Over the years, you’ve almost certainly noticed television adverts for sanitary products.
In these adverts, women are often shown being physically active – running, horse riding, bike riding and swimming – with happy smiling faces.
This is probably the complete opposite of what many women actually feel like doing when they have their period.
Just like when you’re a new mother, there is so much pressure just to get on with things when you have your period.
But what if we were more loving towards ourselves when we had our period, and in the days leading up to it?
By honouring ourselves for a few days a month, I think we can feel happier, recharged, and more balanced. After all, if other cultures see this time of the month as rest time, why can’t we?
Try it out for a few months – and see if it makes a difference for you.
Loving Things To Do When You Have Your Period
Here are 6 loving things to do for yourself when you have your period.
#1: Plan Your Month Around Your Period
This might sound like hard work, but it’s not.
In your diary or calendar, make a note of where your cycle is normally expected (if you haven’t already).
Completely block out that time as time for you.
Unless it’s an emergency or something to nourish you, don’t make any appointments. It’s not the time for anything that will add extra stress to your normal day.
Personally, I find the two days before, and the first two or three days of my period to be the most important time to slow down and ask myself what I need to do for me.
If you think you can’t handle a whole week, start with a few days, and build up to a few more when you are comfortable with it. It can feel foreign to love ourselves first, but it’s important. If you’re a mother, your kids will benefit too.
#2: Totally Love Yourself Up
If you can, choose a day for a date night, or lunch, for yourself.
Do a session of Tigress Yoga, which is all about honouring and connecting with your feminine body (it’s not like typical yoga and I totally love it!).
Book in for your regular hairdressing appointment, get your nails done, or have a massage.
Even spending time with or talking to your best women friends or family members will boost your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is the hormone of love and bonding – it feels blissful. Or spend some loving time with your partner. Book in a night of snuggles, skin to skin, kissing – even having sex if you both don’t mind it during a period. An orgasm will provide you with a mighty oxytocin boost.
Whatever makes you feel like a goddess overflowing with self-love will make a huge difference to how you feel and how you parent.
What feels like a low energy time can be turned around. If you give to yourself, you will more likely end your cycle on a refreshing high.
#3: Address Your Pre-Menstrual Symptoms
Many of us have a range of pre-menstrual symptoms.
I never experience cramping, but some months, I become emotional and feel incredibly drained the day before my period.
On those days, I sometimes feel like crying for no reason. Sometimes I don’t feel capable of patiently talking to people, and want to be left alone for some nurturing time. So giving myself ‘alone time’, away from others, and switching off social media, really helps me to feel more calm and centred.
Being aware of your own symptoms and working with them is really important, because it can affect those you love the most.
It’s important to know that the collection of pre menstrual symptoms (e.g. period pain, mood swings, clotting, bloating etc), which is known as PMS, is not actually normal – find out what a healthy menstrual cycle should be like.
PMS is caused by an imbalance throwing us off, and it can be easily rectified. You can do this with the help of a women’s health specialist, a practitioner of Chinese medicine (acupuncture and/or herbs), or a naturopath – or, ideally, a combination of all three. Unfortunately, most medical doctors will suggest going on the pill, which is not necessarily the best solution.
Personally, I find acupuncture to be amazing for all sorts of cycle-related things.
#4: Nourish Yourself And Your Mood With Good Food
If you’re already feeling crabby and low, one of the most unloving things you can do for yourself is to put your body on an additional rollercoaster ride by eating rubbish food. Those highs and lows will just keep on coming.
Do your hormones a massive favour, and avoid (or eliminate where you can) sugar and grains in your diet. Both cause inflammation, and spikes in your blood sugar levels, messing with hormones in the body.
Stay away from sugary drinks – from hot chocolate to sports drinks – and avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
Ironically we crave junk when we’re feeling low, so all the more reason to seek help and break the cycle of inflammation in the body. If you have PCOS or endometriosis, especially, sugar and grains really are the bad guys and can make your condition worse.
Make yourself some nourishing chicken and vegetable soup (or, even better, prepare it the week before); bonus points if you make it with your own bone broth. If you like fish, pan fry some salmon fillets in coconut oil and steam some delicious veggies.
Women’s Health and Reproductive Specialist, Doctor Andrew Orr agrees:
“The time during a woman’s period should be all about nourishing the body and replenishing the blood lost. Lots of warm soups and blood-enriching foods. Keep warm and away from stress and stressful people – just care for your body the best you can.”
Here are 13 healthy breakfast ideas which will boost your mood rather than break it.
#5: Be Sure To Take A Good Iron Supplement
Especially if you tend to feel drained, anxious, depressed or exhausted during your cycle (or in general), a good daily iron supplement can help alleviate these symptoms. It’s truly surprising how miserably awful you can feel when you have low iron. During your period, you’re losing iron, and simply eating steak every day isn’t a great way of preventing it. My daughter and I take Metagenics iron supplements and both of us are feeling so much better; my daughter has completely stopped having headspins (which she regularly experienced upon standing) and her mood is so much more balanced.
#6: Ask For Help
No, you’re not sick, but you’re being loving to yourself. At this time of the month, reach out for help. If the housework is overwhelming, book a cleaner for a couple of hours. If you really don’t feel up to cooking dinner one night (or a few) ask your partner to take over on those nights. Sometimes my partner offers to have a takeout night so we can focus on relaxing at the end of the day, in order to reduce stress. Communicating with your partner about what’s going on for you, and working out solutions together for when you have rough days will make things easier.
If you’re a single mother, meals in the freezer, prepared a week or so earlier, will help the dinner time dilemma.
Ultimately, the more you push yourself, the more frustrated you’re likely to be, and the more likely you’ll burn yourself out. We don’t like getting grumpy or short with our kids; I know it makes me feel awful, especially because I know it’s about hormones. I would rather give to myself and feel like I have more to give to them.
#7: Get Some Extra Sleep If You Can
Disclaimer: Yes, I know this can be difficult if you’re a mother of young children.
You probably already know a lack of sleep can mess with your mood, but it can also mess with your hormones.
So, if you have any opportunities to nap during your period, take them. If you are able to go to bed early, do it.
It’s so hard to agree to naps or early bedtimes when you’re a mother – I get it. You want ‘you time’, and you want kid-free time.
But if you’re going to say yes to naps, at least make this week your week. You can say no on the other weeks – if you want to.
A Mantra Worth Adopting
I’d like to share with you an awesome mantra of mine – not only is it useful during your period, but at any time you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated. Whenever your body is signalling that your needs aren’t being met, or you’re out of alignment, ask yourself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?”
Then listen to the answers that come to you.
You might find they are simple things like:
- Sit down and have a cup of tea
- Stop housework for now and do it later
- Go for a drive (without kids); park the car somewhere private, then scream, to release energy (I know women who swear by this)
- Book your favourite exercise activity (a walk, pilates, gym, yoga etc)
Or it might even be something bigger; the answer might be to book yourself some time away.
While I usually do the day to day things, in March I felt I needed, and deserved, something big. I decided to take my first solo holiday overseas. You can read about my journey – where I discovered how to truly love myself, and listen to what my body was telling me. It was one of the best lessons of my life.
While a holiday alone is not possible for everyone, what is possible for us all is to enjoy the benefits of giving to ourselves as much as we give to everyone else we care about.
Recommended Reading: 5 Things I Learned When I Took A Holiday Alone – Without Kids.