Another month has passed, and congratulations! The red tide has arrived and all you want to know is how to deal with periods like a boss. You’re grumpy, sore, you want to eat everything in sight, and sleep for a week. So you bear with the three to seven days of irritation, safe in the knowledge that next month it’s bound to happen again.
Here’s how to keep wolf week as mild as possible.
It’s easier to prepare when you’re not caught unaware at two in the morning, possibly in someone else’s bed. Oh, the horror.
Whether you’re as on time as Big Ben, or are playing the guessing game, there are a number of really cool apps that can help you keep track. Here are a couple of our favourites.
The last thing you may feel like is stepping into your workout-tights and lacing up your takkies, but exercising on your period may be one of the best things that you can do for your body.
The physical activity will increase oxygen flow to your muscles, increase your feel-good endorphins, improve sleep and help overcome that general sluggish and meh feeling you’re experiencing. In fact, because your levels of oestrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, right now would be a great time to push yourself – your pain tolerance and recovery rate is better. Weird, right?
Consider yoga, pilates or light cardio like walking, or a few reps of your favourite strength moves.
You know how you automatically gravitate towards a warm-water bottle when Aunt Flow comes to visit? It turns out that the warmth has more than just a psychological effect. Placing a heat source on your lower back or lower abdomen can help the muscular tissue in your uterus relax. Sounds strange? Doesn’t really matter if it works, right?
Other than the tried-and-tested warm-water bottle, the Deep Heat Period Pain Patch works like an absolute charm (I’m a huge fan), and if you don’t have either of those on hand, try drinking a cup of something warm like tea, as this can help your muscles relax internally.
Stay hydrated and avoid salt:
This is actually for two reasons. The first is that you’re already feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and although you may be craving salty food during this time, consuming excess salt will cause your body to retain the water as well as dehydrate you. What does that mean for you? More cramping.
So to overcome this, drink water, and loads of it. Not only will it help to flush out your system and ease the bloating, but it’ll keep you hydrated, and the cramps at bay.
Listen to your cravings:
We all know the feeling of absolutely craving carbs. And sugar. And chocolate. Turns out, there’s a really good reason for this. You’re expending energy like crazy, which makes you tired, leading to the carb craving.
The chocolate? As a source of magnesium, dark chocolate (or any chocolate, really) is the perfect go-to snack, and as an added bonus, chocolate contains feel-good chemicals.
Some other great foods include salmon with its omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for being anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants, You can also try bananas with their high levels of potassium and fiber which helps with bowel movements, and iron-rich foods like red meat, spinach or legumes.
Get enough sleep:
Cramping, headaches and bloating are just a couple of the reasons we’re struggling to get the right amount of shut-eye when we’re suffering from monthly girl-flu. This, coupled with an increased body temperature and the higher instances of developing anxiety and depression, it’s no wonder we get moody, really. So, how do we get around it?
Take a warm shower or bath just before you head to bed. The difference between your colder bedroom and increased body heat will cause your body temperature to drop and make it easier to fall asleep.
Try yoga, breathing exercises or meditation to help your body and mind wind down, and set your mind at ease before climbing in between the sheets. To help you out, we’ve even rounded up our favourite apps and meditation exercises for you to try.
If all else fails? Take a nap during the day! Just try to keep it from happening too late in the afternoon, as it could disrupt your normal sleep routine.
Take it easy:
Put on your favourite sweatpants, take off your bra and give yourself some much needed me-time. Maybe this means binge-watching all four seasons of Jane the Virgin, or enjoying a big glass of red wine surrounded by bubbles. Or possibly, like me, you like to cue No Strings Attached and dance around to your very own period-playlist. [Add a link to binge worthy seasons post?]
In that case, have a listen to our very own period playlist on Spotify and Apple Music:
Have any other tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!