Have you all noticed how periods are often talked about as horrible, negative experiences? Most of the pictures we see of menstruating bodies show knives and chainsaws piercing through our uterus. Parents and school teachers don’t ever want to bring them up, except when it comes getting pads or tampons. And when people do mention being on their period, it’s usually with a groan of pain or annoyance.
With all this negative energy floating around, it can be difficult to practice positive self-care while we are bleeding. However, in ancestral times menstruation was seen as a powerful magical force that required ceremony and rest. Let’s rejuvenate this practice in the 21st century together! I’m excited to share 3 helpful tips that are rarely talked about, but make such a big difference in self-care during your period.
Tip 1. Hibernate
For people who cycle naturally and chart by paper on in an app, you can usually guestimate what days or even week your period is going to arrive. If you are currently on the pill or any other type of synthetic hormonal birth control, then you generally know when your withdrawal bleed will happen. The average cycle is about 28-35 days long, but I also know people with cycles that last 18 days and some that are 120 days. Everyone’s period timing is unique and can change cycle to cycle.
Overall, periods are the winter season of our menstrual cycles. To learn more about cycling through seasons check out my resource guides by clicking here. Plan to hibernate when your blood is flowing. Avoid scheduling any social gatherings, big meetings, or intense philosophical debates during those days. You’ll save yourself the labour of having to flake, do something you don’t want to, and ignore your what your body wants.
Tip 2. Take the day off
I am a huge advocate of taking the day off work at least one day of our periods. I know, I know… that’s crazy talk right? You’ve got classes to go to, shifts to do at a hospital, store, or café, loans to pay, reports to write, kids or pets to play with, emails to send, and more. Hear me out though. Research shows that if we take a rest day (preferably once a week), we’ll be so much more productive and with it for the remainder of our weeks, months, or years. People used to take rest days by going to church, gurdwara, mosque, temple, etc. A lot of people still do that now… and other people lie on the couch watching netflix (same same but different right?).
Moreover, so many of us experience pain in the ranges of 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 10 out of 10 leading up to and/or on our periods. It’s totally a thing. I know it. You know it. Our ibuprofen and hot water bottles know it. By allowing ourselves to let go of the guilt that comes with “skipping” work, school, or social engagements on our periods, we can give our mind, body, and spirit the break they deserve. We now live in the digital age which pressures us to always be on. It’s totally okay and even necessary to press the shutdown button for a day or two and give ourselves downtime. On your rest day, carve out time to something that makes your body feel good. This can include anything from taking a nap to journalling to going for a light walk around the block. For ideas check out my period self-care pinterest board here.
Tip 3. Consume warming foods and herbal teas
When you get your period, your internal temperature drops a degree or two (depending on if your using celsius or fahrenheit). Your body is colder during your bleed. To support your metabolism, it’s useful to eat hot foods like soups, stews, and daals. One of my favourite warming recipes on a budget is Khichdi. It’s the South Asian version of rice and lentils, and can be made for just a few dollars or rupees depending on how much of the ingredients you buy. One great hack is to go to a bulk store where you can get just enough for one or two meals (and even save plastic by bringing your own container!). Click here for an easy to follow recipe from Manali, a favourite food blogger of me. You can use whatever spices you have in your cabinet to switch up the flavours.
Finally, non-caffeinated herbal teas are pretty much always a good idea. I carry around a thermos full of my newest brew all day because I find it so much easier to drink 2 liters of water daily when it’s warm and smells good. During your period, the body’s estrogen levels are starting to rise in preparation to ovulate in the coming weeks. To support hormonal health, some of my favourite herbs during moon time include fennel, rose, alfalfa, ginger, and raspberry leaf. Be sure to avoid consuming plants that you are allergic or sensitive too.
And with that, I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post for IM With Periods! Let me know if you found the tips helpful for planning your own self-care routines during your period. You can DM me on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email to email@example.com.
To learn more about your own cycle or the cycles of partners, sisters, siblings, and friends purchase one of my low cost resource guides.
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