Do you consider your period an inconvenience?
This is something that I hear time and time again. And I get it — dealing with PMS symptoms, extra trips to the washroom and all the other stuff that comes along with menstruation can be an inconvenience. There was a time when the arrival of my period filled me with dread. I had long, heavy periods and I could bleed through an overnight pad in the span of a couple of hours. Life is busy and I had better things to do than worry about being close enough to a washroom the next time I had to change my pad.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few things you can do to make your periods less inconvenient.
#1. Shift your perspective
So much of how you experience life comes down to your perspective.
Have you ever found yourself completely stressed out about a seemingly impossible deadline at work but your coworker in the next cubicle stayed cool as a cucumber through it all? It likely had to do with looking at the same experience from a different perspective. While you saw the deadline as a major stressor — oh my god, I’ve only got three days to figure this out, I’ll never get it done, I’m going to get fired, Coolie McCucumber was looking at the tight deadline as an exciting challenge to tackle — You want me to do what in just three days? Challenge accepted!
The same goes for your period. If you look at it as an inconvenience each month then chances are that yeah, it is going to be annoying and inconvenient. But if you look forward to your period, thinking of it as a sign that you are healthy and well, then chances are it’s not going to be so bad.
If this sounds like crazy talk because the arrival of your period comes with major PMS, pain or the disappointment that you’re not pregnant, then read on because I promise you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
#2. Fix your hormones
This handy little chart from Lara Briden, naturopathic doctor and author of the Period Repair Manual, shows you what a healthy period should look like.
If this isn’t what your period looks like – whether you’ve got long or irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, pain or PMS symptoms that are more severe than a little fatigue – then something is out of whack.
Once you’ve identified where the whackness is coming from you can take steps to get your hormones back into balance. Hormones play a role in just about every body function, not just your periods, and they’re set up like dominos so if one falls off balance they can all fall down. What you eat and drink, how you manage stress (there’s that perspective thing again!) and even the beauty products you use can all have an effect on your hormonal balance.
#3. Get to know and track your menstrual cycle
Your period isn’t going to inconveniently catch you off guard if you know when you’re going to get your period, right? Understanding and recognizing the signs of the four phases of your menstrual cycle can tell you exactly when you’re going to get your period – yes, even if your cycle varies in length.
I recommend using a fertility or menstrual awareness app (my favourite is Kindara) that can help you track the physical signs of your cycle like basal body temperature, cervical positioning or mucus. Apps will use the data you input to forecast when you are likely to ovulate and when you are likely to see your period.
As you pay attention to the physical signs you may start to recognize a pattern in your energy or moods. Women tend to experience a burst of energy leading up to ovulation and then feel more introspective during menstruation. I know that when the mere sight of my sleeping daughter brings me to tears it’s time to have my Diva Cup at the ready.
#4. Use better menstrual products
Pads and tampons are the worst, you know what I’m saying? If it’s menstrual products that are making your period inconvenient then it’s time to consider better products. This is an exciting time to be a menstruator as alternatives to conventional products have never been more abundant.
Menstrual cups like the Diva Cup, my personal fave, aren’t new but they are certainly experiencing an explosion in popularity – likely because they boast 12 hours of leak-free protection and then actually give you 12 hours of leak-free protection.
Brands like THINX and LunaUndies make period panties – underwear with an absorbent gusset panel. Depending on your flow they can either eliminate the need for a pad all together or offers extra protection when paired with a tampon or cup.
Your period doesn’t have to be a curse. A subtle shift in mindset, taking care of your health and using some of the exciting new technology and products available can make your monthly visitor a welcome one.