I’m smiling ear to ear recording this because I’m just so excited for today’s guest interview.
Today, I’m speaking with Dr. Cassandra Wilder – a.k.a. Menstruation Queen.
Cassandra is a hormone expert and a naturopathic doctor with a passion for cyclical health and menstruation. She’s been grateful to support hundreds of women with her program, Period Reboot. She also has an amazing podcast where she sheds light on why we as women were all so confused when it comes to our health, both growing up and even now.
Cassandra talks about what a healthy cycle actually looks like, how we can have better, healthier periods, and also how to work with the 4 different stages of our cycles as women and business owners. Because, get this – our energy changes throughout these different stages, and we can plan our businesses and our lives around this. We get to decide when we’re selling, launching and creating versus when we’re resting and taking a step back into flow.
Trust me, this one is a game-changer. Cassandra is so real, down to earth, and just gets what we’re all going through. And whatever you do, make sure you check out her Instagram – her reels are utterly hilarious and not to be missed!
In this episode, we talk about:
- What it actually means to have a healthy cycle
- How to use your cycle as a blueprint for your business
- The 4 phases of your cycle and what they mean for you
- Healthy habits to boost your hormonal and cyclical health
Tune in to the episode here:
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The Episode Breakdown:
Elley: You guys, I have the most incredible human being on the entire planet with me today, Cassandra Wilder. Welcome to the podcast, very excited to have you!
Cassandra: Thank you! I’m blushing at that introduction.
Elley: I know, I’m just so excited. I think this episode is going to be so phenomenal and transformational for so many women listening.
So tell me, what is your zone of genius when it comes to what you help your clients with in your business?
Cassandra: Well, on Instagram I’m the Menstruation Queen, so my specialty in the world is helping women balance their hormones and get to the root of their period problems.
Like a lot of people, I had a lot of period problems in my adolescence, and I felt like there were no options really presented. Birth control was touted as the cure-all, but it didn’t work for me. It made me a lot more emotional and moody, and I just didn’t feel like myself.
I feel like I was just pushed or even forced to find this mission in life, because I felt like no one’s talking about something half the population deals with. We need answers and we deserve to feel like our bodies can be supported. They’re not broken, they’re not flawed. Really, they’re just amazing systems that tell us when something is out of balance, usually through period symptoms.
Elley: That’s very interesting. It’s so true, half the population gets a period and half the population has the same problem. I was 15 when I was put on birth control pills like they were this magic pill that would fix acne and period pains. It’s not until I was older that I realised it wasn’t good for me. There are probably a lot of women listening who have had that realisation, or maybe this is going to be where they realise it.
How did you actually get into the world of women’s health? It’s obviously something you’ve always been passionate about, but what made you want to focus specifically on women’s cycles? Are you just obsessed with it and love talking about it?
Cassandra: Yeah, I do. I say the words ‘vagina’, ‘uterus’ and ‘period’ more than most people in the world!
After I went to naturopathic school and started working one-on-one with women, it just suddenly felt like everyone’s issues or imbalances rooted back to their hormone health. They’d come to you and maybe they wouldn’t even talk about their period, but they were exhausted, they were irritable, they couldn’t sleep, they just felt dry, they had no libido.
I was sitting there in these consults feeling like I was missing a really big piece of this, because believe it or not, even at naturopathic school there’s not as big an emphasis on hormone and menstrual health as you would think. We’re taught to find the root of these imbalances, and to me, it looked like an adrenal thing, a thyroid thing, an ovary thing.
I did my own research and looked at the gaps that exist in research around women’s bodies, and that just propelled me further. Then as soon as I started posting on Instagram, people just flocked in. It was like they were so happy that someone was finally talking about real issues that we’ve all struggled through and adding a humorous side to it. It reminds you that you’re not alone. This sucks, but we’re going to get through this.
Elley: I love your Instagram reels, they are my favourite to watch. They are just so good and so on point. I think people flock to you because you talk about a real topic that people are actually dealing with, and it’s almost like you’re our voice. You get what we’re going through.
Obviously you help women to balance their hormones and have healthier cycles, but what is a healthy cycle? Could you break that down for us?
Cassandra: This is a great question, because we’ve normalised a lot of really extreme symptoms like being in horrendous pain during your period or passing big clots. We’ve brushed it off as something that everybody goes through.
That’s not how it should be. An optimal period should be under 7 days and minimally painful. We shouldn’t feel any huge drops in fatigue or moodiness or anything like that. We should stay pretty optimistic and feel good. We may have a natural desire to be a little more introverted and less social, so it’s our biology to want to sit on the couch with some tea and be left alone!
It should really feel quite pleasant. I’m sure some people are hearing this and thinking, “Yeah right, I doubt it.” But if periods are painful, extremely heavy, very long, super irregular or even missing, then to me these are symptoms from the body that are saying we need help. Something in our lifestyle or something going on internally is asking for our attention.
When we think of it in that perspective, it seems less annoying, right? If your friend was saying she doesn’t feel well, would we tell her to get over it? No! We’d be asking what we can do to help. So treat your body like you would treat someone else.
Elley: I love that, that’s such a great perspective shift. You’re right, we normalise having really heavy or long periods, or being super duper moody. I’m sure a lot of women can relate, so I do love that you’re saying it’s normal to have a healthy period and here’s what a healthy period is.
So how does this all come into business? I know that like me, you disagree with the 9-5 thing and that our bodies aren’t meant to work 9-5. Can you talk about how it impacts us as business owners and female entrepreneurs when it comes to working with our cycles?
Cassandra: To me, it’s the ultimate business hack. Honestly, guys just don’t have anything even remotely as cool as this.
We think of our cycles as just related to our health, but everything in our life is impacted by our cycles. Our sociability, productivity and energy are all affected by that. So why wouldn’t it make sense to just implement this into your business?
I use my menstrual cycle as a whole as a blueprint for my business. I track my period in an app, then I go into Google Calendar and put in when I’m going to have my period, and my entire business is structured around this. It’s the coolest thing ever.
There are 4 distinct phases that become my blueprint for what I know is really going to work well with where I’m at in my cycle. For example, in my period, I’m not going to sit down and write copy or get on a sales call. That’s not going to work, I’m not going to be as magnetising and potent as I could be in another part of the cycle.
I’ll go through the 4 phases and break it down for you.
1. The Follicular Phase – the ‘Planning & Prep’ phase
This is the phase right when your period ends but before ovulation. This is your planning and prep phase of the cycle. In a physiological sense, your estrogen is increasing, so you’re going to feel more social and productive. It’s the perfect time to plan out your entire month, set your goals and intentions, plan what days you’re going to be available to see clients and decide how you’re going to structure things. You might schedule things now for later in the month when you’re not going to want to be on Instagram or talking to people as much. You can be super social and work a lot in this phase, and it’s the best time of the month if you’re a planner and appreciate having that little bit of structure so that the end of the month is really smooth.
2. The Ovulation Phase – the ‘Go All In’ phase
In theory, this is when you could work a 12 hour day – not that I’m recommending that! But you could because your energy is sufficient. You’re the most social and the most magnetising in this phase, and this would be the time to bulk your content and save it for later in the month when you’re maybe not as inspired to do this.
3. The Luteal Phase – the ‘Complete & Finish’ phase
When we dip into the luteal phase, it can feel kind of abrupt because we’re a little more sensitive and might feel a little irritable at times. It can be an interesting transition for some of us. Biologically and in your business, this is the time to go back and finish all the little tasks we started. This is a great time again to schedule things out into your period phase, but it’s also a really important time to ensure that we’ve completed what we need to do so that we can actually *rest* during our period phase. I know some entrepreneurs are going to be shocked to hear that! It’s not something you learn as an entrepreneur – you usually learn all this because you’ve burnt out in the past and you don’t want to do that ever again.
4. The Period Phase – the ‘Resting’ phase
As we enter our period phase, the most productive thing you can do is rest. Super revolutionary, I know!
Depending on the business you have and the flexibility you have, you can customise what rest looks like for you. For some people, it’s taking a day off. I strive to take at least 3 days off where I’m not available for clients and not answering emails. It’s incredibly freeing and it’s just such a stark difference to what we all learned in the 9-5 corporate world where it’s go, go, go and there’s no room for emotion or change. It’s such an affirming way to work with your biology and it feels good. You don’t feel overwhelmed and you don’t feel burned out, because you’re scheduling in rest every single month.
Elley: Yeah, I think that’s brilliant. I love that there are the different stages and the different names, but my favourite thing about what you said is to schedule in rest. The reality for a lot of women is that they feel as though they can’t rest, because if they don’t do something, then they can’t achieve something. They think they aren’t worthy of receiving clients, sales, or even just love and support.
Has that ever come up for you? Can you tell me about your journey with stopping and *really* resting?
Cassandra: It’s really hard at first. We’re all ingrained to think that if you rest, it’s lazy or you could be doing something else. You could build a mountain with excuses as to why it’s a horrible idea for you to take care of yourself. It’s just ingrained that we’re the martyr who saves everybody else and takes what’s left, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Rest is how you take back your power. Rest is how we start to reclaim our cyclical nature and also to show to anyone we love in our life that it’s okay too. If you have young women in your life, this is the greatest lesson you can ever teach them. Most of us didn’t get that because we came from hardcore workaholics.
Elley: Fake resting – let’s talk about that, because again I think it’s something that a lot of people do. What is fake resting and what is real resting to you? Can you tell us the difference?
Cassandra: I don’t know that there’s a real definition, but to me, fake resting is really just disassociating. That’s where we come home and “rest” by watching 8 episodes of Netflix. Are we resting? No, and it’s not going to replenish you. It’s the same thing if you take a bath but you take your phone in there with you and just peruse Instagram. It’s the things where you’re disassociating and numbing yourself versus really carving out time to rest.
However, I think that with all of our technology, we’ve lost the awareness to know how to rest. We all grab our phone and that’s just the way it is. It can be a challenge to learn how to even come back to things you used to love, like painting, making jewellery or going outside with a book and just being. It’s totally different and it’s hard at first.
Elley: I agree, and I think because we’re so attached to technology, it’s so easy to just take your phone with you no matter what you’re doing, and then notifications pop up. If I’m resting, my phone is on Do Not Disturb and notifications are turned off. You’ve got to give yourself that space. Decide that when you pick up your phone to do something, you can be fully present in that. Then when you’re resting, you can be fully present in that. To me, that’s part of real rest – being fully present and grounded in the tasks that you’re doing.
Cassandra: Oh, that’s so amazing. We can all take a note from your book.
The other thing I’ll add is how you start and end your day. If you’re grabbing your phone first thing in the morning, then there’s a lot biologically going on with that. It’s going to spike cortisol, it’s going to mess with your melatonin and how your body reads the light of your devices versus the sun. Instead, have an hour in the morning where you’re present with whatever you do as your morning routine – eating breakfast, being with your family, doing yoga, whatever it is. *Then* get your phone. It’s a life changer. Do the same thing right before bed.
They’re small things, but if you’re going to have good routines, then just leave your phone in the other room.
Elley: On that note, what does your day to day routine look like? Do you have a morning and night time routine that you can take us through?
Cassandra: Sure. In the morning, I usually don’t touch my phone for about an hour. I will drink a bunch of water, take some supplements and do a little bit of yoga. I have a little corgi so he kind of detracts from the relaxation piece at times, but it’s fine because he’s so cute.
After that, I have breakfast and that’s usually when I’ll get my phone. I’ll check Instagram and then start doing my client calls.
At midday, my favourite thing to do is take the dog outside for a little walk and get some vitamin D. I wear short sleeves or shorts and no sunscreen to just get some sunshine on my body for 20 minutes or so.
Then, we come back in and finish up the client calls. When my fiance gets home, I really try to leave the phone in the other room and really be present.
At around 8:30pm, the phone goes on airplane mode and I don’t touch it again until around 9am the next day. It’s actually really freeing to have 12 hours a day where I don’t even touch the thing, because if I’m touching it, I’m answering messages or doing something that I really don’t need to do right that second. But if it’s in your hand, you’re just so tempted to be involved.
Elley: Absolutely. I love that you have really strong boundaries with yourself and other people in your life. Whether people are business owners or not, boundaries are something that we all need to support us.
You’re obviously not on your phone 24/7, but do you have any other particular boundaries that have really helped you to support yourself through your cycle, with your hormones, and just in being really happy in life?
Cassandra: The period boundaries are the strongest. My fiance is so sweet and he totally gets this, but if we’re invited to something social, then unless it’s really awesome or something I can’t reschedule, then it’s just a hard no. I’m not going to do things that I know don’t feel good to me personally. I’m not going to be responding to client messages, and they know when they sign up to work with me that I have boundaries too. You don’t need me every second of the day. I’m here to support you, but there’s no intense handholding codependency. We’re both sovereign and empowered humans.
In my luteal phase, so that phase right before my period, I also notice the biggest boundaries that come up for me are around the phone stuff. If I find that I’m feeling PMS-y, it always comes back to something about what I’m doing to take care of myself. I call PMS ‘premenstrual syndrome’, but also ‘prioritise myself’.
If I’m feeling super annoyed, it quickly comes back to – how have I not taken care of myself today? Why am I so on edge? Oh, it’s because I didn’t eat lunch because I was busy, or I’ve been on my phone for 3 hours just scrolling like a zombie. It’s always that boundary of seeing what I’ve been doing, noticing that it’s not in alignment and is impacting my mood, and then removing that.
Elley: That’s really empowering to hear. It’s very easy when we’re PMS-ing to just say it’s our body’s fault. But it’s like, hold on, let’s have some responsibility here. What have *we* been doing? It does come back to us and how we use our bodies and how we use our time. I think that’s a really empowering way to look at it, I just love that.
Cassandra: And it’s amazing how it’s always spot on. Especially if you feel that with your work, I guarantee you can trace it back to what you did recently that’s getting you annoyed. Maybe you worked at 10pm because a client needed you to. You could’ve said no, but now we’re learning, right?
Elley: It’s all part of the process, it’s all part of learning it all. I’m sure we can all relate to something along those lines.
I would love to know, for anyone who’s listening and wants to start working with their cycle but is brand new to this, where do you recommend they start? What are the absolute basic foundations of how to work with your cycle as a business owner?
Cassandra: So first things first, you have to start tracking your cycle with an app so that you can start to have a “prediction” around when your period’s coming. It’s going to be a little trickier if your periods are super irregular, but if you’re pretty much within a day on the dot, you’re going to love this.
Once you get some data, even just after a month, start to plug that into your calendar and update everything you have. If you use a scheduler like Calendly, start to implement that right now so that there isn’t even the option to work with you during these certain phases. Tell the people you work with about this journey, because they’re going to support it and they’re going to want to do it too.
The other thing I do with my Google Calendar is I use a different colour for each week of my phase. That way, for example, if I need to do a bunch of tedious, back-end work that month, I can put it in my luteal phase when I don’t really want to be social but can mindlessly do all these annoying little projects you have to do.
Start to work with your own biology and notice how different you feel.
Elley: Do you recommend that people track how they’re feeling from week to week, in terms of emotions and irritability and stuff like that?
Cassandra: Yeah, that would be amazing. That’s the thing, there are levels to cycle tracking. But if you’re ready to hop to level 10, then really start to plug in how you feel day to day. Do you feel tired? Do you feel energised? Do you feel social or antisocial? Do you feel moody or super happy? That way, you’ll start to see what your own rhythm is and you’ll be more prepared for the next month.
Elley: I love it, so good. Before we wrap up, I have a question that I ask all of my guests. With your own unique spin on it, what would you consider to be 1-2 characteristics of an empowered CEO?
Cassandra: I think an empowered CEO is a woman that really has the flexibility and the freedom that she wanted when she became an entrepreneur. It’s the woman that knew she wanted more quality of life and more time with her family.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time as an entrepreneur, you quickly work more than you ever did in a “normal job”. Suddenly, you’re burned out and overwhelmed, and it’s really, really hard. To come back into that empowered CEO position is to start to work with your biology, allow yourself to be cyclical, and prioritise yourself so that you can really stay inspired in what you do.
Elley: I love that so much, and it goes so well with everything that we’ve talked about.
I also want you to tell us about your program, Period Reboot, which I have just joined. For anyone who is ready to heal their cycles, can you tell us what the program is about and how it will help them?
Cassandra: Period Reboot’s my baby. I jokingly call it ‘everything your mama never told you about your body’. It is everything from how your cycles work to how your hormones interplay into this, and then also how to get to the root of your symptoms. It’s a really affirming community to know you’re not alone. So many people have shared the same experience of being told birth control is the only fix, and then trying it and struggling with their cycles, fatigue, bloat and cramps. It’s where we pull back the curtain on all these things that we’ve been told are normal, and then give you the step-by-step blueprint of how to transform your hormone and cyclical health. People think it’s just going to be a bajillion supplements, but it’s not – it’s much cooler than that. It’s how we really work with your biology and scrape away all this horrible health advice we’ve all fallen into.
Elley: Cassandra, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This has been amazing and I know there will have been so many incredible takeaways for the ladies listening!
You can follow Cassandra here:
WEBSITE – https://cassandrawilder.com/
INSTAGRAM – https://instagram.com/menstruationqueen
- PODCAST – https://www.cassandrawilder.com/podcast
- PROGRAM – https://www.cassandrawilder.com/period
Hope you loved the episode and reach out to me on IG if you want to chat about the episode.
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