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“Spring-cleaning” your uterus isn’t exactly a thing (yet)—but women’s hormone expert and Wellness Council member Alisa Vitti says it should be. Here, she explains why.

Believe it or not, your uterus holds onto an unbelievable amount of emotional “stuff.” I see this often with my clients: The symptoms you experience in your ladyparts are directly correlated to the emotional turbulence your heart and brain can’t yet process.

And it’s not all in your head; studies show that fear and stress can actually compromise your egg quality, ovulation, and fertility. The thoughts and feelings you have really can impact your endocrine system, so make time to seriously take stock of your internal issues—which, by the way, might not even be yours alone.

This isn’t just a theoretical concept—again, research has backed up this idea that the intense psychological traumas your ancestors endured can influence your DNA. So the emotional energy you hold around the concept of “mothering” and femininity—whether it’s in regards to your own mother, the mother you are, or the way you care for and mother yourself (if at all)—can have a direct impact on the state of your hormonal health, menstrual patterns, and even your fertility.

This could be the one piece in your wellness journey you’ve been overlooking.

Here’s the thing: Even if our mothers and grandmothers had the best of intentions, most women of prior generations weren’t taught or encouraged to engage in the behaviors and actions we now know support female health, vitality, and true happiness. They didn’t know how to manifest these things, and they didn’t know how to pass that wisdom on to us—and without attending to and repairing the relationship you have to your mother, her mother, and the whole notion of motherhood, you may unknowingly be sabotaging yourself.

While this isn’t a topic health practitioners often tackle, the chemical changes that can result from this sort of inherited trauma can have a direct impact on the crucial cascade of hormones that govern everything from your stress response to your fertility. Whether you realize it or not, your connection to the psychological concept of “the mother wound” could be the one piece in your wellness journey you’ve been overlooking—and it might be a hidden instigator of your period problems and endocrine issues.

So, what kind of self-care does this call for? Keep reading for 4 ways to start tapping into your feminine energy ASAP.

uterus self care
Photo: StockSnap/Daria Nepriakhina

1. Have an intimate convo with yourself

Metaphorically cleaning this stuff out means taking the time to reflect on and acknowledge your fears. How to begin? Start by talking out loud to your uterus. (Yes, I’m serious!) Make it loud and clear that you acknowledge and recognize the symptoms it’s expressing—everything from hormonal imbalances or period pain—but that you’re ready to feel the root cause of those symptoms in your heart. You may feel silly, but hey, this is between you and your uterus—no one else needs to know—and you’d be surprised what a a little bit of loving attention can do.

Get Started
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journal
Photo: Pixabay/picjumbo

2. Check your (inherited) misogyny

Make a list of all the lessons you learned from your mom and the other women in your life around self-care and self-esteem. What did you observe from the maternal figures in your life and what did they explicitly convey to you about your own value as a woman in the world?

Once you begin digging up these internalized beliefs and putting them to paper, you can start deconstructing them and deciding for yourself whether they’re serving you or holding you back from success. This is a simple way to start dismantling some of the stories and ideas that may be detrimental to your well-being.

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Smiling young woman looking down against of red brick wall
Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

3. Make self-love your new wellness goal

I grew up around hard-working women who had no idea how to put themselves first, so I never learned to do that either. It was only through my years of research and experience that I came to realize just how critical this piece of the wellness puzzle is—and that what works for me when it comes to prioritizing self-preservation is cycle-syncing. That means during each phase of my cycle , I integrate the right foods, workouts, and lifestyle habits to complement and capitalize on my body’s natural strengths throughout the month. (The MyFlo app I created can help with this, with recommendations for each phase: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal.)

To truly come to terms with any past scars or to clear space for future possibilities, you absolutely, 100 percent have to care for your own well-being and love the magnificent person you are—make self-care an integral part of your routine, and consider it just as important as a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

After all, if you’re chronically stressed, your body will churn out cortisol, which will keep your endocrine system compromised. Undoing that constant tension and bring your stress hormones back into balance will directly impact your hormonal health. Learn the art of saying “no” (it’s Gabrielle Union’s beauty secret, FYI) and recognizing which activities and engagements leave you feeling inspired and fired up—and which ones just leave you depleted.

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uterus self care
Photo: Unsplash/Patrick Tomasso

4. Be a creator

You give birth every day and you don’t even realize it—your unique ideas, thoughts, and actions are your own personal gifts to the world, and consciously identifying the things in your life that you love bringing to fruition is a process I like to call “cultivating your fertile mindset.” What do you bring to the table at work and at home? Which strengths and accomplishments do you value most and which do you want to foster for more productivity?

Learning to respect the creative talents you have (and believe me—you have them!) will allow you to tune into the natural state of fertility and abundance. Valuing your own beautiful ability to breathe life into projects, relationships, ideas, and conversations will empower you to embrace and cherish yourself and all mothers, everywhere.

In the end, it’s important to understand and embrace the fact that any emotional energy you’ve held that’s negatively influencing your endocrine health is not your mom’s fault or the result of anything she purposely inflicted upon you. Instead, look at this emotional baggage as an indication that you are still on your wellness journey and just haven’t yet completed the circuit of maternal healing.

Closing this generational circuit really just means learning to nourish yourself with the same kind of unconditional love and attention you’d lavish on a child. You deserve that kind of healing, and you may be surprised to find the undeniable effect on your hormones, your outlook, and your entire life.

Alisa Vitti, HHC, is a women’s hormone expert, an integrative nutritionist and a member of Well+Good’s Wellness Council, a handpicked holistic health squad that gives the best advice this side of your own personal guru. She is also the creator of the MyFLO hormone-balancing period tracker app, the best-selling author of WomanCode, and the founder of FLOLiving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

What should Alisa write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to [email protected]