3rd October 2017
It’s my time of the month. I knew it was coming yesterday – I felt bloated, my mood was off, I had on and off mild stomach cramps. How do we cope? Is there anything us girls can do to make things a little easier when we’re in so much pain and feel so much discomfort?
I used to get it much worse when I was younger, but I get all sorts of symptoms during menstruation. I get back pain, my muscles ache in my legs, I get stomach cramps..and goodness, don’t get me started on the period headache! Horrendous. Luckily today when I was in pain I had the freedom to move my appointment at Uni and come home to go to bed, that was my saviour and probably is the best thing for us when we’re on our periods. I thought I’d share what helps me when I’m going through this each month.
Sit down, and stretch.
When I walk, it makes my back pain, in particular, worse, and when in public I’m more anxious which makes the physical pain in my stomach worse. Whenever possible, and luckily I could today, I came home and sat down. A particular stretch that helps with my back is a forward fold – stand up with feet hip width apart, and slightly bend your legs and round forward like a rag doll, grabbing your elbows or letting your arms and head hang. Alternatively, I sit down, widen my knees, and round over in between my legs so that my knees are bent and feet planted on the floor, and my head is hanging over. I tend to feel pain when I sit up straight and so this position can be soothing.
Wear loose clothing.
When I was in the library today waiting around for my appointment, I couldn’t help but notice that my jeans were making my stomach cramps worse. My jeans were tight and were pinching on my stomach, and it was a horrible feeling. My bra was pressing on my upper back making me feel more achy. I don’t dispute that freedom with what you wear is limited or non existant in particular jobs for many women out there, but wherever possible wearing something nice and loose can be really useful. I’ve currently got some loose PJ bottoms on and a baggy t-shirt, so that nothing is pressing on my body and making me feel more uncomfortable and in pain.
Try pressing a cold water bottle on the pain
This is more subjective and may not be useful for everyone, but this has helped me in the past. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no idea why it’s advertised that warm baths and hot water bottles help us girls on our periods. Maybe it helps some, but for me anything warm or hot makes me feel worse!! It’s the last thing I need. Particularly when I was younger, I’d fill a bottle up with really cold water and press it down on my stomach, ideally lying down. It drowned out the pain and really helped! Rolling it up and down and around the pain is nice too, otherwise it can just feel numbing.
Before I got home today I treated myself to some caramel dairy milk chocolate, my best friend when I’m feeling low! I’ve been generally quite healthy lately and so it felt like it was due to have a nice treat, and it made me feel better when I got home and ate it. The last thing I want to do is cook and make food too, so I got a meal deal and some shortbread for tonight when I watch Doctor Foster (amazing programme!!!). So what is a treat for you? Could be anything, like a milkshake, hot drink, savoury or sweet food, ice cream..whatever, as long as it’s something you enjoy, you deserve it. We don’t deserve to go through this horrible pain!
Think about whether company or alone time is what you need.
You hear a lot about reaching out for someone to talk to when you’re struggling, but all I want to do is be alone when it’s my time of the month! Again, I know this can be difficult and impractical for some, but this is what has helped me. Perhaps sitting with a friend and family member to mope to might help, or maybe you just need to lock yourself away with a treat, a blanket and your favourite programme on tele. Everyone is different and it’s about figuring out what you need. Put yourself first, even if only for a little bit.
Can’t wait for this week to be over!
Take care of yourselves, girls.