While the female periods are completely natural and a good sign that everything is healthy and working as it should, there is no denying that they can be annoying, inconvenient, and painful. Every month mother nature brings out cramps, bloating bad skin, and a whole mix of emotions and mood swings.
While most ladies just want to curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and work their way through a share of a large bar of chocolate, there are other things one can do to make it slightly more bearable.
The experts at Saalt, which produces menstrual cups and other reusable menstrual products have put together a list of things you can do to have a better time of the month. Here are some of the steps:
Know your cycle
We already know that periods bring about hormonal changes that affect the moods, appetite, complexion, energy levels and so much more. Did you know that there are 4 faces of your menstrual cycle? When we learned about the changes happening to our bodies, we can see how they might affect other parts of our lives.
To experience the benefits of being in tune with your cycle, brush up on the different cycle phases, and find a tracking method that works for you, whether its an app or a traditional calendar to understand which stage you are at.
Your cycle begins with your periods or the leading phase which lasts anywhere between 4-7 days. Since bloating is usually associated with this phase, avoid consuming too much salt or alcohol. Plan your night out for a different time. This is when you'll feel the most cramping or physical symptoms of your period. You may also get more food cravings, have less energy, and feel withdrawn.
This could be a great time to lay low and do some organizing. Getting stuff crossed off your to-do list at work and home will help you get in a better mood.
Allow yourself time to rest
Your period is triggered when your progesterone levels drop, causing the lining of your uterus to break down and shed. During this phase, your hormones and energy are at the lowest, as your body clears out what is not needed and prepares for new growth.
This time requires rest and replenishment, and by trying to push through and force intense workouts or peak productivity you risk depleting your body of nutrients and energy needed for your upcoming cycle, which can lead to inflammation, burnout and increasing your risk for continual PMS, cramping, bloat and painful periods.
While it can be tough to do in today’s ‘always on’ culture, scheduling some downtime and allowing yourself to sleep in, nap, or simply be without guilt will work to restore energy, reduce period pain, and have a healthy cycle.
Eat foods packed with beneficial minerals
Because your hormones are at their lowest levels during your period, it's crucial to replenish and remineralize with foods that work to keep your energy and mood stable while your brain adjusts to the downshift in your cycle. Foods loaded with iron and zinc, such as beef, lamb, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables are deeply restorative to your blood and kidneys, working to remineralize your body and replenish nutrients lost due to bloodshed.
Opt for a superior period product
Conventional period products (tampons, pads, etc.) are often expensive and contain known toxins, including aluminum, alcohol, and fragrance additives. But perhaps worst of all, they're bleached in the production process, leaving behind traces of dioxin and other toxins in our bodies that can lead to cramping, painful periods, and hormone imbalances like endometriosis.
Using a menstrual cup like Saalt, which is made with a non-toxic, ultra-soft silicone formula, eliminates the need for toxic period products and saves you money (1 cup can last up to 10 years) while cutting down on environmental waste in the process. Saalt is also a committed B-corporation, meaning they give 2% of their revenue to donate period care to regions with the most need, and helping fund initiatives in menstrual health, education, and sustainability.
Favour gentle movement/exercise
While it may seem counterintuitive, it's important to avoid high-intensity workouts during your period, which puts additional strain on your adrenals, causing you to pump out more stress hormone cortisol in order to sustain enough energy during your workouts.