Having your period can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Painful cramps, frustrating bloating, and unpredictable mood swings… it’s not fun, and it’s difficult to deal with month after month.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to make having your period easier. Below we’ve listed six menstruation hacks that will keep you calm, comfortable and confident while you’re on your period.
1. Drink more water
If you’re feeling bloated during your period, you might not want to drink a lot of water. But did you know that staying hydrated can help to ease menstrual symptoms like bloating, cramps and tiredness?
During your period, the hormone changes in your body cause water retention, which may impact your digestive system and lead to unwanted bloating.
Drinking plenty of water while you’re on your period helps your body to flush away toxins that make you feel bad and reduces bloating. Drinking water can also help alleviate painful menstrual cramps and make you feel more comfortable.
Topping up on H₂O is not a difficult period hack — you just need to make sure that you carry around a water bottle and regularly fill it up.
Stay away from caffeinated drinks like coke or coffee; caffeine makes cramps and bloating worse. If you’re really craving a hot drink, try a herbal tea instead.
2. Get enough sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep because you’re up late finishing off work, scrolling through Insta or bingeing on Netflix, you’re going to struggle the next day. And that’s even without the added stress of being on your period.
An average adult needs about 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function well. Sleep gives our bodies times to rest and rejuvenate after a busy day. In fact, sleep affects everything from tissue repairs to memory and learning skills — that’s why it’s so important to practise good sleep hygiene.
In the case of having your period, sleep can help you deal with cramps and period pain (your pain threshold can actually get lower if you haven’t had enough sleep). Plus, being well-rested helps you handle hormonal grumpiness way better.
It’s a simple piece of advice, but getting a good night’s sleep will definitely help you feel calmer and more confident while you’re PMS-ing.
3. Make an emergency period kit
We’ve all been caught out — normally at a time when it’s ridiculously inconvenient. A surprise period is a surefire way to feel flustered and self-conscious — not what you want.
A super easy hack for feeling calm and collected when faced with your period is to create an emergency period kit.
You can include all sorts of things in your emergency period kit, such as pads or tampons (or any other period products you use like menstrual cups). You can also add other things that you think would be useful, such as feminine freshness wipes to freshen up.
Spare underwear is another good item to include in your period kit just in case of any embarrassing leak moments. Period underwear is perfect for this: they’re leak-proof and super absorbent, so you can even wear them on light-to-medium flow days without using any other period protection.
Once you’ve made your period kit, you can stash it somewhere safe that you’ll be able to get to. This could be your handbag, your car, or your drawer at work. Then, whenever you start your period unexpectedly, you’ll know that you’re covered.
4. Do some exercise
Whether it’s a gentle workout like yoga or more high-impact sports like running, exercising during menstruation will release endorphins — making you feel happier, reducing your stress levels and working as a natural painkiller.
Exercise also alleviates painful cramps because it increases the flow of oxygen to your muscles.
It even helps to tackle unwanted bloating — through sweating during your workout, excess water will leave your body.
Although you may not feel like it, exercising while you are on your period will help you to feel calmer and more comfortable. We’d definitely recommend it.
5. Track your cycle
One of the most difficult parts of getting your period is not knowing when it’s going to strike, and not being equipped for it — especially if you’re in school. By tracking your cycle, you’ll get a better idea of when your period is going to pop up.
There are a few different ways that you can track your period.
Firstly, you can use your diary or calendar to note down when your period is due. You can work out roughly when you’re due by figuring out how long your cycle is — this means counting the days between your last period ending to when your next period begins. This may fluctuate month by month, but you’ll probably start to see some sort of pattern. Everyone is different, so your cycle could last any time from 21 to 35 days (although the average is around 28).
Alternatively, you can use a period tracking app. There are many different period trackers out there which include handy features like a reminder when you’re due and a PMS symptom tracker.
However you do it, tracking your period will help you to feel much more calm and confident because you’ll be prepared.
6. Eat well
It can be tempting to binge on ice cream and chocolate, and yes, we’ll admit that sometimes the only thing that is going to help period cramps is a duvet day featuring a hot water bottle and a pint of ice cream.
However, eating plenty of healthy fruit and vegetables is what will help with your period symptoms. Bananas, in particular, are great period food: they contain magnesium and potassium, which helps to relax your muscles, reduce cramps and tackle bloating.
Iron-rich greens like spinach and kale are also good to eat during your period because they top up your iron levels, making you feel less sluggish and tired.
If you feel like these superfoods aren’t going to hit the spot while you’re craving sweet treats, don’t worry — chocolate is still on the cards. However, instead of choosing sickly-sweet sugary versions, pick up some high-percentage dark chocolate instead; it’s rich in magnesium which will regulate your serotonin levels, reduce muscle tension and help bloating.
These menstruation hacks will help you to feel calm, comfortable and confident during your period. Look after your body with plenty of sleep, water and good food, and tackle menstruation logistics with an emergency period kit and a cycle tracker. Sorted.