I just got my period today and it was awful. 😦 I had a head-splitting migraine that wasn’t just painful but made me feel really heavy and dizzy. To top that off, I also had a deep stomach ache that made me curl into a ball. Today is a public holiday so thankfully I didn’t have to work, PHEW! Initially, I had the whole day planned out with exercise and doing something productive, but due how uncomfortable I felt, I decided to rest.
When I felt better in the evening, I decided to create a period self-care guide to remind myself about all the things I can do for myself to help ease my period. Sometimes pain and discomforts are a sign that you’re not taking care of yourself well enough so I treat them as a reminder to pay more attention to self-care.
Here’s a list of ideas of what you can do for yourself during your period:
- Drink lots of water
Eliminate caffeine as it can increase your heart rate and induce anxiety and stress. Also, avoid alcohol as it may aggravate pain and soreness for some women. Instead, drink lots of lukewarm water because your body retains more water during your period and this may cause bloating, constipation and gas. Drinking more water not only helps flush out waste from your system, it fights the bloatedness as well.
- Use a hot patch
For the aches and cramps, I like to use a hot patch as it’s very convenient to use and carry around. You just need to stick it on top of your clothing at the area of your stomach where it hurts. It’s recommended that you use this with clothing material that’s not too thick so that the heat can be felt as it will soothe the pain. You can also use these hot patches on your lower back or other areas that hurt. What I love most about these hot patches is how portable they are that I can easily bring them to my workplace!
- Take a painkiller if necessary
Period pain can become so overwhelming that some women vomit or faint from it. I try not to rely too much on painkillers but they’re times where the pain gets too intense to bear, especially while you’re working. During moments like this, I’ll take a painkiller to help ease my pain.
- Eat period-safe food
Eat leafy greens such as spinach and kale as they’re rich in iron which gets lost while you’re menstruating. Eat bananas as they contain potassium and B6 which will help boost your mood. Bananas also help regulate your bowel movements which can deteriorate during menstruation. Salmon is great to have during your period as it contains vitamin b12, Omega-3 and 612 fatty acids which help relax your muscles and relieve discomforts associated with menstrual pain. Avocado, walnuts and eggs are also good food choices as they’re rich in Omega-3 as well. Avoid salty and processed food as it worsens water retention. Also, avoid sugary food as it may aggravate mood swings.
- Take a hot shower or bath
A steamy hot shower or bath is a therapeutic activity that can relieve pain and muscle aches. Heat helps blood flow to your pelvic area and helps relax your muscles that cause cramps. For added relaxation, you can add lavender bath salt to your bath or if you use a shower, you can rub them on your body as a body scrub.
- Change your pad frequently
I use sanitary pads instead of other menstrual management methods due to personal preference because I feel most comfortable with it. Whether you’re using a pad or a tampon, ensure that you change it after every 3-4 hours to prevent bacteria growth.
- Practice Yin yoga
Yoga is well known as a helpful tool to reduce cramping and sooth the mind. Yin yoga is especially helpful during your period as the postures are passive and gentler to the body. It’s recommended that you hold each pose for 3-5 minutes as the benefits are enhanced through a deep stretch. Start off with the child pose, followed by the forward fold, knees-to-chest pose, supine twist, cat and cow pose then end with the Savasana. You can refer to these 6 Yoga Poses to Relieve Menstrual Cramps.
- Wear comfy underwear
During my period, I always get painful breast tenderness. Wearing a wireless bra eases the pain. I like the wireless bra from Uniqlo, it’s very comfy. I like to pair it with the seamless panties from Uniqlo as it helps keep my pad in place and the material is soft on the skin.
- Wear warm and comfy clothes
I tend to get cold easily during my menstruation so during this phase, I’ll choose lightweight and warm clothes to wear. I also ensure that the clothes I wear are loose fitting because tight clothes aggravates my muscle aches and cramps. I’ll also choose extra comfy shoes to wear during this period as wearing heels would worsen my lower back ache.
- Use Lavender aromatherapy
Lavender is my favourite essential oil as not only does it smell floral and nice, it helps calm and relax my mind as I can become very edgy and easily irritable during my period. Using Lavender oil with a diffuser or burner in my bedroom promotes better sleep too. Alternatively, you can also opt to use Ylang Ylang, Frankincense or Chamomile oil as they’re also known for their calming properties.
- Pray or meditate
During your period, our moods can fluctuate causing us more prone to stress. Praying and meditation can improve our psychological well-being and increase our ability to cope with stress. I find prayer helps me with self reflection and reduces feelings of worry and anxiety whereas meditation improves mindfulness.
- Prioritize sleep and rest
Sleeping early and being well-rested helps regulate our hormones. To ensure this, it’s important to make it a habit to practice sleep hygiene. Put away all your devices such as your phone and laptop two hours before you sleep. Ensure that your room is in a cooling temperature. Avoid eating before you sleep and make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.
I’ll be honest. Committing to all of the above is hard to do. But I believe that good habits can be cultivated through practice. So I try my best to improve and become better each menstrual cycle. I hope that these guidelines are helpful to you and let’s work together for a better period! ❤