Today we’re talking about the Red Sea, Aunt Flo, Bloody Mary herself – periods.
She comes once a month, kicks your menstruation into high gear and informs you, in all her holiness, that no screaming, crying, spitting wee offspring will be arriving any time soon. In my case, I do a little fist pump every month when I see she’s come back around, seeing as i’m not ready yet for mini me’s to enter my life.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of today’s post, I think it’s important to point out that periods are TOTALLY NORMAL (in case you weren’t aware). The average woman will experience 500 periods in her lifetime and will spend 10 straight years of her life menstruating (*grumble* grumble *grumble*). Half the population goes through it every single month for the entire duration of their teenage years, young adult and adult lives, in addition to many women who no longer experience a monthly period but know what it’s like to get one.
Despite what is often portrayed in comedy and in movies (thanks Superbad), periods aren’t messy, they aren’t dirty and they are certainly not something women should feel ashamed about, or shamed for having. Women are shamed enough about their bodies in society as is. Their reproductive system should not be added to that list, nor should any facet of said system be made the target of “gross” or “icky” remarks.
It would be a lot more helpful, beneficial and supportive if people educated themselves instead of using Internet memes, Hollywood blockbusters, or the misleading insight of what might be said in social circles as their primary learning experience to “get grown” on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a goofy period joke and enjoy the absolute ridiculousness of a period gif just as much as the next gal, but I know what is being portrayed is not an accurate depiction.
Periods aren’t explosive like pressurized ketchup bottles (even though that would deliver some fire power)
Putting aside the shamers of periods (like seriously though, of all things going on in the world, how is shaming womens’ periods productive? Go plant a tree or something), as it so happens, last week I got my period – cue Ode to Joy, doves fly, I feel majestic like a gazelle … if the gazelle is actually 3 sloths wearing an oversized gazelle costume. The one piece which really signals to me that my period is coming is that I get moody (I think I’ve seen you around this joint before – what’s your name again? Nice to meet you PMS – i’m Lindsay).
It’s a time when I really need to take extra care of myself because I get quite sad, I feel all the feels and it generally makes things which are on my mind to begin with seem one hundred times worse (which is also generally how life works for me, thanks overthinking and catastrophizing hahahahahah … shit).
I also look pale – paler than my usual white girl self (NO I’M NOT SICK THIS IS JUST WHAT I LOOK LIKE – white girls everywhere).
So today i’m sharing 5 Ways to Beat the Period Blues and what I do to help myself when I’m feeling blech.
#1. Catch Up on Sleep
Accompanying my low moods is a sense of grogginess, feeling generally more tired than normal due to a lack of iron from blood loss and a need to curl up and feel cozy. Making sure I hit the hay within a decent hour while i’m on my period, especially helps my mood to bounce back. I typically turn off the t.v. earlier (around 9:30) and start my night-time routine. Then i’ll crawl into bed with a book and it’s usually lights out by 10:15/10:30.
#2. Take Care of Your Skin
I generally am diligent when it comes to skincare – I wear SPF every day, I wash my face every night and use products with ingredients suited to targeting concerns at my age. BUT … once a month, when my period rolls around, it can be expected that one, sometimes two, Mt. Everest sized zits pop up on the surface of my face and some level of melodrama erupts from within me. I know I could have it SO much worse, but zits are annoying for me too, alright?
Aside from the Kilimanjaro sized mound on my face (Oh the horror! Oh the humani- it’s actually not that bad – told you, melodrama, y’elloooo), I take care of my skin as a form of self-care – it makes me feel good and boosts my mood, especially when i’m not feeling great mentally and/or physically to begin with. The next time you’re feeling blue because of PMS, throw on a face mask, give yourself a mini face massage or if you want to splurge, go for a facial.
#3. Meet the Needs of Your Body
Before going on birth control, I used to get CRIPPLING period cramps. Like, getting sent home from work so bad, having to take the kids I was babysitting for to my mom’s house so she could watch them because I was in pain so bad, leaning up against the lockers in high school for support while my uterus re-enacts the murder scenes from American Psycho so bad. Birth control has since made my period fairly calm. I’d like to note now I am grateful to be on a healthcare plan which affords me the opportunity to purchase birth control at a discounted rate,. Also, that I have access to birth control at all – the beauty of living in a country with modern medicine and accessible healthcare.
However, there’ll be the occasional aches, pains and nausea. I know that my body is cranky, but she’s just doing her job, so I try to help her out however I can. I really enjoy peppermint oil for it’s soothing effects. I really like the Saje Peppermint Halo roll-on. I’ve used this for headaches, lower back pain, and in general as a way to relax. I also really love using my Magic Bag – it’s a hot cold compress filled with oat grains. You throw it in the microwave to warm it up and voila – instant comfort! I’ll often lay it on my stomach, over my shoulders or on my lower back area when i’m feeling a bit stiff or nauseous. I also like to warm it up and put it under the covers at the end of my bed when i’m about to go to sleep to warm up my feet (P.S. Neither of those products are an ad or sponsored or anything like that – I just like them and how they make me feel).
#4. Make Time For Happiness & Joy
This one sounds cliche, and of course, it’s important to do this every day but especially when your mood and overall mind health feels a bit down in the dumps, it’s important to surround yourself with joy and happiness.
I like to read, online shop for decor for my home ( a source of great creative inspiration when i’m feeling meh), create itineraries for future travel destinations (half the fun is planning!), write in my journal and water my plants. I also watch YouTube videos – my general playlist rotation consists of skincare and makeup reaction videos, Jenna Marbles and Joana Ceddia – she’s like a Canadian teenage version of Jenna Marbles.
#5. Feel All the Feels … and Write About Them
Sometimes, you just can’t beat the period blues. When nothing works to cheer me up, i’ll sit with how I feel. As I mentioned before, my period often makes things which are already on my mind, seem way worse – and usually makes me feel worse about them. However, these things in my life which are extra concerning to me around that time of the month, usually serve as an indicator that they’re something I need to pay attention to and/or I need to work past. Lately it’s been aspects such as feeling extra hopeless about my current job situation and career in the future, or overthinking situations I can’t control but continuing to play out alternate, future outcomes for them in my head, thereby missing what’s going on in the present.
I don’t punish myself for feeling what I feel, or for experiencing the full spectrum of emotions for something that bothers me, especially at an unconscious level. I’ll permit what’s bothering me room to grow and breathe by also taking the time to sit down and write about it. I write about the situation, I go in-depth about the alternate outcomes my mind seems to be coming up with and replaying, I come up with solutions to solving the thing in my life I am concerned about. This allows me to properly address it and move past it. If it continues to take up space in my mind, i’ll continue to work through it.
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