10 Ways To Cope With Periods Because They're Actually Not The End Of The World
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Health and Wellness

10 Ways To cope with menstrual periods Because They're Actually Not The End Of The World

Hint: It doesn't involve chocolate and ice cream.


I've menstruated for 10 years now, so I think I can say I have some experience on the subject. Period shaming, overpriced menstrual products, mood swings, backaches, stomach cramps, birth control side effects, nausea, I've seen it all! I'm not going to lie -- periods do suck, but over the years I've learned how to make them suck less.

Read on to see how you TOO can make your periods suck less!

1. Avoiding foods that aggravate my cramps

My dad only buys the Cheerios with no sugar so now I call regular Cheerios "sweet Cheerios."

Acidic foods make my cramps worse for some reason. That means yogurt, anything even slightly spicy, tomatoes, sweet peppers, etc. are off the table. Literally. If I eat a substantial amount of any of acidic foods, my cramps either immediately worsen or they make a comeback on Day 4 when they're supposed to be gone.

Sometimes I cook a non-acidic meal to help me get through the first few days to make things easier. Sometimes I just wing it.

2. Using a menstrual tracker app

I took this screenshot on the 24th so now you know exactly where I am in my menstrual cycle whether you wanted to or not.

If you're not using Clue, I don't know what you're doing with your life. This app uses gender neutral language and imagery (unlike all the other menstrual tracker apps *cough cough*), allows you to track a buddy's menstrual cycle, has tons of features and information, and best of all is 100% FREE.

Did I mention they also have an awesome blog that covers all things menstrual/sexual health and more? Go download Clue now!

3. Positive affirmations

I didn't keep the actual page because I'm smart like that so that's why you're getting a picture of an empty page.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING AND THIS IS NOT IT. I'm not talking about #instaworthy gratitude journals, I'm not talking about Pinterest quotes, so hold your horses.

Once upon a time, my health psychology professor said something about how maladaptive cognitions can affect people's health. In regular English, the negative thoughts in your head can make it harder to cope with disease, injury, or -- in my case -- periods.

See, I used to have this bad habit on my periods where I'd imagine myself crying on the bathroom floor in a pool of vomit and blood as my parents screamed at me to come help them cook in the kitchen even though I'm clearly physically incapacitated. Which was in no way based in reality. So yeah.

One day, I cracked open one of my many empty journals and wrote down some more realistic and positive assessments of my period. It helped address a lot of the anxiety I'd feel about my periods. You have to accept that you may not be able to go 120% and you might need help from other people and that's completely OK and your pain. Is. Valid.

4. Heating pads

I value this object more than I value my family. Jk.

At home I have an electric heating pad that I practically live with. Just please remember whenever you use a heating pad: NO SLEEPING. As many jokes as I make about wanting to boil out my insides, it's NOT worth the risk of getting third degree burns!

When I'm out, I like to use ThermaCare Menstrual Heat Wraps. I buy them from Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they have the best price. Also -- for those of you who don't know -- Bed, Bath, and Beyond has awesome deals on menstrual care products in general. DON'T SLEEP ON THEM!

5. Coupons and Costco

This coupon is valid until July 28. You're welcome.

I love Target for many reasons. One of them is the wonderful and lovely Cartwheel app that gives you Target/manufacturer coupons on just about anything you could buy everyday. I may be crying, but my wallet isn't (as much) thanks to Cartwheel.

In an ideal world, people wouldn't have to pay for menstrual products. But for now I do as the successful suburban moms do and I coupon and I buy in bulk from Costco. (Thanks for the complimentary membership dad!)

6. Communicating with my family members

I may or may not have said this word-for-word on an occasion or two.

I get pretty bad cramps on my period so cooking and shopping becomes very difficult for me. To the point that I avoid doing it unless completely necessary. Obviously, in a family of 4, this impacts everyone so I tell the people around me when I'm on my period so they know what I can and can't do.

Again there's no shame in meeting your needs on your period. You'll come back twice as motivated once those first few days are over! Assuming you don't have any menstrual disorders or anything. My heart goes out to people affected by those.

7. My menstrual survival kits

It's a menstrual flat lay!

Here's the thing about periods. The cramps wake up from your sleep. It may have been 8 hours since you last took Tylenol and now you're the only person awake, the pain pills are on the other side of the house, you might have to take them with food, and the heating pad is out of reach too.

Unless you set up a menstrual survival kit in your room like me! On my bedstand, I have pain pills, trail mix, a heat wrap, and a bottle of water at all times. I also carry these essentials in my backpack and my purse just in case an earthquake strikes when I'm outside and being incapacitated isn't an option.

8. Laying a towel on my bed

I chose to use this picture because my closet is nowhere near this quaint. Clearly I need to shift my priorities.

I sleep with a towel on my bed for the first few days to prevent any blood from staining my bedsheets. Trust me, "leaking" is the last thing you'll want to worry about when you're actively bleeding and hurting. This is actually a trick I learned from my mum who's chock full of traditional Indian beliefs and ways of life since she was born in India.

9. Using laundry soap

I used to do this in my backyard until I got a sink in my laundry room. Never looking back.

If you don't want to toss your blood-stained underwear, it can be saved if you're not squeamish around blood. Grab a bucket of water and soak your undies for a few hours. Come back with a bar of laundry soap and apply some soap to the stain -- exactly like washing dishes -- then vigorously rub the stained part against a clean part of the underwear. It should come out in a minute or so.

The sooner you do this, the easier the blood will rinse out because fresher stains are always easier to remove than older ones. Mind you this is a tutorial for panties because those are all I wear. I'm not sure how to wash other kinds of underwear, but I do know that hydrogen peroxide can dissolve blood.

10. Ginger crystals

The only crystals worth taking.

These work miracles for my nausea, OK? They're fast-acting, I only need to use them once a day or so, and best of all they're not a prescription medication loaded with all kinds of chemicals that I'd develop tolerance for anyway! The brand I buy, pictured above, is from a local Asian supermarket, but you can also buy it from Walmart or Amazon.

All of these things have helped make my periods more tolerable. I know they're not as glamorous as sun salutations and bath bombs, but life isn't an Instagram reel and neither are periods. They can be downright miserable even after I do all of the above because I have heavy cramps -- lucky me -- and there's nothing fun about nausea, bleeding, bathroom woes, etc.

Some people consider their periods to be a beautiful thing because they're an indicator of health -- your periods shut down if you're malnourished or overworked -- and signal a new stage of life. I screamed "NOOOO!" at the top of my lungs in the school bathroom when I got my first period at 10 years old. Everyone has their own experiences of periods and all of them are valid.

I really hope in the future that the taboo around periods goes away because it's so silly and it stigmatizes people for a natural function of their body. There's nothing wrong or dirty about periods and that's the tea. If you think this article could be of some help to someone in your life, please pass it on to them!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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