4 Seasons in 4 Weeks

Ever heard of the phrase ‘4 seasons in a day’? Well, imagine experiencing this on a physical, mental and emotional level over a ‘period’ (sorry, couldn’t help the pun) of 4 weeks. And then again…over…and over…and over on repeat each and every month until you reach menopause and a whole new set of physical, mental and emotional encounters come on.

I’m talking about the circle of life when it comes to a woman’s menstrual cycle.

It’s been an interesting year of deeper insight and understanding for me when it comes to this topic. Physically, emotionally, intuitively and informative wise.

You see, I only really had the chance to start slowly connecting and even feeling the cycle dots for myself in October 2018, when after 16 years and 31 years of age, I made the intuitive and educated choice to get off the pill. (I highly recommend you follow Naturopathic Doctor Lara Briden and read her book Period Repair Manual, as it was inevitably what got me over the line to say “bye-bye” to the pill).

I got my first period at the age of 13 and like many teenagers, it was never consistent. So, when at 16, it still hadn’t settled into a regular cycle and I had become sexually active, going on the pill  seemed the most obvious, popular and widely accepted choice. Both by GP’s and parents. Don’t get me wrong, it did its contraceptive job, but it didn’t do me any long-term cycle favours.

Naturopath and Women’s Wellness Expert Melissa Hohaia says, “Not many women understand that when they go on the pill, they are basically tranquilising their ovaries – it is comparable to an ‘artificial menopause’, as your ovaries stop doing what they do best – producing estrogen and ovulating.”

I began to temperature track and use a tracking app called Kindara recommended to me by a good friend who is also a Naturopath, to help me learn about my cycles and ovulation time, but it took almost a year to start to get any kind of consistency in my cycle (a fairly average time for this to happen). However, I did instantly begin to notice my hormones – more so my libido…

Let’s just say that whether it was age, life circumstance and or not having yet experienced the right sexual partner/match or both – for the first time I began to really FEEL it. A lot

Lesson 1: Turns out the pill can curb, inhibit and even diminish your libido. Eeep!

“It blows my mind that so many girls/women are prescribed the pill (or other hormonal contraceptives) as the favoured treatment for the vast majority of hormonal conditions – it is used as a blanket cure-all option for anything ‘hormone related’ (from PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids to perimenopause). Even crazier than that, is the fact that often this ‘treatment’ does nothing but contribute to the original issues that were causing the woman’s symptoms in the first place. This can mean that when she decides to stop taking it, she can be left with more serious issues as a result of using hormonal contraceptives in the first place.”

Fast track to 2020 and other than having a slightly longer cycle on average than preferred (between 35-40 days), everything seemed to be humming along as it should according to menstrual charts and readings. But then in April of this year, I attended an event held at the beautiful Perth based Floralia Wellness & Apothecary and as fate would have it, my free 15-minute naturopathic consult that was included in the event was allocated to Melissa Hohaia, a Naturopath with a focus and passion for supporting women’s wellness.

I had been thinking about my cycle and fertility a lot lately. Not uncommon for a woman in her 30’s (34 to be precise) who hasn’t had kids and isn’t exactly sure if a) I actually can having never tried before and b) I am actually even ovulating properly.

Cue Melissa.

I won’t bog you down with all the finer details of my first full initial consult with her but I will tell you this. I learned that a) my cycle wasn’t working efficiently nor was it looking as though I was actually ovulating as and when I should and b) I got educated and out of my own ‘holistic expert’ way when it came to cycle/fertility promoting herbs & supplements, seed cycling and honouring the 4 phases/seasons we experience throughout each cycle.

I’ll let Melissa come in to break this down and explain it further.

“You need to start by giving yourself permission to truly and authentically be a female! Don’t shy away from your softness and variability – this is your superpower NOT your weakness. Please also know that no two women are the same, which is why it is so important to start observing and tracking your own rhythm.  There are no hard rules around living in alignment to your cycle, but there are some common themes that can be helpful for most women to keep an eye out for.

If we start with Day 1, being the first day that your ‘period flow’ starts, then this can often mark a time when we need to go inward – withdraw from the external world to be in our own space and take time to honour our own needs above all else.  This ‘winter-like’ phase is best spent with a clear social calendar and extra time for reflection.”

After winter we move to spring, which is a representative of the week leading up to ovulation. This is a phase where we can often feel our energy, confidence, sexuality and productivity heighten as we re-enter society.

As we move closer to ovulation, our hormones serve to boost our energy, give us a truly feminine glow, and rev up our sex drive.  We can find ourselves with a greater ability to consider and care for others as we are filled with the “mother energy” – making us more kind, loving and considerate.  This is a great time to be communicating and negotiating with the people around us.

From ovulation to our next period, we travel through ‘autumn’ and find ourselves with fading energy, but an increasing need to ‘de-clutter’, ponder, manifest and let the ideas flow. This is a great time for day dreaming and letting your mind wander. This can be a difficult phase for women who suffer with PMS, as the uncomfortable symptoms tend to be expressed most commonly here.

Ultimately, when you are able to tap into the phases of your menstrual cycle (or moon cycle if you are not menstruating) then you will be tapping into a labyrinth of intrinsic strength, where at every turn you discover more about your body and the support that it requires. Altering your lifestyle, exercise and even food choices can help you transition through the phases/seasons of your cycle with a greater ease.

In saying that, I do appreciate that not every woman will have a good relationship with their period – especially if it is heavy and painful. But I urge you to use your symptoms as your monthly report card and seek out long-term treatments that truly help you address the underlying issues so that you can one day see your cycle as a blessing not a curse.”

If you want an audio, visual, educational and entertaining take on this, I recommend watching Australian Lucy Peach’s TEDx Talk, The Power of the Period.

From a personal perspective, the more I delve into and become aware of my own cycles, the harder it is to work or go against it. What I mean by that is, women are not like men (in case you needed reminding) in that our hormones and moods and energy accompanying them fluctuate and change in ways they don’t have to experience and deal with. And yet, in a modern day where women can and do now take on a lot more responsibility and equal share in producing household income, while still taking on much of the traditionally female roles of looking after the home, being primary caretaker of the kids and tending to errands, and more traditionally male areas like DIY renos and outdoor care, we aren’t really being allowed to openly accept it, express it and most of all, honour it.

And the idea or common outlook that doing less and being able to give less to work, our partners our friends etc during certain times somehow makes us lazy, shits me!

*Side note: I highly recommend reading Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides us by Carole Hooven just to validate how differently we think, feel and function to males.

I know that I am so lucky to be in a position of being a) a solo business owner and b) a part time employee of a company where mental and physical health is a huge priority enabling flexibility. But that doesn’t mean I’m not faced with the same challenges of days where how I feel doesn’t align with what’s on the schedule. And there is no one else that can just come in and take my place or do my work for me. So, there’s that head fuck of being responsible to your own personal needs or the needs of your schedule and to do list.

What I am getting better at is a) thinking ahead of time and being more empathetic towards myself during the phases where I purposely take on less and steadily tick the boxes vs conquer the day. And b) not apologise or kick myself for not attending an event or social occasion where initially I may have looked forward to it but the reality is it’s now fallen at a time that I just want to go within and nurture me.

Trying to be everything (just because we now can) has a negative effect and downside on our emotional and physical health and is a major contributing factor to many of our modern-day lady issues – primarily our cycles and fertility. And I want to see this change.

“As women, I feel like we are collectively in a pandemic of filling up our lives with more than we can handle and seeing our periods as an inconvenience – something we just have to ‘man-up’ and push through. Take the time to reconnect with your cycle – even if all that means is recording your period in your calendar, being aware of your cervical discharge changes, and monitoring how your energy, mood and body feel at various times in your cycle.  It doesn’t need to be complicated to start appreciating your ‘hormonal super-powers’ and being more compassionate and understanding towards yourself. If you can become aware of and listen to what your hormones are doing, then you are in a powerful place to seek the right help to address any underlying hormonal imbalance.”

Some of the changes I have personally begun to embrace (and fight my need to ‘please and achieve’ self on) is exercising in accordance with my energy and getting outside if what I need is nature and in real life connection to other humans and no more screen time. To focus on my more creative aspects of work like writing and content creation when I’m feeling inspired and the words and ideas are flowing vs giving energy to clients that isn’t there, should the ability to move around my schedule be there. To stay in versus socialise or the other way round. To have a completely isolated work day or have my day interspersed with collaborations and meetings. To see a friend or just take myself for a date. To cook dinner if I’m feeling chill and in the mood, or think ‘fuck it’ let’s grab something pre-made.

In short, I want it to be OK for us to just embody what it is to be a woman again and no longer have to feel sorry for it.

While doing some research for this blog, I came about another awesome TEDx Talk by Alisa Vitti, called Loving your lady parts as a path to success, power and global change. She’s an American Holistic Health Counselor and founder of FLO Living.

‘…I’ve really instead found that women, who get into partnership with their bodies, end up becoming the fullest expression of themselves, and living as leaders and change agents in their lives and communities.’

And while of course I recommend you watch the full video, I hope that powerful point she makes not only strikes a chord with you as it did for me, but gives you the permission and the courage you seek to use the power of your 4 seasons in 4 weeks.

Stay juicy,

C xx


Melissa Hohaia runs an online program called “Cycle Choices”, which details all the phases along with dietary, lifestyle and exercise adjustments that can fit in with the menstrual phases. You can connect with her on Instagram @melissa.hohaia.naturopath or learn more about Mel and her services on www.melissahohaia.com