These worked for me. I'll stick with them until they don't anymore. f you want to try some of these, remember that Could > Should.
None of these are substitutes for professional mental health services. Supplements, maybe, only. I am privileged and lucky and blessed to be in therapy once a week, and that remains the backbone of my healing.
Okay let's get to it. Methods follow, with resources for supporting them below.
Rose/Thorn/Bud: the cheesiest of all, I am so surprised at how diligently I stuck with this, using it to reflect at the end of each day of 2021. The biggest key for me is allowing anything from the mundane to the magical. “The noise the ice made in my glass when I accidentally knocked it over.” “Getting hyperdefensive at lunch.” “A sense of ease.”
Morning Pages: In the vein of, make the tool work for your brain, don’t force your brain to fit the tool, let me just say that ten years ago I tried Morning Pages and I thought they were the WORST. Not only did it feel like their content stuck with me rather than getting expressed and moving through me, but I also felt so much pressure to do three whole handwritten pages that took what felt like an ETERNITY. So this time, I broke the rules and it’s been a revelation. First, I use time rather than length: five minutes (at least) every day (as often as I can). Second, I use my freaking computer. My professional typist/hyperspeed texter fingers are well timed with my pre-caffeine brain, keeping me honest, uncensored, and fully expressed each morning.
Cycle Tracking: I’ve been at this for years in a variety of forms, and noting my hormonal journey has helped me root into that Two of Pentacles practice of balance-in-motion, to remember that my body is a little different every day, that I am not a machine, and therefore there’s no reason to expect machine-like consistency from myself.
Lunar Tracking and Astrology: I’ve been thinking a lot about what purpose astrology actually serves for me lately. And I think that even if I can’t make a clear argument for astronomical anomaly altering earthly energy, I do think that it’s really useful to have the opportunity for a shift of focus from time to time. But here's the thing: the moon physically, PHYSICS-ally alters earthly energy. So that shit I won't even bother to try and argue because, if tides, then also moon magic.
Skincare: Anyone rolling their eyes, hear me out. This routine-as-ritual gives me space to spend loving time with myself, with my face, with all five senses. Emily Nagoski gently theorizes that these practices could relate to the social and health benefits of, say, monkeys grooming each other. Every night when I arrive at the mirror, with a never-more-streamlined slew of beloved products in front of me, I have the opportunity to anoint myself with some TLC, reliably regulating my nervous system, and messaging my brain that sleep comes soon.
And Glennon Doyle. That podcast makes me feel more human every time I listen.
And the tools I use for all of this?
Many Moons Planner: An offering from Sarah Faith Gottessdiener, this held my Rose/Thorn/Bud for the entirety of 2021. This planner includes full and new moon writings and rituals, lunar tracking for each day along with other astro events, and little tidbits of wisdom scattered throughout each week. it also contains dedicated reflection space and tarot prompts for each month. I used to use this as an actual planner, but it went full journal/diary this year.
Cycles Journal: This is my Rose/Thorn/Bud container for 2022, mostly because I wanted to roll my lunar tracking, R/T/B, and hormonal tracking all into one and that's exactly what this journal does. It is a ROBUST friend, and has its own symptom tracker section where you can visualize your physical, emotional, mental, and more symptoms all in one place, and then a daily check in section with physical/emotional/etc prompts, as well as even more space that I am using for my usual routine of R/T/B and a few bullet points on the events of the day. It also has brief prompts at astrologically potent moments, but it is a very balanced focus between that and hormonal tracking. It also has a fantastic educational section in the front to help clear up some of the mystery around bleeders and our bodies. It places high value on inclusivity, as well!
Notion: I know I'm really late to the party on this one, and I'm not here to tell you how you can use Notion to run your whole life (check back for next year's list). But I am here to tell you that having Morning Pages directly integrated into my home page makes it both easy and very satisfying to complete them daily. I put that shit on full screen, crank up my TSwift, pour some coffee, and get right to it. Plus, I use the "icon" feature to pick a different emoji for each day's post! Other tools I've used or considered for digital morning pages are Noto, Evernote, and Day One.
Chani App: I mean if you listened to any of my podcast episodes, you probably know what a steadfast companion this astrology app is for me. With both paid and free features, it is a weekly check in, refresher, reminder, restorative. I love Chani's voice, I love her philosophy and approach, and I find her guidance super grounding. A note on this app: it can be easy to feel like, "I'm not using enough of it! I should be doing more!" I personally was able to reframe that by remembering that they made this app with the intention of offering multiple paths of engagement for different kinds of people. So if some content just doesn't vibe with you, you're not using the app wrong if you don't engage.
Clue: Cycles Journal is replacing this as my hormonal tracker, but I used this app on and off for years. It isn't pink, which is great, and I really like the platform. They've been pushing their paid service hard lately, and I have some nitpicks about their UX, but I'm picky as hell, and it's a great place to start if you want something app-based.
Maisie Hill: An incredible resource on all things reproductive health. Maisie inspired me to get more diligent about tracking not only my physical health throughout my hormonal cycle, but also paying more attention to my mood, my appetite, my sexuality, and other mental and emotional factors as I try to collaborate with my hormones instead of surrendering to them.
Newsletters: Here we are, probably arriving from a newsletter. Part of why I started my newsletter was because I was so inspired by those sent out by some really wonderful practitioners that I follow. Like, excuse me, and hello The Imperfectionist. Also, the following in particular are really powerful free resources for astrology info. I recommend Chani's (duh), Sarah Faith Gottessdiener's, and Jennie Date over at Hidden Path Astrology.
And skincare. The only bullet point on my list that requires a little expenditure. In the name of transparency I'm just going to share the prices of my skincare routine as a reminder that there are a lot of wonderful, relatively accessible products out there.
Cleanser - $3/oz - easily lasts a year.
Face Mist - $2/oz- lasts 3-4 months
Hydrating Serum - $13/oz - lasts 4-5 months
Acne Treatment - $22/oz - lasts 6 months
Moisturizer - $2 - also easily a year if i don't use it for my body.
Face Oil - $8/oz - depends on the season, but lasts about 3 months
SPF - ever changing, but won't spend more than $10/oz
Okay. That was fun. I had fun making that. Did you have fun reading it? Let me know. Are you planning on using some of these tools or resources? Let me know. are you like, "Sarah, I really don't care"? Then why are you here in the first place? No need to let me know.
I love you all. Take care of yourselves, whatever that means for you.