Saturday, February 14, 2015

8 Tips For An Easier Period

Ah, menstruation. Many of my bravest, frilliest underwear weathered your storm...though hardly untouched. Your crimson wave of cravings, pain, and mood swings come almost without warning and leave zero survivors in its wake. In preparation for this monthly Red-Pocolypse, I made a handy survival list. Get ready, friends, "Winter is coming!"

1. Apply Heat.

Battle the cramping, leg pain, and backaches with either a plug in electric heating pad, microwavable pack or hot water bottle....OR take your heat "To Go" with the Thermacare menstrual pads. I stock up on these every time I spot them in stores. Like most girls, I have an "at home" heating pad but before I stumbled across these at my local supermarket, I was left moaning and groaning every time I had to leave my bed. Next time you're the "walking red", Slap one of these sucka's on your lower abdomen and in 15 minutes you'll be blinking your eyes like a happy cat! 

***Bonus Tip: Log into Netflix and let your laptop be your heating pad!

***Smaller Bonus Heat Tip: Whether it's summer or winter, put those heated seats on while you are in the car! This tip has saved my legs and lower back a world of trouble multiple times.

***even smaller bonus-bonus tip: Take a warm bath with essential oils. Use Lavender & Chamomile to calm or Peppermint & Rosemary to Energize!

2. Protect Your Sheets!

I understand there will be causalities during this time but I'd really prefer to leave my clean white sheets out of it. Seriously, uterus, you don't pay that Target bill! Period's can be unpredictable so there is no fool proof way of protecting your bedding but when you do know there's about to be some crime scene activity happening in your downtown neighborhood maybe put down an older towel or standby sheets that have taken more than a few bullets.

You think you're safe with that, but you're not. The trick is to add another barrier by way of pads....because you really shouldn't be wearing tampons to bed (you know the drill about tss!)! The only problem is sanitary companies think it's cool to make pads "sleek, thin and super short" That ain't working for bedtime when you're rolling around in every which angle. The best tip I can give you is to buy the granny-est looking pads you can long as they are super long and wide near your butt (because you know the blood slides down during the night!)

My mom picked me these Stayfree Maxi's from a gas station when I was in desperate need for pads. any pad. like literally just give me some cotton. I was completely out. I turned up my nose but being completely desperate, I crinkled those bad boys out of their packages and in that instant my life was changed.

They have wings. They are longer than most pads. They fan out at the butt. THEY FAN OUT AT THE BUTT. 

These are my "I don't want to wake up and do the penguin waddle to the laundry room" pads. 

3. Take Some Drugs!

WELL....take some legal drugs, i.e. pain killers, supplements and birth control! Writing about birth control and supplements would take up several pages but I'm going to keep it simple with these two. Ready? Okay, here goes! Talk to your doctor about birth control. Seriously, unless you are morally opposed to this option, nothing should be stopping you. I have experienced periods both on and off my daily pill and let me tell you, If birth control became illegal I would be the first to look for a dealer. It makes a world of a difference, especially if you have vomit inducing cramps, like I do. I would not leave my bed on my period without it. It has given me my life back. Okay *tear* I'm ready to move on from that.

The second deal is vitamins, minerals and supplements. Since I would have to write a book on the subject to be truly done, I will keep it simple and stay with the basics that most people will know. Fish oil is key. Taking Fish Oil (specifically Omega-3) thins the blood and decreases inflammation which makes for a "happy" period....If ever there was one. Next up, Magnesium which helps with muscle spasms and pms symptoms. If you're cooking up some dinner, why not add some Turmeric? It will help reduce the inflammation! There are a ton more to talk about like Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, and Vitamin E but like I said, I'm going to keep this short, sweet and not write a novel about it!

***always check with your doctor before adding new vitamins, minerals or supplements to your diet. 

Now onto the last of the pharmaceuticals and the most crucial to have on hand....painkillers. Oh yes, numb the pain of chunks of your body flowing out of your most sensitive cavity with a trusty OTC! My favorite for many years was Extra Strength Aleve. Do you know what I found out about Extra Strength Aleve? It's an NSAID and you probably will get a burning ulcer if you use it every month for several years. While that is the best painkiller I've used to date (and every person with a uterus should have them on hand) I keep my medicine cabinet stocked with Tylenol now, which will not burn a whole in my stomach.

***SUPER EFFECTIVE TIP: Take an NSAID (Yes, I am giving you permission) a few days before your period. Enjoy how less painful it is without the excess inflammation.


You heard me...put it down. Drop the Coffee too. Oh, God and the Caffeinated Tea. For the love of your uterus, do not consume products with Caffeine in them during this time of the month. If you feel I am exaggerating just do it for one month. Two days before your period, just stop completely and tell me about how that went. I can guarantee you it will go like a bloody slice of heaven. While you're at it, cut down on sugar (causes blood sugar spikes which worsens mood swings), foods high in sodium (causes water retention) and alcohol (responsible for irregular periods and hormone fluctuation).

So stock up on non-caffeinated herbal tea's like Yogi's Moon Cycle Tea and snacks like Triscuits with Cheddar Cheese slices and fresh Blueberries....which actually help fight PMS! Yum!

5. Keep a stocked "Pantry".

What's the only worse thing than running out of pads on a heavy flow day? Oh right, NOTHING. Instead of hiding and losing track of how many pads, tampons and liners you have, march yourself to Target and buy a pop-up cube basket. Organize it with Tampons, Pads, Liners, Wipes, Thermal Patches, Pad Cases, etc. I have one of these in my open closet and seeing it while walking past makes me oddly proud. Not only am I owning something that used to feel shameful but I always know when I'm running low on the essentials. Embrace your period by organizing your materials in a cute container. It seems small and silly but believe me...It does help!

This is the storage cube....well rectangle....I use. I bought it from Target. Of course, you can get more crafty with it!

***Extra Important Tip: Put a pad, tampon, and liner in EVERY purse/backpack you own. You never know how Important that decision was. More than once, I've been in the bathroom thanking Past Lauren for remembering to do this!

6. Don't Dress To Impress.

I know that you are a divine God/Goddess sent from Mt. Olympus to melt mortals into puddles of lust and admiration but you CAN do that in sweats. This is all up to you but a majority of people do feel most comfortable in their favorite pair of sweatpants and a zip up but It's your choice. What makes you feel most comfortable? You can match style with comfort by visiting stores like Aerie, Gap or Victoria Secret. If you're on a budget Target & T.J. Maxx are tried and true. 

If you can muster it, skip the hair and makeup as well. The extra time I don't put into applying full-face makeup and straightening my hair is well appreciated during that time. DO NOT skip the SPF. No exceptions! Also, Keep a spoon in the freezer to apply under your eyes in the A.M. to alleviate the inevitable puffiness.

***Bold Tip: "Dare To Go Bare", Ditch the Bra and ease up on those sore boobs!

***Period Makeup Tip: The Minimal Routine is this....Tinted Moisturizer, Under Eye Concelear (if needed), Cheek and Lip Tint, Line Upper Lid With A Smoldery Gray Liner, Curl Lashes, Waterproof Mascara, Clear or Tinted Brow Gel.

****Hair Tip: Buns, Braids and Ponytails are the way to go for hair. If you need to look cute, throw on some foam rollers on wet hair the night before, wake up with beautiful curls. Just tousle and comb through!

7. "Treat Yo Self!" *Pamper Tips*

If anyone deserves a "Treat Yo Self" day....It's you! Do like Donna & Tom and give the gifts to the one person who truly deserves it, you! Now I'm not saying take the next flight to Rodeo Drive but if you've been eyeing a cute lipstick or a really cool iphone case, go ahead! Don't have the funds to live like Parks & Rec royalty? There are a million ways to pamper yourself, and they all depend on what you most enjoy. Personally, my routine on my worst day (the day I pamper myself) is to get into a pair of flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks, pick out a Netflix show or movie and heat up some Dr. Oetkers Spinaci Pizza. If I'm feeling up for It, a bath with essential oils followed by doing acupressure on my feet while I apply soothing lotion. In the P.M. I do a mask to treat the problem pimples periods give me and by that time I am basically Mayor of Happy Town.

If a cup of tea makes you feel pampered, fill up your cup! If you want to binge on the latest game on Steam, log on! Maybe you're more of a reader and just need some quiet time? Take that book in the bath!

Treat. Yo. SELF.

***Bath Tip: Try some Epsom Salts in your Bath which are known to alleviate muscle soreness. An added bonus is that the Magnesium also facilitates relaxation.

8. Track Your Period!

Okay, So I'm not going to be your best source on how to track your menstruation cycle on a paper calender BUT I can direct you to an A+ app that does all that grunt work for you! I've been using Period Tracker for several years now and I can confidently say it always guesses my period's arrival in a range of 1-3 days. I have the free version of the app and with that you can log the start and end dates of your period as well as notes, customizable symptoms and ovulation & fertile dates. They even have a chart that lists how long each one of your cycles is and calculates your median. Now you can finally be aware of which day NOT to wear white denim.

***Bonus Tip: Use the notes & symptoms section to track the changes you make each month and how they affect your period!

I leave you with my last bit of advice which is to get to know your body and individual needs. We all have different types and levels of symptoms so only #1 will know what's best for their body. Okay, you ready? You got this! BRING ON THE PAIN!


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