Okay, so there is this HUGE thing in my life right now and it’s being PERIOD POSITIVE. This is going to cover the basics of why it’s great to be period positive and why it’s amazing to really get in touch with ourselves as women. It’s kind of the bare bones so you may know a lot of this information if you consider yourself period positive in any way!
And since I’m supposed to start my period in the next 4 days (I’m a bit irregular), I figured, what better time than now to put this to the public?
It’s no secret that the female menstruation cycle is filled with jokes and pain and frustration and, unfortunately, embarrassment. But you know what I’ve discovered – along with many other women? It doesn’t have to be that way. Your period can become another part of your life that you’re completely accustomed to, and fairly comfortable with. There are ways to lessen the strain on your wallet and your conscience. Now all of this isn’t foolproof and I am by no means licensed to give our health information. Take suggestions from what I say and talk to your doctor to figure out what might work for you.
As you can imagine, I’m very anti-medicine, synthetic, etc. I don’t like chemicals on, in, or around my body when it can be helped. And that especially goes for sensitive, self-caring areas such as my genitals.
Here’s the scenario: you’re on your period and you just got your period before you left for work/class/what have you. Well guess what? You underestimated your flow this month and you’re probably going to leak through your tampon or pad if you don’t get to the restroom RIGHT NOW. You dig around in your bag discreetly to make sure you have supplies, and you take your (probably) giant purse or backpack, etc toward the restroom. Well, make sure you have that tampon or pad hidden because, ew, nobody wants to know or think about you on your period, right? That’s gross.
I’m not sure if you know this, but your vagina actually works really hard. You don’t need to do much to keep it happy outside of healthy eating, activity, and cleanliness (and in ‘cleanliness’ I’m including using condoms and getting tested when sexually active). Your body naturally cleans itself from the inside in the form of discharge, and that pubic hair you like to shave off to make things more “aesthetically pleasing” for your partner? It keeps out bacteria and other nasties that will try to worm their way inside of you and cause trouble for your lady parts.
So where am I getting to with all this boring stuff? That your vagina isn’t really as…gross as people make it out to be. It’s actually very clean. And that blood that comes out every month? Well, it’s been sitting inside of you for weeks and you still haven’t died yet, right?
Here’s where we begin to talk about POSITIVITY! It’s about being a-okay with your period. It’s about knowing what you have to do to take care of yourself and to STOP being ashamed every time you have to take care of something totally natural. YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CREATE LIFE INSIDE YOUR BELLY. You should be being worshipped for that. Did you know that there are still some cultures that send women away, not to hide them or shame them, but to let them REST and be comfortable during their cycle?
So step one of my period positive checklist? Self-Care. Practice self care during your period (and other days as well). Take an extra long shower or bath if it comforts you. Eat really, really well and keep hydrated. Sleep if you’re exhausted and need an extra nap. Tap into yourself and listen to your body. It knows what’s up and if you pay attention, it will tell you what you need. That greasy fast food you’re craving? Probably not going to make you feel like a superstar – try to figure out what about it you’re craving and substitute it for something similar. Is it the salty potato of fries? Do sweet potato fries at home with coarse sea salt for extra vitamins and way less fat that won’t make you feel MORE bloated than you already are.
Step 2: care for the world. One of the greatest things I like to do with my period is being environmentally conscious. This isn’t for everyone, but there IS an option for everyone if you’d like to look into it. I recently switched completely off disposable menstrual products and am I loyal user of the Diva Cup. I no longer spend $15-$20 each month for tampons and pads. I paid $40 for a product that will last me 5 years AND lessen my footprint on the earth. No more wrappers, no more waste. And NO MORE DRY PULLING (tampons not only absorb menstrual fluid, but they also absorb ALL the other fluid in your vagina that keep it clean and moist. Pulling those suckers out dry is no fun). If you’re used to pads, research reusable pads. They’re soft, comfortable and easy to use as disposables. For me, knowing that I’m helping the planet (and my wallet) makes my period easier.
Step 3: Get in touch with your cycle. Both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, chart your cycle. There are amazing phone apps and calendars for you to keep track these days. You can include your moods, flow level, food cravings, and other symptoms. It is also great for family planning. If you’re of the age where you’re thinking about children, charting your cycle can help you to recognize when your most fertile days are so you can get pregnant on YOUR terms. As far as the literal part goes – STOP BEING AFRAID OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD. I know it’s hard because I used to be grossed out by it too. But it’s really not going to kill you. It doesn’t kill crops or make men blind. It’s just the leftovers since you decided you didn’t want a baby. As someone who uses a menstrual cup, I have quite a bit of contact with myself in that way. It ain’t no thang. I wash my hands well before and after removing and inserting the cup (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS) and then I get on my merry way. Nobody knows any different. And it’s none of their business but they shouldn’t care. I washed my hands. I’m clean, okay?
Step 4: manage pain. This is a big one. The pain. The headaches, backaches, cramps, bloating, OH MY! For several years I’ve been very irregular, sometimes going 6 months without getting my period. Even now my cycle ranges from 32-45 days – though healthy eating and regular walking/yoga have helped level me out. But no matter what I’ve always had really brutal physical symptoms. Not to mention the depression, fatigue, ugh. And I used to just pop Midol all the time. And there is probably a time and a place for that. But I don’t like painkillers. Instead of fixing the cause, they dull the receptors in your brain so you don’t think you’re in pain. As much as it’s tempting, try heating pads or hot water bottles – this method actually relaxes your pelvic and uterine muscles which are in the middle of SPASMS to release the blood and helps to relieve pain that way. One of my favorite mood lifters? Dark chocolate. At least 75% (preferably 85). The chocolate will help your endorphin levels rise and keep you from falling too deep into the doom-and-gloom of your cycle. And don’t forget about tea! Even in the summer I drink a TON of hot tea for my period. Chamomile is really soothing before bed. I drink green tea regularly to keep myself from getting lethargic. And I love trying out different teas created specifically for a woman’s cycle. Usually these have a base of raspberry leaf so if you’re able to find or make your own – start there.
This is how I started to become period positive. I’m not 100% there yet, but with each cycle I get a little closer. I know what’s coming and how I’m going to take care of myself. Just remember, ignore the negativity! It’s NOT a curse and it DOESN’T have to be hidden. It’s empowering and it’s natural and it keeps humans on earth.
Have a BEAUTIFUL day. xx