6 rituals to help you prep for your period

There’s nothing fun about getting your period—you’re bloated, tired, and breaking out, and all you want to do is eat brownies on the couch while binge-watching The Great British Bake-Off. If you use a period tracker app and know when your period is set to come, though, there are a few “period rituals” you can try to help make things a little more comfortable.

So many period-related symptoms come before you actually start bleeding (like cramps, headaches, moodiness, and back pain—thanks, PMS!) so prepping for your period makes a lot of sense. And honestly, you probably do a lot of these rituals already; thinking of them as rituals just helps you to be more intentional about monthly self-care.

1Take a long, hot shower with essential oils

Luxuriating in a hot shower isn’t just a nice thing to do for yourself, it actually has some period-related health benefits. The heat from the shower can help to relieve menstrual cramps and ease premenstrual back pain, and diffusing some lavender essential oil in the bathroom while you’re showering will help to reduce your PMS stress and encourage more restful sleep—something we all need more of.

2Stock up on pain relievers

Maybe you rely on ibuprofen, a muscle-relaxing oil, or you swear by a CBD product for period pain relief. Whatever the method, get your products in order before your symptoms kick into high gear and you can’t get out of bed. And remember to throw some pain relievers in your work bag so you’re not stuck at the office without them.

3Organize your period supplies

Ever get your period and reach into the cabinet for a tampon only to find there’s nothing there? It happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to. Make it a point to check your cupboards for pads, tampons, and any other supplies you might need before you actually start bleeding.

4Make some exercise dates for your future self

Research shows that moderate exercise during your period can help to relieve period symptoms such as “stomach cramps, breast pain, mood changes, fatigue, and cravings.” But getting motivated to work out once you’re actually bleeding can be a nonstarter. So do yourself a favor and book some yoga classes now, or make hiking or walking dates with friends, so you don’t spend your whole period lying on the couch.

5Fill your fridge with these important foods

Listen, we know you’re craving fries and pies and nothing else right now, but they’re not going to help relieve your PMS symptoms. While you might still chow down on some slightly less-good-for-you foods the week before your period, try to work a few healthy options into your meal plan, too. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and more) have been shown to reduce the negative mental health effects of PMS, such as anxiety, depression, and lack of concentration, as well as bloating. If you’re suffering from vitamin D deficiency (which many of us are after the long winter season), taking a supplement may help to reduce feelings of sadness and irritation, but you can also get it from foods like salmon, cheese, and eggs. Also, we lose a lot of iron during our periods, so consider eating some lean red meat, plenty of spinach and broccoli, and tofu to restock your supply.

6Give your belly a clary sage massage

Clary sage is proven to reduce menstrual pain, so pick up a bottle the next time you’re at Whole Foods and keep it close. To ease cramps, add about 10 drops to a carrier oil, such as almond, argan, jojoba, avocado, or coconut, then rub it into your aching belly as you lounge in bed in comfy socks.

We all deserve a little extra self-love and affection during this time—embrace it.

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