The temperatures are cooling down, the days are getting shorter, and school is back in session. Fall is upon us, and with it, comes a brand new routine. Often times, autumn is the beginning of busier schedules, cluttered calendars and ever-growing to-do lists. During this time of year, it’s all too easy to let self-care fall by the wayside.
In the midst of all of this activity, your period can become one more thing to be dealt with or checked off a to-do list. In fact, it’s common to try to work through or ignore your period altogether! As grown women and mothers of teenage daughters, it is so important that we take the time to establish healthy and manageable routines to effectively nourish our body and minds all the time – but especially during our menstrual cycles.
Self-care (just like periods!) can get a bad wrap for being inconvenient or impractical in the midst of school, work, and other obligations. The fact is, that couldn’t be further from the truth! We’ve rounded up our favorite techniques for taking care of our bodies during our periods. And since they’re all relatively quick and simple, each of these can easily fit into your back-to-school routine! Can you say, win-win?
Here are our top nine tips for managing menstrual discomfort during this season:
1. Be prepared.
Come on, you knew we were going there! Make sure you’re stocked up with your favorite period products well before you start. (Not sure what you like? Check out our shop for a description on each type of product available to you.) Whether you’re heading to work or school each day, place your products in a small, easily accessible pouch that can be discreetly removed during bathroom breaks.
2. Layer up.
Body temperatures are in flux during your period, so it is best to make sure that you dress in comfortable, loose layers. If you are prone to cramps, a cozy sweater or wrap is the perfect thing to throw in your bag as you head out the door. If you start to feel discomfort, toss it on. The warmth will allow your muscles to relax.
3. Get moving!
It’s very important to give your body time to rest, especially on the first day of your cycle. (More on that later!) However, once you’re feeling up to it, light physical activity can work wonders. Take a few leisurely walks each day, or attend a gentle restorative or yin yoga class to stretch and release tension in the muscles. When you exercise, your body releases beta-endorphins, which is like a natural painkiller. Pretty amazing, right?
4. Fill up on the good stuff.
Since digestive upset is a common symptom for women on their periods, make an effort to nourish your body with nutrient rich and easily digestible foods, with a focus on lean proteins, iron, and fiber. It’s also a good idea to spread your meals throughout the day, so you’re never too hungry or too full – this can help to alleviate cramping. Skip overly sweet or salty foods in favor of whole foods. Our favorite snacks include: oranges, spinach salads, almond butter, and watermelon.
5. Keep calm and carry on.
It’s a good idea to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with a calming, clean, and comfortable environment whenever possible. That means that once you’ve completed your necessary tasks for the day, you avoid committing to other obligations. Trust us, those other things can wait – and you’ll be back to feeling 100% and tackling your to-dos in no time!
6. Drink up, buttercup!
It is recommended that women who suffer from menstrual cramping increase the amount of water they drink while cutting back on sugary or carbonated beverages. It’s a common myth that water can worsen bloating, when in fact, it has the exact opposite effect. Amping up your fluid intake can help to alleviate water retention and reduce cramping. So keep it flowing! (No pun intended!)
7. Treat yourself.
When the day is done, run a warm bath and treat yourself to a relaxing wind down just before bed. The water’s heat will increase blood flow to your pelvic area, which can provide almost immediate relief. Boost the relaxation factor by adding a few drops of lavender, geranium, or clary sage to the water. Not only will it smell amazing – but these oils have been shown to help alleviate menstrual discomfort. Once you towel off, and get into bed, try giving yourself a gentle abdominal massage. Use a small amount of oil or lotion and slowly rub your stomach in a circular motion. Sweet dreams!
8. Eat chocolate.
You heard us: while we suggest avoiding other sugary foods, dark chocolate has actually been shown to lift moods, reduce pain, and give you a natural boost of energy. It’s also high in iron and potassium, which can both help to relieve cramping and achy muscles. So go ahead – treat yourself!
9. Lay on the lovin’.
If you take just one tip from this post – this is far and away the most important one. Your body is working hard during your period, and now is the time to thank it for all the work it’s doing to keep you healthy. Give yourself the time you need to slow down and relax, especially during the first day or so. Give yourself patience, kindness, and lots of love. Think of it this way – your period is the one time each month that your body forces you to slow down. Listen to this call – and you’ll reap major benefits.
Even the smallest gestures can make a huge impact on our well-being in the midst of our menstrual cycles. We hope these tips allow you to move through your period with a little extra love and comfort. Let us know if there’s something we missed in the comment section below!
The Be Prepared. Period Team