Ladies, it's no secret that for one week out of the month, your life is an absolute bloody hell... literally. Even if you don't get it every month, it still doesn't take away the fact that you feel awful. You feel bloated, nauseous like you can't take enough showers, and like someone is stabbing you in the lower abdomen. I'm not one to sugar-coat how I'm feeling — I will tell it like it is.
After so many years, I've tried just about everything to make the week go by easier, besides Midol or other pain relievers. Some things work for me but may not work for others. But, here is a list compiled of some of the best self-care routines to help you out.
1. Wear comfy clothes
Ditch the skinny jeans and constricting blouses!
Unless you've got a big event that you're obligated to dress up for, embrace the joggers and big T-shirts!
Nothing feels better than not having your jeans waistband dig into your stomach. And when you get home from work or classes, hop right into those PJs!
2. Turn on a heating pad
Even when it's in the middle of the summer, turn the fan on you on high and snuggle a heating pad. Trust me, the heat and pressure do work and if it doesn't at least your burning stomach will distract you from the
3. Self-care is self love
Though you may feel like shit, you have to remember to take care of your body. Sometimes something as simple as rubbing lotion on your skin can make you feel 10 times better.
Go for the lotion in your favorite scent, wash and moisturize your face, or even do a face mask! You can make your own, and don't forget that LUSH sells them for free if you bring in five recyclable pots!
4. Grab your fuzzy socks
Putting on a pair of fuzzy socks feels great after rubbing lotion on your feet. Not only does it keep the moisture concentrated, but they also just feel amazing. Walgreens or CVS sells fuzzy socks for $1-$2, and in tons of fun colors too!
Don't forget to keep hydrated! Drinking water helps reduce bloating and also keeps your body comfortable and refreshed.
Make sure to drink eight cups a day regularly, but especially during your period.
If you hate just plain water, try infusing it with different fruits and veggies for detox water recipes, which can also alleviate cravings (my favorite is mint and lemon water).
6. Spill the tea, sis
In addition to water, tea can be really helpful! Not only do different teas help your body in different ways, but holding a warm mug of a hot liquid is very relaxing.
Chamomile Tea isn't only great for stress and insomnia, it also works as a muscle relaxer and thus relaxes your uterus. It's also an anti-inflammatory that reduces period cramps.
Ginger Tea is an anti-inflammatory as well. More importantly, it helps alleviate nausea, sickness, and an upset stomach. That's why when you have the stomach flu, they have you sip on some Ginger Ale. Ginger can also be put into smoothies or juices if you're not very fond of the taste.
Raspberry Leaf Tea, though an unusual variety, is also an anti-inflammatory and prevents stomach aches and constipation. Plus, it tastes great!
7. Healthy proteins
Protein is super important and super helpful! Yes, red meat and fish (salmon is super rich in protein), but you can get protein from other foods, too!
Spinach, Kale, and other dark leafy greens
Almonds or Almond Milk
Both are rich in iron and magnesium. Iron helps with fatigue, which may come from low iron levels. Magnesium helps relax muscles and reduce anxiety and increase your mood, and don't lie and say you're not crabby during your period. Try an apple and spinach and kale smoothie (found at Playa Bowls or most juice bar/acai bars).
Other Magnesium and Iron-rich foods include:
Bananas (also high in Potassium which helps with cramps)
8. Things you shouldn't eat or do
Now for some foods and drinks, you should avoid.
Caffeine! I know, I know. How will you ever survive without your afternoon iced coffee? Use non-caffeinated tea as a substitute or Bambu, a coffee substitute with Chicory, which helps with nausea.
Sugar Drinks. Sodas, energy drinks, and fizzy juices raise your energy levels and when you crash from your sugar high, you're left lethargic and fatigued. Drink fresh fruit juices instead.
Milk. Stay away from dairy. It causes inflammation and irritation, thus worsening cramps. And yet dairy is what we all seem to crave. Stay away from ice cream, butter, cheese, milkshakes, and yogurt. Or like, at least try to limit your dairy consumption.
Alcohol. It doesn't necessarily cause cramps, it just makes your fatigue and cravings worse than they already are.
Please note that these are just suggestions and natural ones as that that you can do from home. These are not fix-alls or miracles, just some tips and tricks to help. It is important to know that if you are experiencing severe period pains and/or irregular periods, please consult your doctor.