“I can’t keep calm because my ovaries are exploding inside me”
Whether it’s in the form of advertisements telling me to keep me periods discreet and fragrant, or my recollection of the useless sex-education class at school, it’s crazy that menstruation taboo is still a thing. What’s worse is, it keeps women from talking to each other (honestly) about something we are going through and further perpetuates period shame and prevents us from sharing out period-life hacks!
Speaking to homeless women in London, I learnt about how having and dealing with a period is one of the most challenging situations they face. Something I totally take for granted. Whilst across the globe, as I type this, at least 100 million girls in the developing world are falling behind in school just because of challenges to do with their period. Like I said, it’s crazy. So I thought I would make a start on putting period chat on the table so that we can find more ways to empower, entertain and education each other about the mystery of menstruation.
We’ve been taught that periods are not only something we don’t really talk about, but that it’s a monthly nuisance, the annoyance of which is something we just have to deal with. So, we get used to checking our jeans for stains when we stand up. We get used to running out of the room at the first sign of wetness. We cope with anxiety because we don’t know any better.
PMS struggle is REAL
PMS is no joke — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Moodiness, diarrhoea, migraines, cravings, and even clumsiness are all very real symptoms of PMS. So don’t think you’re crazy or weak for being affected by PMS. My work place have a wonderful allowance where you can either start a little bit late or finish early, and I’ve found this to be a God send when I have bad PMS. I don’t feel like I have to shout from the rooftops that I’m on my period, but I always try to find a sly way to throw it into the conversation with my fiance, family, friends and close colleagues. That way, any clap backs can be taken in context, and generally people are forgiving of varying energy levels.
Diet is everything
Keep a balanced diet isn’t easy but it makes all the difference. Complete with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats and take some all-natural vitamins. If you up your level of magnesium a few days before your PMS arrives (eating cashews and kale is a great way to do this) you’ll reduce your cramping. Couple that with extra vitamin B6, and you’ll decrease bloating as well. This doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on your favourite dessert, or a double hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream (don’t judge me), but the more you avoid processed foods, the better.
Life hacks I live by:
- Bikini bottoms: Wear bikini bottoms when you’re on your period. If you leak its so much easier to wash out than regular underwear.
- Heated blanket: Invest in a heated blanket for your bed. When you’re on your period, lie on it flat on your stomach. Best. Thing. Ever.
My favourite period products
1. Thinx period proof panties can back up or replace tampons, pads, cups or even sea sponges/ They absorb up to 2 tampos worth of blood and yet look at feel like a regular pair of underwear. Thinx are tha bomb. http://www.shethinx.com/
2. Cora tampons feature lipstick like packaging for individual products, a black clutch that can hold a day’s worth of tampons, and a black box to store a period’s worth of tampons. Packaging accessories allow products to be either carried on the go in style or displayed in the bathroom to match modern décor.
3. Oppo Ice-Cream is truly delicious, indulgent and guilt free. A pot is less than 80 calories, whilst the average Ben & Jerry’s ranks in at around 160, and Haagan Daaz at 225 calories per 100g. Oppo are able to do this through the use of lucuma and cold pressed coconut oil instead of sugar and other preservatives. A lovely treat that won’t compromise that balanced diet I was just talking about. http://www.oppoicecream.co.uk/
4. Fit Star Yoga is a mobile yoga app that I use when I don’t have time to get to the gym or on the move. All I need is a yoga mat, and sometimes I don’t even need that. It helps me keep stretched and limbered up which makes a huge difference to my cramps and flow. http://fitstar.com/yoga/
Thinx ‘A day in the life of a real menstruating woman’