Take a hot shower or bath
HEAT is such a helpful tool to manage cramps and aches! Gentle heat can offer immediate relief, much faster than ibuprofen or aspirin, which can sometimes take up to 30 minutes to take effect! Heat helps our cramping, clenching muscles RELAX, and it helps blow flow more easily. Sinking into a hot bath or letting hot water run over you in the shower (especially against the lower back- ooh lala!) can help you release on an ever deeper level, and that feeling lingers long after you’re stepped out of the bathroom.
Drink some tea
A warm, yummy beverage can do a lot to help our mind and body relax, and it also helps us to just slow down and take a moment to rest. Additionally, many herbal tea are really helpful for your period! Some common examples are:
- Chai tea (with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper): Who knew that your favorite tea latte can also help you feel better on your period? Yep! All those spices are warming, help blood flow more easily, and allow your muscles to relax. They also help to stabilize blood sugar, which can prevent mood swings.
- Peppermint tea: Yummy, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory. And it evens improves digestion and relieves gas!
- Raspberry leaf tea: Raspberry leaf has been used for hundreds of years as a uterine tonic. It is a mineral-rich tea that supplies you with easy-to-absorb calcium, which has been shown to reduce cramps. This is one that you’ll want to drink regularly, because the uterus-strengthening benefits build up over time.
- Cinnamon Ginger tea: Similar to chai tea, but more simple and easy-to-make at home! Both of the ingredients are warming, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory, and SO yummy! Check out our easy recipe here.
Give yourself permission to rest
And don’t be afraid to say NO to things you don’t feel up to! Society expects us to go-go-go, at the exact same rate every day of the month. But our bodies are cyclical, and there are weeks when we are operating in a much different way than other weeks. Feeling more tired, moody, unmotivated, and introspective is NORMAL during your period week, and owning that can help us realize when we’re just not able to do it all. Saying “sorry, I just can’t today “, or “can we reschedule for next week?” are empowering ways to acknowledge and honor our natural cycles.
Wear your comfiest clothes
Get comfy! Wear relaxed clothing that doesn’t put pressure on your abdomen or breasts, which feel bigger and be more sensitive during your period. Clothing that’s meant to be a free-flowing maxi size can be a wonderful tool to help you feel more comfortable and move easier.
Your menstrual cycle is a unique time of deep introspection, and recognizing this can help us use it as a tool. During the menstrual phase, the dominant hormone is progesterone, which helps us to draw inward and bring attention to things that we would normally brush off. This is the time to reflect on life changes, relationships, lifestyle choices, and observe any issues that come up. During other parts of our monthly cycle, like the ovulatory phase, the hormone estrogen encourages us to be more social, more agreeable, and more amenable to the needs of others. The influx of progesterone during menstruation helps us to filter through and address things that may have been bothering us. This often gets written of as being “irritable” or “nagging”, but it can actually be embraced as a wonderful tool to bring to the surface things that we do need to address or change in our lives. Jotting down thoughts in a journal during this time can help us uncover what we’re truly feeling, and can serve as reminders during other parts of our cycle.
Period Power by Maisie Hill is a wonderful book to learn more about how our monthly cycle can affect our behavior and emotions.
Do some light stretching
Stretching and releasing can release tension and help us move with more ease during our period! Doing some basic stretches or a gentle, restorative yoga sequence can help our bodies stabilize and relax. Check out the easy 20-minute yoga sequence below!
Use a heating pad or cozy
When you can’t take a hot bath or shower, a heating pad or microwave cozy is the next best thing! Even better, you can relax with one on the couch or anywhere else in your house. A plug-in heating pad is a must if you sustained heat for a long period of time. They’re also nice to keep right by the bed, in case you wake up with cramps in the middle of the night.
A microwave cozy, which are often cloth sacks filled with heatable materials like rice, corn kernels, or flaxseeds, have an advantage because they’re more portable, and they can also tuck into your clothes. Many of them are small enough to bring to work and heat up in your office microwave.
Don’t forget to keep up on drinking water during your period, which will help ease muscle tension and help everything flowwww better! It can also reduce headaches, which can be a side effects of menstruation!
Use high-quality, reusable menstrual supplies
Your menstrual supplies can have a big effect on how you feel about your period! Unfortunately, most period supplies are made with synthetic materials, plastic, perfumes/dyes, and other chemicals. Yuck! On top of that, they’re generally pretty uncomfortable, and contribute to household waste. Luckily, there are better options that are more comfortable for you, save you money over time, and are better for the planet- all of which will lead to a happier period!
Many people have turned to our reusable cloth menstrual pads are the most comfortable option out there- and they’re super easy to wash too! It’s actually just as easy as doing regular laundry. Party in My Pants cloth pads offer 15 difference sizes of reusable cotton pads (organic cotton options too), in an amazing array of fun fabric choices. Cloth pantyliners are also a great options for people who want back-up for a tampon or menstrual cup.
Reusable menstrual cups and period underwear are other empowering, sustainable options for high-quality menstrual care you can feel good about!
Learn to chart your cycle
Period tracking can help you feel more prepared for your period and all the changes that come with it. Knowing when to expect your period, and not to schedule any high-energy or demanding events during that week, can help you feel more relaxed all month. Many menstrual cycle are 28 days longs (meaning you will start your period 28 days after the first day of your last period), but it can vary depending on the person, from about 21-35 days.
Start by marking on your calendar the first day you start bleeding, and every day after that you are actively bleeding. Then count ahead about 28 days from the first day of your last period, and mark on the calendar when you can expect your next period. If you are interested in going deeper than that, start to learn about the other phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular, ovulatory, and luteal), and understand how each phase might affect how you’ll be feeling during that time. Journal about what comes up for you during each phase.
There are also many wonderful journals that are designed to help your track and observe your cycles. We suggest Cycles Journal for a really deep dive!