Those who menstruate — In ancient times, for many societies, it was common practice for a woman to spend her bleeding time (or “her period”) cast away from the world in seclusion. This was not meant to be a punishment. This was the ancient way of honoring woman.
There were valid physical reasons for this — while they may have used some form of sanitary pads, they certainly did not have modern “sports tampons” designed for on-the-go. Another good reason — because bleeding out causes exhaustion — a woman loses iron and many other important nutrients, and so she needs to rest. And last, some societies called a woman “unclean” at this time — which I do not see as an offensive term, but to point out that another person’s blood is unsanitary, and that this is a process of removing toxins from the body.
But there were also spiritual reasons for a woman to spend bleeding time in isolation. Some societies claimed a woman must be removed from men and children because of the sacredness of her new moon. This is her time to walk away from the material world, and reunite herself with Source. This is her time to go within, to meditate, to act as a medium and receive important messages from Spirit.
I find it devastating that the modern world has taken this away from us. Today’s modern woman has no time to remove herself from the world for 5-7 days, every 25-30 days! She is working full time, or taking care of her children at home, or perhaps both. She is either out running errands and picking up groceries, or catching up on chores and preparing meals. And in between all that, she is attempting to have a social life and keep up with friends or make time for her hobbies and interests.
However, I think it is so important that as women, we make our best effort to have our own moon time retreat. In this post, I will discuss practical ways that this can be done.
One day of rest
I will start with the maximum possibility of a modern woman having her personal moon time retreat. Five to seven days is out of the question, so let’s begin with one.
This would be on a Saturday, a Sunday, or any day you are off work. Spend the entire day at home, and at least 80% of it in bed. Ideally — spend the entire day in mediation or sleep.
Now, with our modern lack of attention span and proneness to boredom, a whole day of sleep and meditation is probably not realistic.
Here are some things you can do…
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode
- Limit social media time, turn your online status off
- Read emails and texts, but do not respond. Flag them for later or write up drafts without sending.
- Limit TV time, watch shows/movies you have already seen before (limit novelty/stimulus)
- Read a book at a slow pace
- Play your favorite music while you lay in bed just listening and not doing anything else.
- Only leave the house to pick up food (preferably drive-thru)
- Cook quick microwave/oven meals
- Drink a lot of tea (herbal, no caffeine)
- Give your pet(s) lots of TLC — brush them, pet them, clean their cage, etc
- Groom yourself — give yourself a manicure, pluck your eyebrows, etc.
- Take a hot bath or shower, bath bombs
- Do a guided meditation
Things to avoid — avoid caffeine or stimulants, avoid exercise, avoid leaving your home or traveling too far, avoid novelty and stimulus, avoid errands, avoid cleaning and organizing, keep socialization limited (including phone/internet/social media.)
Ideally, it would be best to use this day on the first or second day of bleeding. Of course it will rarely ever work out that way, so just aim for your best. You can do it right before you are sure you are due, but I would advise waiting until bleeding. If your period comes at the start of a work week, take it easy and then save your retreat day for the weekend.
While it may sound daunting to take an entire day off from “productivity”, it is important to give yourself space to “fall behind on chores”, to “let the house get a little messy”, remember that you can always catch up later. If you need to clean, focus on simple tasks like doing the dishes — avoid deep scrubbing or organizing your closets.
Do not feel bad about cancelling plans you have. You can always catch up with your friends at another point. Sadly, we currently live in a society that sees your period as “no excuse” — but your period is 100% an excuse to ditch plans last minute. “Just pop an advil and a tampon” they say — but that’s not how it works! Honey, your uterus is destroying itself for a week — you deserve a breather!
(Half) day of rest
Unfortunately for many, one full day of rest is not even possible, when your responsibilities are loaded.
Instead, I would follow the same guidelines as the full day of rest, but make it a half day. Spend an entire morning, or entire night, in reclusion with the same boundaries.
Tell your partner, your roommates, anyone you’re spending time with that you’re on your period. Let them know that you need to take it easy, catch up on rest, and slow down. Sadly, it may not be “socially acceptable” to tell everyone — like coworkers or people who are immature and close-minded about periods — instead you can just say you are tired, under the weather, going through some things, etc.
It’s important to set boundaries for your week of bleeding. I suggest a full week, but even 3-5 days will do.
Personally, I am trying to implement “no spend week” during this time, in which I limit spending to absolute essentials, avoid going out or recreational shopping. Studies show that we are less likely to spend money at this time, so I think it’s a perfect opportunity to watch my finances.
As I already mentioned, set boundaries with the people in your lives. Push back (or cancel) plans, don’t text back immediately, turn your “online status” invisible, limit small talk with coworkers, etc.
Most times during your period, you will be at work, or on a family vacation, or traveling with friends, or helping out your kids with stuff, etc. It won’t be possible to completely isolate yourself — whether you want to or not!