For many people, periods are a normal part of life. But there’s no denying that getting your period can be an ORDEAL. Mood swings, cramps, headaches, food cravings…and all this while you’re worrying about making sure you haven’t bled through your jeans (something that has happened to many, many of us, and it’s the worst).
Sure, periods can be a normal part of life, and you may get hundreds of them in your lifetime, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, and you deserve to have a relaxed time of the month with as little pain and discomfort as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can make your life easier when your period comes.
I know, I know. Everyone lists exercise as the solution to everything, and besides, how can you be expected to work out when your uterus feels like it’s falling out?! I totally get the frustration, but light exercise like stretching, walking, yoga, and swimming can actually help majorly with cramping. It gets your blood flowing, while sitting can inhibit blood flow and can actually make you feel worse.
Drink lots of water. . .
This may seem counterintuitive, but the more bloated you feel, the more H2O you need to imbibe. It will help your body get rid of all that puffiness and excess water. Carry a bottle of water around with you during your period, and you can combat that ultra uncomfortable bloat.
. . . and take it easy on the coffee
I can practically read your thoughts right now: Don’t even tell me I’m not allowed to have my beloved coffee ON MY PERIOD. And no one’s taking away your gingerbread latte, we promise. But really, the caffeine in coffee, chocolate, and sodas can make you even more bloated and increase cramps. Instead, drink ginger ale (which can soothe your stomach), herbal tea, and again, plenty of water.
Remind yourself that it’s OK to be sad
Sometimes, it’s actually kind of comforting to know you’re PMSing, because it feels like you’re allowed to be moody and watch sappy movies while crying on the couch. It’s a part of life, man, and it will pass. Own those tears!
Get ultra comfy
Especially when you’re feeling crampy and bloated, tight stuff can just feel terribly uncomfortable against your lower belly. Put on some soft socks, your comfiest sweatpants, and loose-fitting clothing. Surround yourself with fluffiness. Just turn yourself into a cloud.
“Reward” yourself for having your period
Hey, periods are a lot to deal with! And you deserve to treat yo’ self. If you tell yourself that you’ll buy one little thing whenever you get your period, it will give you something to look forward to.
Be prepared hygienically
Ever get your period only to realize that you’re totally out of tampons, then have to wad up a piece of toilet paper and waddle awkwardly to the store? Yeah, it’s the worst.
Before your period, stock up on your preferred feminine hygiene products. Put them in your bathroom, but also make sure to grab a handful for your purse, your backpack, your car, or anywhere else important.
Buy a great heating pad. . .
If you’re really cramping up, a heating pad is a GODSEND. Of course, it’s easy to make one by wetting a small towel, putting it in an open sandwich bag, microwaving it, and sealing the bag, but it’s surprisingly soothing to have a super-cute heating pad, with a pretty pattern or shaped like your favorite animal. Hey, it’s the little things. (You can buy one on Etsy!)
. . . or take a bath
IT’S LIKE SUBMERGING YOUR BODY INSIDE A HEATING PAD. Bonus points for great-smelling bath bombs.
Stock up on healthy snacks you crave
We’ve all experienced food cravings when we’re on our period, but snacking on chocolate and cookies won’t make you feel any better. The right foods can really ease your symptoms, so try thinking of some healthier snacks that will ease your cravings without worsening your symptoms. (For me, it’s raspberries and strawberries.)
Look into a period app
There are plenty of wonderful things that smartphones have provided us, but IMHO, the most important is the period app. Good period apps allow you to track your flow so your next period doesn’t catch you by surprise. And if your symptoms—cramps, moodiness, etc.—are particularly difficult to deal with, you can track them on the app to figure out a pattern and talk to your doctor about how to deal with these issues during future months.