When you have your period, it is a vital time to really listen to your body’s cues and take extra care to support its needs, so it can do what it is naturally meant to. Our menstrual cycle should be seen as a blessing rather than a hindrance. After all, it provides us with seasons within our own month to have energy and accomplish what we need to, and then it encourages us to rest when we’re supposed to- that’s pretty amazing. If we just listen to its cues, our body will indicate what it requires and when, so that we can have balance in life.
When we have our period, it’s our time to rest and rejuvenate. Be intentional about honouring this, and know that when you have your period, it’s more important than ever to be gentle on yourself, listen to what your body needs, and take a little extra care to ensure that you’re able to thrive and be the best version of yourself.
Everyone’s needs will be different, but below are 9 types of self-care to consider the next time you have your period, to ensure you’re fuelling your body and mind rather than burning out;
Allow indulgence and comfort food, but balance this with lots of iron rich foods to keep your energy up (think peanut butter on toast, leafy greens, red meat, legumes etc). An awesome high iron meal coming into the cooler weather is steak with sautéed baby spinach, mushrooms and garlic.
Hot showers work wonders to soothe the soul and help with any aches or cramping you might be having. And while you’re there why not add some extra care and do a body scrub- the circular motions needed to massage all over will also help your circulation and could help with any aches you might be experiencing.
It’s more important than ever to have a few early nights so you can wake up feeling more refreshed. Why not cosy up in bed with a good book or your favourite show and watch an episode on your laptop or iPad in bed. It’s so much easier to get to bed earlier when you’re already there earlier in the night.
The last thing you might feel like doing when you’ve got your period is exercise, particularly in those first couple of days. But some light movement really does work wonders for your energy levels and to help with cramping or aches. Try some gentle stretching or yoga- this yoga is particularly good during this time if the month.
If you’re comfortable getting a massage, why not try a hot stone massage at this particular time in your month. Warm stones are used during the massage and placed gently down your back and used in soothing sweeping motions as a tool for the massage. It produces a veil of soothing warmth over your whole body that is so beautiful and relaxing. I love getting these massages because of the soothing warmth factor, the overall relaxation, but also having a massage whilst lying on your tummy really helps with any pain or cramping you might have in your pelvic area. Massage may also help if you get tension headaches or bloating.
Cut yourself some slack, if you’re feeling tired, vulnerable, and/or emotional, that’s completely understandable. Let yourself feel your feelings and try not to read too much into them. It’s so normal to feel out of sorts when you’ve got your period, it can be a tumultuous time for your body.
Try not to push yourself to be constantly doing if your body is just not up to it. Your to-do list will still be there tomorrow, or a night out will still be on offer next weekend. Rest up and do more if the things that comfort you and make you happy. Watch your favourite movie and order takeaway, have a hot shower and listen to your favourite music, cosy up under a blanket with a good book, invite a good friend over for a glass of wine or coffee and a chat.
Most importantly, pamper yourself. Use this time of the month to really support yourself during your cycle and lean into your needs and be gentle with yourself. Do little things for yourself that feel a little luxurious- put on an eye mask, indulge in some chocolate, make a healthy smoothie, use beautiful natural skincare, have endless warming cups of tea, burn a delicious smelling candle.
Always follow your gut feeling. If something just doesn’t feel right or you are consistently experiencing a high level of pain, heavy bleeding, irregular periods or negative emotions, it is worth seeing your GP as a starting point to discuss your symptoms. If you are not confident or reassured by their initial assessment, get a second (third, fourth….) opinion until you are satisfied that your symptoms have been assessed properly and a plan of action for further assessment or ways to address your areas of concern has been established.
Please keep in mind, everyone is different in what will work for them and provide comfort and rejuvenation. Hopefully some of the above ideas will be helpful to add to your self-care options when you have your period.