Period Self Care
Your time of the month, menstruation, monthly cycle, the red tide, Aunt Flo…no matter what you call it, your period likely disrupts your life in some way. While your monthly cycle actually proves just what amazing feats the female body can accomplish, your period likely disrupts your life in some not-so-great ways. And since we’re all unique, with our own hormone levels and fluctuations, your experience may be quite different from other women.
No matter how your period impacts you, there are several ways that you can practice self-care to help you feel better—and just more like yourself during your time of the month. We have collected some of the best tips to help you navigate your way through your period as comfortably as possible.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal throughout the month can help you notice patterns in your moods, reactions to foods and can help you predict how you will be feeling as you move through the different phases of your period. Once you have been doing this for a few months you can easily see the trends that your unique and wonderful body goes through. Information is power and this knowledge will allow you to anticipate what you may need or feel as the days progress, making your period easier to handle.
While hydration is always a good idea, staying hydrated while on your period can be even more critical. If you’re like most women, you’re prone to bloating and cramping during your period and staying hydrated helps to combat and ease the severity of these symptoms. If plain water gets old fast, make a pitcher of cucumber, mint or lemon water to keep handy in the fridge. Make sure you keep your drink on hand at all times, just taking sips throughout the day can make a huge difference to your level of hydration.
During your period is probably not the ideal time to try and hit your best time for a ten mile run or attend a really intense spin class (unless you really want to, of course!). However, moving regularly goes a long way in offsetting the mood swings that come with your monthly cycle. When your period hits, try gentle workouts and movement, such as taking a walk or some light yoga. Even low impact exercise helps your brain to release endorphins, making you feel happier and more content—perfect for making your time of the month that much more bearable.
Get proper “period nutrition”
As mentioned earlier, when you are on your period, your iron levels can become low. You can use your diet and supplements to counteract this fairly easily. Simply make sure you get plenty of protein—salmon, lentils and chickpeas are particularly good, as is dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa percentage the better!). It’s also best to avoid inflammatory foods, such as red meat, dairy, alcohol and caffeine, which can make the bloating symptoms you may experience worse.
In terms of nutritional supplements, probiotics, magnesium and herbal blends can go a long way in supporting balance—from mood balance to maintaining balanced vaginal yeast and pH level. Our Renew Life Period Partner and Vaginal and Urinary Complete Probiotic provide key ingredients to help make life better throughout your cycle.
Find the right period product for you
Let’s face it, periods can be messy and there’s no shortage of ways to deal with that mess. Tampons and pads in every size possible (wings, anyone?), not to mention menstrual cups and leak-proof underwear—the options can be overwhelming. The best solution is what feels most comfortable to you, of course…but if you’re conscious about being eco-friendly and haven’t looked into reusable pads or menstrual cups yet, give them a try! They might turn out to be your favourite form of protection and they’re good for the planet, too!
The last thing you likely want to do when dealing with period cramps, bloating and all manner of other aches and pains is squeeze into tight, restrictive clothing (this is no time for skinny jeans), so make sure you stay comfortable during your time of the month. Wear loose clothing, ideally cotton as it allows your skin to breathe and any other items from your wardrobe that make you feel comfortable, cozy and happy.
Applying heat to your abdomen when experiencing period cramps is not a new recommendation when it comes to period pain relief, for good reason. The warmth can soften your muscles and help alleviate the pain. When experiencing the cramps often associated with the luteal (14 days prior to actual menstruation) and menstrual (the actual bleeding) phases of your period, sink into a warm bath or hold a hot water bottle or heating pad to your abdomen. If you don’t own a heating pad, you can easily make your own by putting uncooked rice in a sock, tying it closed, and then just popping it in the microwave for 20 second intervals, making sure to check regularly so it doesn’t overheat.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep remains top of the list when it comes to your general health and wellbeing; however, ensuring you get enough sleep while on your period is particularly key to your wellness. During your period your body gets low in iron, making it hard for you to keep your energy levels up. This makes those precious hours of sleep even more important, so try going to bed slightly earlier or making sure you have a restful evening to best support your body during this time.
Do something that makes you happy
If ever there were a time for self-care, it’s during your period. Go ahead and indulge in your favourite activities. Things that make you happy help to release those feel-good endorphins, which it turn make you feel a bit better and help relieve your period symptoms.
Hopefully one, or more, of these tips will help you become more comfortable during your period. The main thing to remember? Period self-care is anything but selfish—you deserve to feel good all month long. Pick and choose what feels right for you, this is YOUR self-care, so recharge YOUR way.