Let’s be honest, not everyone loves their period. Many people downright loathe their time of the month and I’ll admit that sometimes having your period really sucks. Sometimes it’s bad timing, often it’s uncomfortable, and many times (okay, always) you want to eat all the chips and chocolate in sight, making you feel like a hot mess. But having your period doesn’t always have to be the worst thing that happens to you every month. I’m not going to tell you that you should be as ridiculously happy as those girls in the tampon commercials wearing white shorts and doing cartwheels (although you can if you want!) but there are several ways that you can create a better relationship with your period so that these few days can actually be an enjoyable time for yourself.
I used to have awful cramps, like keel over want to vomit combined with diarrhea cramps. Getting my period was rotten, I often couldn’t sit still and if I didn’t get some Tylenol in my body before the cramps started I was doomed to spend the rest of the day in bed or suffering through work or school. I thought, there has got to be a better way to get through this. I was eating right, exercising and honouring my body in many ways, but I never really thought that I should also pay attention to my womb, my reproductive and female centre. It was time to start honouring that part of my body and by extension, my period.
So I started looking forward to my period. Getting excited about it. Sounds strange, I know. But the first thing I noticed that was on my next period, my cramps were less severe. Sounds crazy, might have been placebo, who knows, but that was the first step in noticing that my mind could affect my body.
This was instantly fascinating to me. If I could control the way that I felt about my period, if I could honour what my body was doing every month, I might have a better experience. It worked and it is still working today.
The first thing I noticed and wanted to work on of course, was my mood and energy level. I was exhausted, do you feel that way too? I think the reason is that when we are menstruating, we are expected to keep up with daily life and activities, caring for others as well as yourself. Now I’m not going to suggest that you abandon all your responsibilities when you menstruate, but what I will suggest is that you take a break. I am not at all suggesting that women are the weaker sex because they need to take a break when menstruating, but I would like to suggest that menstruation offers you an opportunity to travel inward, take time to care for yourself in ways that you might neglect throughout the rest of the month, and take time to really honour and appreciate your beautiful body.
So what exactly can you do and when? I have come up with ten things for you to try. See if you can do them all or even a few on your next period!
- 100% Total Relaxation: for me this means sitting in bed with a heating pad, Pinterest open in my browser, and my favourite TV show, Murder, She Wrote playing in the background.
- Drink PMS Tea – it’s funny, I only think this tea tastes good while I’m menstruating. Tea is always comforting, this tea also helps with bloating and mood.
- Wear Red! For the entirety of your menstruation, wear something symbolic and special that you will only wear at this time. You don’t have to tell anyone “this is my period scarf” but it’s kind of a sacred item that you wear to honour your body during this time. You can also wear red jewelry or paint your fingernails red.
- Eat your favourite most nourishing meal. Have someone cook it for you (if you’re lucky!) or after you’ve rested, slowly and purposefully cook for yourself. You can also bake something, maybe red velvet cupcakes? Cook or bake with the intention that this meal is special for you, the positive energy will be in the food you prepare.
- Participate in a womb blessing. Join the virtual red tent! Through meditation you can connect with your feminine centre and creativity. All women are welcome to join the red tent, whether you have a womb or not.
- Practice yoga specific for menstruation. I find this extremely helpful with cramps. Even something as simple as placing your hands on your belly and breathing deeply into that space can help.
- Have a hot bath using your favourite essential oils and bath products. Then make sure you moisturize with a special cream, massaging your body.
- Use the right materials for your period. Many women report having lighter flows and fewer cramps when using cloth pads and menstrual cups instead of using conventional products.
- Create! Journal, paint, do pottery, sew, or crochet. Menstruation is a great time for creativity and reflection.
- Have sex! Not everyone is going to be okay with this tip, that’s alright. If getting messy is a concern, have sex in the shower. With the added swelling and blood in that area, orgasms are often stronger and more intense. Talk to your partner and see what the two of you are comfortable with.
The womb centre can hold a lot of baggage and negativity. Cleansing and honouring yourself at this time is a great way to get rid of any excess that you might be carrying so that your mind and body can stay healthy.
I really hope that some of these things if not all will help you to create a better relationship with your cycle and maybe in the process even reduce some of your unwanted symptoms. Are there any other things you do to honour your cycle? What works and what doesn’t? Stay tuned for more Menstrual Monday next week!