It’s that time of the month again and you’ve been DREADING it because you know the hell that it brings. Zits, cramps, bloating, BLOOD. It sucks, I know. Even if you’re one of those (lucky flipping’) women that doesn’t get slaughtered by your period, they’re still a pain in the butt (or tummy… whatever).
Being an almost 23 year old woman who has had her period now for quite some time now (though I have to admit, I was lucky enough to not get my period until I was 14), I’ve learnt a thing or two about surviving a period. Bonus: it doesn’t involve lying in bed for 5 days until the mayhem is over. So, for the women out there who dread their period every month because of things other than not being able to get laid… keep reading.
Drink Lots Of Water
One of my least favourite symptoms of my period is the BLOATING. I would take cramps all day to not be bloated. Fluid retention is a common symptom of periods due to hormonal changes that occur during our cycle. The decrease in progesterone, and increase in estrogen are to blame for this.
Thankfully, there is a way to reduce water retention during this time, and that is DRINK. MORE. WATER.
Ok, ok now wait, what? Aren’t we trying to REDUCE water in our bodies here? Yes. However, when your body is holding on to water, it usually means that it is because it doesn’t have enough (i.e. dehydration). When you’re dehydrated your body holds onto all the fluid that you have in your body INSTEAD OF flushing it out – hence, bloating. By drinking more water your body is constantly flushing itself out and not holding onto any extra fluids, which leads to less retention.
This goes for any time of the month, too! Dehydrated: drink more water. Bloated: Drink more water. Sick: Drink more water. Period: DRINK MORE WATER!
… And Tea
Similar to water, tea will help flush your body out to help you retain less water.
HOWEVER, there are added benefits that come along with tea as well. Green teas and herbal teas are known to aid with digestion which in turn would help eliminate bloating and gas in your tummy.
Ok, what else? Green tea is a natural diuretic – so basically, it increases the output of urine and subsequently the output of excess water that the body may be retaining (that water might not have budged). BONUS: green tea is LOADED with antioxidants.
So basically, more liquid in = more liquid out.
BEWARE! There is such thing as being TOO hydrated, so make sure that if you’re drinking lots of liquid, that you’re replenishing your electrolytes (think Gatorade, saltier foods). If your pee is clear or almost clear, stop drinking for a couple of hours.
I know that this is probably the last thing you feel like doing while you’re on your period but trust me it helps.
Not only will it help with water retention (as long as you rehydrate afterwards), but it also helps with cramps. If you really aren’t feeling up to much, even just a low intensity walk will help get your blood pumping and create those feel good hormones to help relieve you of that belly discomfort.
Iron deficiency is common among women – especially when it gets to that time of the month. If you have a heavy period then you are even more susceptible to feeling the effects of low iron.
Anemia (low iron) is when your red blood cell count is lower than normal. Your body needs iron to help make hemoglobin which is what helps carry oxygen to your muscles and tissues – without it your body cannot run effectively.
Ever wonder why you feel so lethargic on your period? This is likely the cause. See your doctor to get checked for low iron, and make sure you’re eating iron rich foods (seafood, red meat, beans, dark green leafy veggies, even cereal) leading up too and throughout your period.
Cut Out The Junk
Ok believe me I understand that cravings can get bad during that time of the month but you have to be strategic with giving in to them. You’re already retaining water and you’re already feeling bloated so you’re only going to make yourself feel worse by ingesting lots of sweet and salty foods. Your body is loosing a decent amount of blood so you need to be bringing nutrient rich foods into your system to help replenish what has been lost (i.e. iron rich foods). Opt for lots of veggies and iron/fibre rich foods.
Now, if you haven’t already read my read my most recent post Dairy Could Be The Reason Behind Your Breakouts, go do that now! Then this will all make sense. Cows milk has proteins and hormones in it that cause inflammation not only of our skin (acne), but in our guts too. A1 casein, along with IGF-1 can cause issues with inflaming the dietary tract, which can cause (even more) bloating and discomfort.
Although not the case for everyone, these inflammatory dairy devils can also cause acne spots. The raging hormones of your period do enough of the zit making already, so try and keep dairy intake to a minimum during this time to keep your skin looking as clear as you can make it.
I know icecream is all you want to consume during the time of the month, but try subbing in dairy-free ice-cream instead – trust me, it’s not as bad as you may think! Should I do a post on all my favourite dairy-free ice-creams?
Even small changes like using almond milk on your cereal, or switching from a creamy ranch dressing to a balsamic on your salad can all make a difference!
Get Lots Of Rest
Your body is working overtime during this time of the month so if you can, give it a chance to rest. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feel WIPED OUT during period week? Even if you don’t have time to take naps, at least try and schedule some down time to let your body rest for a bit. I always find that this gives me an extra bit of energy to finish the day off strong.
Basically, that time of the month you should really be taking the extra steps to really care for yourself. Self care is important, ladies! Your body is a machine that works incredibly hard, especially when Mother Nature is in town – it deserves to be well taken care of.
Until next time