Self-Care is about your total self. It means caring for your mind, your body, and your soul. As women, our bodies go through a lot throughout our lives, we are in a constant state of change. Today, I want to focus on some ways to deal with these changes and some steps you can take so you’ll never suffer from your period again.
The phases of our menstrual cycles change every 5-7 days throughout the month, meaning our hormone levels are changing all the time. A change in hormones means a change in how our bodies feel and function. It also affects our moods and state of mind.
Let’s talk briefly about those different phases and what our hormones look like and how we may be feeling during each one. Then we’ll talk about those steps you can take to help make your cycle bearable and end the suffering.
3 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle:
Phase 1 – Menstrual
Lasts 5-7 days on average
This first phase begins on the first day of your period, or the first day you bleed. Your period happens when your egg has not been fertilized. It’s when your body is releasing the built-up lining of your uterus since no pregnancy occurred. Your hormone levels are really low during this phase which may cause you to feel irritable, tired, and may give you crazy mood swings. You may also experience cramps, lower back pain, bloating, and headaches. Some women feel depressed and hopeless during this phase as well.
Since hormone levels are low and your losing blood, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water and eat foods that are high in iron, like fish, nuts, and lentils.
Phase 2 – Follicular
Lasts 11-20 days
This phase happens during the menstrual phase, but it’s happening in your ovaries rather than in your uterus(like the menstrual phase). This is when your body is preparing an egg for the next phase. This is also when the lining of your uterus begins to thicken again in preparation for the next stage, ovulation.
During this phase, your hormone levels a still low so you should follow all the previously mentioned tips plus, add in some gut-healthy foods and take a probiotic supplement. This phase can reak havoc on your digestive system, so avoid foods that can irritate it further. Think nuts, avocado, fresh salads, and broccoli.
Phase 3 – Ovulation
Lasts about 10-15 days
In phase 3, your hormone levels are starting to increase and your body releases a mature egg that survives for about 24 hours before dying or being absorbed. This phase lasts until the start of your next period. During this phase, your hormones will reach their highest levels for the month which can lead to PMS (PreMenstrual Syndrome). You may experience all or some of the following symptoms, food cravings, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, and moodiness.
Since you’re likely having cravings for sweets and carbs, try eating fresh berries and dark chocolate rather than surgery foods. You should also limit caffeine during this stage, so drink herbal teas instead.
Ways to cope and never suffer from your period again
All three phases of your cycle have varying effects on your mind, body, and soul. There are certain steps you can take to help ease some of these symptoms and feel more like yourself.
Before you defer to taking a pain reliever, try a few natural remedies first. You will find that they can be very effective and are a much healthier option.
- Use a heating pad. You can make your own heating pad using just a few items you probably already have on hand. Add some essential oils to your rice for added cramp relieving benefits; we recommend using lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and rosemary. Here’s a great tutorial!
- Soaking in a warm bath. The heat will relax your muscles and relieve your pain. Again, add some essential oils to the water. This can be in a bubble bath, bath salts, or bath bombs.
- Get some exercise. Light exercise can really help alleviate cramps believe it or not. Go for a walk, or bike ride, do some yoga, or a simple workout routine.
Do you ever snap at someone during your moodiest time of the month, and immediately tell yourself to stop it, but then just do it again a minute later? It’s like you can’t help yourself and the words just come out before you even realize it’s happening. I swear sometimes it feels like we aren’t in control of our own bodies at all, doesn’t it?
There are some things you can do to help you control those mood swings and keep your friends, thank God.
- Eat foods that are naturally high in Phytoestrogens which reacts in the body the same way estrogen does. Legumes(peas or lentils), soybean products such as edamame and tofu, or peanuts all great sources of Phytoestrogens.
- Take a daily multivitamin and take extra B-complex supplements too. Keeping your iron levels up will not only keep you healthy, but it will also decrease cramping. B-complex vitamins will aid in reducing stress levels.
- Move your body by doing some light exercises or stretching.
- Meditation is also a great way to alleviate mood swings by lower your blood pressure and making you feel calmer.
Another important step to having a less stressful period is to take care of your skin, and not just from the surface.
- Wash your face 2x a day, in the morning, and before bed. Be sure to remove all make-up before exfoliating.
- Use a good moisturizer 2x a day, in the morning and before bed. As you get older, you should use an overnight moisturizer to help keep your skin from drying out.
- Use a face mask at least once a week to refresh your skin and target specific issues you may be having.
- Drink plenty of water, between 6-8 glasses a day to moisturize your skin from within.
- Eat good for you foods and limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
Post-Menstral Syndrome is real and many women suffer from it each month. Its effects can be mild or severe and those suffering from it may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Weight gain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Food cravings
Thankfully, you can take steps to prevent and relieve these symptoms.
- One step we just recently discovered is FLO vitamin supplements. We have both been taking them for one month and have noticed a significant difference the in PMS symptoms we experienced. FLO is a vitamin supplement you take every day and it helps to keep things steady and even. We highly recommend trying them out, you can access their site here to learn more.
- PMS Ease essential oil blends – we love Eden’s Garden roll on
- Drink an herbal tea that’s specifically blended for PMS such as Mooncycle Herbal Tea from the Bohemian Tea Peddler. A tea that helps with cramps, heavy flow, and other PMS problems.
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake
- Limit your sugar and carb intake
- Get some light exercise
- Eat foods that are good for your gut like fresh vegetables
Also, don’t forget about all the things mentioned previously.
So what about dealing with your period itself?
There are products available that can definitely make dealing with your period less of a pain in the ass for sure. Here are few we’ve tried and love:
- Diva Cup – a reusable cup that once inserted collects your menstrual blood so you don’t have to use tampons or heavy pads. Still recommend using a panty liner as a backup though.
- The Diva cup is pretty good, but I just ordered the Flex cup because honestly, the Diva cup is a little difficult to remove.
- It costs about $33 but lasts for approximately 2 years before it will need replacing. Which obviously is way cheaper than buying tampons and pads every month at $6-$9 a box.
- Reusable Menstrual Pads – use over and over which will save you money. But that’s not even the best thing about these pads! Reusable pads are much better for your body, think no more chaffing and no toxic chemicals. Also, they are better for the environment since you aren’t throwing them away each time you use them. And lastly, they cut back on any odors you may have experienced with disposable pads. Yay!
- Freshening Wipes – all-natural, flushable wet wipes for when you aren’t feeling as fresh as you’d like to. These ones from Good Wipes called Down There are individually wrapped to take on the go and smell like lavender!
There you have it! Now that you’re armed with so much information and solutions, you might actually be looking forward to your next period.
Okay maybe not.
But at least now, having all these products and knowledge will hopefully make it so that you never have to suffer from your period again.
Have you tried any of these products yourself? Or maybe you have tried a different product or remedy? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences. After all, we should always be there for one another and supporting each other however we can.
Like this article? Even though this is the first article we have that talk about period care, our site has many other articles about caring for yourself.
Here are a few of those articles you might like:
Until next time…