wanted.

so when i got to know Claire’s method for working with your cycle (it involves journaling so double yaayy), i hopped right onto the bandwagon and tried it for myself.

and i absolutely loved it.

here’s what i did: at the beginning of my cycle when i am feeling really introverted with my energy, i took the time aside to tune into how i wanted to feel for the next 28 days. the guiding words for those 28 days you could say. next, every morning after i’d had gotten ready, i asked myself ‘how does my body feel today? what does it need today? and what can do to honor its needs?’ then i selected one absolute non-negotiable to integrate into my day that would allow me to send that energy of love to my body. and i made sure i did it. ‘cuz, well, who doesn’t want to feel some lovin’?

next, i checked what phases really constituted my cycle and what my energy map for those phases were. for reference, here is one, picked up from Claire’s website:

day 7-21 is when you’ll be in the yang part of the energy spectrum. you’ll want to go out and hit the gym and stir up new shit and power through your to-do list. from day 21 till day 7 you’ll be in the yin phase when you’ll be more reflective and want to spend with at home with chocolates or a good book and just be really alone.

understanding these different phases was so very eye-opening for me and i could finally get why i would never be able to feel good with a routine that’s set in stone and why i craved different things while feeling the entire possible range of human emotions in a month.

for example, at this time of the month, i am in the yang energy phase. so, there are a lot of ideas brewing up about what new stuff i can try. i am planning things and trying out new workout routines that involve a lot more sweat + pushing to the limits. this is the masculine ‘go-go-go’ energy. on the other hand, when i approach the rear days of my cycle now, i’ll take things more slowly and spend more time in activities that calm me (writing, sleeping for howsoever many hours i want, staying away from my phone). as Claire says, it’s all about structuring your days in sync with the natural rhythms of your body.

i’ve just begun incorporating this philosophy/ methodology in my days and i feel so darn great about it. it’s so good to not be at war with my body and to really respect it + listen to it. in return, i feel really alive and vibrant in my days and that just keeps on creating a boomerang effect that adds up the good energy. self-care any day, every day!

i really hope you take something of value from this and know that it’s possible to feel at peace and to actually celebrate your cycle. and more than possible, its absolutely essential to do so: to tune into our bodies and to see what energy we have going on and how to best harness it to organize our day and life. and more than even necessary, it is such an empowering and integrated way to live- in touch with your body and how it is in the moment and what would best serve it right now. it is a way of being kind to oneself and making self-love actionable.

if you want to know more about Claire and her work, you can visit her website here. or her Instagram page here. she shares her own everyday routine and how she’s tuning into + honoring her body each day of the month on her Instagram stories and it really inspires + motivates me to do the same for myself. plus, her voice is really lovely. also, if you want a taste of the stuff she makes, you can enjoy all of it here. (omg i only just discovered this and i thought i knew her site by heart).

to self-care and celebrating ourselves,

Esha

Psssst! Claire has also written an e-book ‘Adore Your Cycle’ where she explains this whole idea of working with your body and getting to know it + love it better. You can read about it here and if you feel even an inkling of interest in buying the e-book ‘cuz somewhere it resonates with you + you love the idea of celebrating your womanhood, shoot me an email/ message or drop a comment here.

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