My Period Essentials

reading time: 5 min

https://be-alice.blogspot.com/2017/08/my-period-essentials.html

Yup, today I'm talking about periods. No shame in this. Half the human population gets their period every month, it can be painful, it can be embarrassing, and it sure is something worth discussing. Tension and mood swings, carbohydrate rich food cravings, headaches, breast tenderness, fatigue, skin blemishes, bloating and weight gain due to water retention are just some of the possible side effects of monthly menstruation. 

YAAAY.

Here is what I use to make my period as "pleasant" as possible.


Ginger

As far as I can tell, ginger is one of the most underrated natural remedies for PMS and cramps. In Ayurvedic medicine it has long been used to treat various forms of stomach trouble and nausea, especially morning sickness. It is also known to significantly reduce menstrual pain. I like to use freshly grated ginger that I leave to draw in hot water to drink it as a tea, or add it to my morning oatmeal, curries etc.



Lady's mantle 

Another underestimated cure for period pains, in my opinion, is lady's mantle. As the name suggests, lady's mantle is a powerful medicinal plant for women's "disorders" such as menstrual or abdominal pain and menopausal complaints due to its anti-convulsive properties. It can be used in dried form for teas or baths. I get mine as loose tea at the pharmacy.


Dark chocolate

Yay for chocolate on those cranky PMS days!! Besides nuts, that's what I (and most of the menstruating humans) usually crave when I'm about to get my period. Luckily, dark chocolate is not only delicious – it has some awesome health benefits too! As opposed to milk chocolate, dark chocolate is actually high in antioxidants called flavonoids, which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and toxic substances. In addition, dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium and potassium. Both allow your muscles to function properly, and act as muscle relaxants that sooth aching cramping muscles and lower back pain. Plus, the endorphins released by the brain after consuming dark chocolate improve your happiness and your overall mood :)

However, don't forget that dark chocolate still contains a lot of sugar, so consume in moderation and try to get one that is 80% or more.

Literally me on my period:

© C.Cassandra.comics / Facebook.com

Essential Oils

There are two effective ways to use essentials oils during your period. 
1) Add water and a few drops of soothing essential oils (such as cinnamon, rose, rosewood, lavender or ylang-ylang) to a diffuser and fill the air of your room with calming scents. 
2) Add a few drops of the same essential oils to a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil, rub it between the palms of your hands and apply to your lower abdomen for a gentle tummy massage.



Safe underwear

Okay, this might be a little TMI, but wearing leak-resistant underwear has been such a lifesaver for me!! There's nothing worse than waking up in a puddle of your own blood in the middle of the night. The safest option I know of are washable incontinence pants – yup, sounds terrible and feels like diapers, but they actually work like a charm. I haven't tried these myself, but those period panties that can be used to replace pads & liners (though I would personally only use them as a backup in case you're overflowing) sound like a more appealing solution to feel more comfortable and safe while on your period. If you are looking for some more eco-friendly products I can also recommend this guide to cruelty-free feminine hygiene – I myself am planning to get a menstrual cup and maybe even reusable pads in the future.

(Again TMI, but I also have some underwear (black and red ones) that I'll only wear when I have my period, lol. Anybody else?!)


Iron preparation

During our period we lose iron so it's important to make up for our losses. An iron deficiency will make you feel tired, weak and dizzy. One way is to eat iron rich foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, beans, oats, lentils, dried and unsulfurated apricots, or of course dark chocolate. To improve your absorption of iron, eat it along with a good source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, kiwis, tomatoes, or berries. 
Another way is to take an iron supplement may be a good idea when you are on your period, or right after. I usually get iron pills or a liquid iron supplement made of herbal extracts (such as this one) from my local drug store. 



Moonstone

Now, this may seem a little woo-woo to some of you (my roommate will definitely roll his eyes if he reads this), but personally I firmly believe in the healing power of gems and crystals. The milky white or shimmery translucent appearance of the moon stone gives it its name, but it also shares the "feminine" properties of the moon, as it affects the female reproductive cycle and alleviates menstrual related diseases and tension. It is also supposed to balance the hormonal system, stabilise fluid imbalances, and calm the emotions. Read more about it here. Since I already owned a moonstone, I got into the habit of wearing it as a necklace around my neck when I'm on my period. Can't hurt.


Maca

Best known as one of the typical pricey powdered superfoods, the Peruvian maca root acts not only as a natural aphrodisiac, but it also balances the body's hormones and thereby helps decrease PMS symptoms such as cramping, bloating and irritability. In addition, maca is known to regulate menstrual cycles, increase fertility and act as a powerful energizer. I buy organic maca online in its powder form, which can be added to juices, shakes or just water, but I usually just add 1 teaspoon to my oatmeal, or I make a cup of maca milk in the evening. Sophie's Magical Moon Time Latte sounds like an amazing alternative though.



Gentle exercise

You might not feel like working out while being on your period, but actually physical activities, such as walking, doing yoga or a light cardio workout, will enhance blood circulation and alleviate your cramps. Here is an interesting overview of what sort of workouts you should do during your menstrual cycle. Personally, I prefer to do low key yoga sessions such as this one or this one when I'm on my period. Any at-home workout that doesn't exhaust me will do :)


Warmth

One of the easiest and most effective ways to ease your tense lower abdomen is to supply it with anything warm. Whether that's a hot water bottle on the tummy, warming ginger tea, a warm bath, or a grain pillow that you've warmed up in the microwave (like I usually do) and gently rolled over your abdomen, is completely up to you. Wrapping yourself in blankets and sipping on hot chocolate won't hurt either.



Rest

I'm aware that most of us have to go to work and perform as always when we are on our periods, but that doesn't mean that you can't allow yourself to take it easy and take breaks in-between. Your body is going through an intense period (get it? yeah...) of transition and renewal, so be gentle and respectful towards yourself. Go to bed early, ask your boyfriend to pamper you a little, and know that you are absolutely allowed to feel miserable and drained. 

And remember: Who run the world?

GIRLS! 

Power to the bleeding humans! :D



Maisy

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