Try these and get back to being fabulously cramp-free
If you're on here, you're probably not one of those unicorn period-getters who bleed for 3 days and don't bloat until you feel whale-size. And if you are a unicorn period-getter, I am so envious of you and wish you nothing but the absolute best. For the rest of us, however, it takes time to figure out exactly what works for you and your body during menstruation.
All of that being said, as I approach my thirties, I have had my fair round of periods and am now a well-oiled machine when it comes to my period hacks. I’ve read so many articles that tend to cover the same things, some of them work and are on my list, some of them are really my personal hacks.
How to manage period pain
My personal trifecta of period struggles are uterine ripping cramping, brain fog, and the general self-doubt that starts pumping through my self-confidence like water from a firehose.
This is my winning secret for brain fog in general. Rubbing it on your temples and the back of your neck really helps to clear your head, sinuses, and generally provides this perk-up feeling. I use a pea-size amount of the balm and take a few minutes to apply it. It smells great and helps keep me centred on whatever I need to do.
P.S. Mint oil will also work! Just put a few drops on a lotion and apply the same way.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta-whatta-whatta-now? Anyone who doesn’t know yoga is like “wtf did I just read”. It’s a pose that a friend who is an osteopath/yoga instructor combo taught me a long time ago for menstrual pain and I swear by it. It’s not super hard, you can use blocks or pillows to prop your knees up a bit, and just hang out there for a bit and breathe.
Chase the Big O
Put simply, get off. Either solo play or with a partner, orgasms are proven to help reduce period cramps, anxiety, and generally boost your mood. There’s a lot of unnecessary taboo around period sex and there shouldn’t be. I used to think HELL NO, but then you kind of get over it once you do it with someone you trust!
Hit the gym
It’s hard to get to the gym on a good day, nevermind when you feel like you’re birthing your spine. We all know the benefits of exercising and on your period it can really help, but definitely go a bit lighter than usual (read the article, Exercise and Menstruation to learn more about this). I always feel 100% better after I go to the gym in general and I find that it helps to reduce cramping, but feel that the mental benefit is strongest.
I feel like this goes without saying, but eating like crap will make you feel like crap. If you’re already feeling really bloated (oh hey period poop, you gassy delight), staying away from foods that make you more bloated and try not to carb-overload. While all you may want is a big bowl of pasta or a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, try to stick to the healthier foods, like the fruits and veggies you know work for you. My personal go-to unhealthy snacks are dark chocolate covered rice cakes.
Also, avoid the booze (see number 7). Drinks can seem like a great idea for reducing cramps, but hangovers bring in a lot of anxiety, and the last thing you need is to be hungover, full of anxiety, and cramping.
An MVP and true classic. Fill it up and put it on your lower back or abdomen- or have two and enjoy the good life. Mine has a little sweater on it that’s really soft and who doesn’t like soft things?!
Also known as ‘hangover anxiety’, this one's on here because while grabbing drinks can be fun and relaxing, drinking booze on your period to get drunk is a terrible idea. While you might feel better temporarily, the next morning your hangover can set off all the anxiety feelings, and on top of it you’ll have cramps. The Guardian did a great article about it this topic, you can read it here.
Get enough sleep
Cramping, headaches, anxiety, and other menstruation-associated issues can impact your sleep and ability to stay asleep. Try to always go to bed around the same time, feel clean by taking a shower or bath before bed, stay off of screens, and ideally try to do some stretches or anything else that helps you get into wind-down mode.
It takes time to figure out exactly what works for you and your body, this list is around 15 years of knowledge. These things will always change over time! Try new things, listen to your body, and talk to your friends, they might also have some great ideas.
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