How to Make Your Period a Little More Tolerable
When it comes to creating positive period experiences, one of the most overlooked strategies is using the right period products.
When I was fifteen, my periods were unimaginably painful. Once a month, I was bedridden for days, barely able to leave the fetal position. My gynecologist tested me for PCOS and other ailments, but couldn’t find the cause. With no clear diagnosis, she ultimately prescribed me birth control to mask my symptoms; while it was enough to help me get out of bed on those mornings, I knew I would need more if I didn’t want to waste a quarter of my life in discomfort.
Everyone talks about symptoms, but people rarely talk about the fact that we don’t need to suffer through them. I’ve learned how to make my period a little more tolerable, and I hope that some of my strategies prove useful for you, too.
My favorite tip for making periods easier is to reframe your perspective of that time of the month. Rather than seeing it as lost days, or only focusing on the negative symptoms, instead consider that time of the month to be your time to indulge in pampering. When you’re on menstruating, it can be easy to make it the center of your day.
But what if you didn’t?
I don’t refer to my period week anymore— I call it my pampering week. I take extra-long baths, do face masks, light candles, play calming music, and create an at-home spa each night. Yes, every night until Aunt Flo leaves town! After just a few weeks of these habits, I began to look forward to when I get my period— and now it might even be my favorite week of the month.
Listen to Your Body
In order to really take care of your body, you need to be in-tune with it. Being able to listen to your body is a skill that takes practice. During the worst days of my cycle as a teenager, I could only describe the way I felt as bad. Years later, I’ve learned to distinguish the feelings— fatigue, dehydration, hunger, cramps, bloating, moodiness, or achiness. Treating your body right is like caring for a newborn baby— if you want them to stop crying, you need to figure out what they really want.
You should never neglect your body’s needs, but especially while bleeding. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re uncomfortable, change your clothes or body position. Will some chocolate relieve your craving? Or will some over-the-counter pain medicine be enough to bring you peace? Knowing what your body needs takes time and practice, but if you can achieve it, it makes relieving symptoms so much quicker (and more effective).
If listening to your body seems like a foreign or impossible task, start cycle journaling to help yourself notice patterns and changes in your cycle.
Know When to Rest
I am all for period positivity, but sometimes the messaging goes a bit too far. Periods are natural, and people with periods are powerful, but they are not limitless. You don’t need to be Wonder Woman, during your period or any day. Anything can be accomplished while bleeding, but it’s also important to know when your body is asking you to stop.
There is no shame in taking time to rest. In fact, a well-rested person is more likely to be more productive (and happy) once they get back into action. You might notice your body and mind become more fatigued on your periods— and if that’s the case, making sure that you are getting enough rest is paramount to everything else.
It’s also important to remember that every period looks and feels a little bit different. Some months you may feel like you can take on the world, and others you may need extra rest than usual. That is absolutely normal, and absolutely okay. It is more important to do what your body needs and what it can handle than it is to push yourself just because you have before.
Use Healthy and Safe Period Products
When it comes to creating positive period experiences, one of the most overlooked strategies is using the right period products. No, I’m not talking about pads versus tampons; I’m talking about taking the time to do research about the ingredients you are putting on your body, and finding products and companies that you can trust. Focusing on self-care only goes so far without the right products.
I love INTIMINA for so many reasons. First, because they are rooted in period-positivity, and they actively work to end shame and stigma surrounding menstruation. It feels good to put my health into the hands of a company whose values align with mine.
I also love INTIMINA because they’ve shattered my fear of menstrual cups. I had always been interested in them, but was always concerned about putting a foreign object inside my body (although that’s exactly what tampons are, too!). When I made the switch to menstrual cups, I knew I would never look back. They are sanitary, low-maintenance, and most importantly to me, they are comfortable. The Lily Cup is the one for me due to its size and 12-hour window, but INTIMINA offers cups for every person with a period.
Create Positive Energy
Mindset is a powerful tool that often goes untapped. It can make our lives easier, or it can make them more difficult. Luckily for us, the choice is in our hands.
I used to hate my period more than almost anything else, except maybe broccoli. Looking back, my dread probably heightened my pain and moodiness when the day would finally come.
We can’t change the fact that we get periods, but we can change how we perceive them. Over the years, my fear and anxiety each month. Learning to manage the pain was a small step in the right direction, but it was really my changed outlook which completely reshaped my period for me.
You see, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more fascinated that people with periods can create and carry life. There’s not much cooler than that! Menstruation is not a punishment— it’s a celebration of all your body is capable of. Sure, bleeding can be inconvenient. But when I remember why I am bleeding, I feel empowered.
Going into your period with a positive mindset makes its symptoms far less irksome.
Remember We’re Stronger Together
When it comes to learning how to make your period a little more tolerable, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There’s an entire community of people with periods!
Over the years, I’ve begun openly talking about my period with loved ones. The first conversations always felt a little uncomfortable, but they opened avenues for honest communication about how we feel and what we need from each other. Support has made my period, and my journey into womanhood, feel so much more manageable.
Even though every period is different, there are tips and tricks that work for many people with periods. Ask for questions, tips, and help. Forget the stigma, break the ice, and start having open conversations! Support companies who support you. And once you’ve successfully managed your period, return the favor by helping others.
There’s magic in women supporting women.