Tag Archives: rest

5 Ways to Care For Yourself During Your Menstruation

If you’re a woman, you’ve dealt with this: the bloating, the painful cramps, the irritation, the potential messes that can happen, and the overall feeling of discomfort.  Our monthly period isn’t something that many of us would refer to as “enjoyable” by any means.

Many of us have a tendency to try and “hide it” as much as possible so that it doesn’t have to really impact our already busy lives.  So we use tampons, we take the higher doses of ibprofen, and we take a birth control pill or another kind of synthetic hormone in hopes to hinder the symptoms of our monthly period.

In a way, it can almost become as if we were trying to get rid of it all together so we just “don’t have to deal with it” every month.  Admittedly, I know I’ve been there.  I’ve done the regular use of tampons to avoid “messes” mixed with taking birth control pills in hopes to either shorten the period, make it lighter, or reduce symptoms.  Heck, I even went so far previously as to try to master the pill taking in a way so that I could trick my body into “skipping” periods during months where I had decided that I “didn’t have time” to deal with it.

It’s almost as if our culture as a whole wants to avoid dealing with periods.  It’s not something that we really talk about and discuss how we can “make it better” for ourselves and others.  Heck, even upon a trip to the OBGYN we don’t discuss with the doctor how to “make improve our period experience” but rather it turns into “here’s a medication to take that will hopefully reduce it or, nearly, eliminate it all together”.  We  would rather hide it, complain about it, wish it away or try to practically eliminate it rather than to accept the process and nurture ourselves through that process.

Honestly, its really sad when you think about it.  It’s one of the things that really makes a woman a woman and rather than to accept it and nourish it, we’ll reject it and try to wish it away.  And, as a result, we may gradually find ourselves developing other problems down the road, such as: worsening PMS, worsening cramps, infertility, increasing amounts of irritability before or during menstruation, women’s health issues, and so on.

It’s important for us, as women, to be mindful of our body’s natural process and to nurture our bodies and ourselves during that process.

WomenProcessCare

Click to Tweet: It’s important for us women to be mindful of our body’s natural processes & to properly nurture ourselves. via @jenilyn8705

After all, it is the one time out of the month where an organ in our body is actually shedding it’s lining — that’s a big deal!  So while self-care is important all the time, it is even more important during our week of menses.  Here are 5 ways to take care of yourself during your menstruation:

#1 – Give yourself time to rest — especially on the first day.

Our body is going through a lot in that first day of our period, so it’s important to recognize and honor what our body is going through by allowing it to rest.  If you start over the weekend, give yourself the time and space to rest during that first day.

If you do need to work or have activities to do on the first day, make the effort to let yourself rest in any moment that you have time.  Rest even more during your lunch and other breaks, take extra moments during your day to meditate, and try to avoid doing any extra errands.  Anything that doesn’t need to be done on that exact day, put it off to the next day when you’re body will have more energy to do it.

#2 – Do low-intensity exercise.

Go for walks and do low-intensity cardio, as this will help with the flow but not strain the body.  Do stretching and more passive-kinds of exercise such as yin yoga or a yoga class that is more gentle in nature.  This is most important to do during the first few days of your period, as your body is doing a lot more work in the beginning.

# 3 – Eat well.

Because we lose quite a bit of blood during our period, it’s important to eat foods rich in iron the week before we start our periods to prepare.  So be sure to eat red meats, dark leafy greens (like spinach), and seaweed, as this will prepare your body for what you will be losing during menses.

Also, be sure to eat many fruits and vegetables during this time.  During PMS and menses we may have the tendency to start reaching for chocolate, sweet, and sugary things.  This is just a sign that our body is in need of nutrients it is deficient of.  Many times, it is commonly iron (as I mentioned earlier) and magnesium.  So be sure to eat many green vegetables, as these will be rich in magnesium, and it will better satisfy your cravings.

Finally, remember to take your multi vitamins since this will also reduce your likelihood of becoming nutrient deficient.

#4 – Take a soothing hot bath.

Take a hot or warm bath once or a few times during the week of your menses filled with bath salts and essential oils.  Then go ahead and light some candles, play some soothing music, and just soak.  It will not only help you relax, but it will also help sooth any cramps, aches and pains that you may be having.

#5 – Journal and reflect.

While we are menstruating, the communication between the left and right hemispheres of our brain are more powerful than any other time of the month.  As a result, we may find ourselves receiving more messages from our intuition and instincts while we are menstruating.

So take more time to journal, meditate, and reflect.  You may find yourself more likely to reach some “a ha” moments, receive new creative ideas, or find an answer to a question you have been contemplating on for weeks or months.

Even if you’re not feeling more intuitive during your week of menses, don’t just ditch the journaling!  Continue to journal and reflect upon your current thoughts, feelings, and how you have been feeling in your body.  In doing so, you may be able to come to some deeper insights about yourself.

In the comments below, share with me at least one thing that you are going to plan on doing during your next period.

What Running Has Taught Me About Self-Care

 “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

This past week, I ran 7.5 miles. If you would’ve told me 6 months ago that I would be running over 7 miles a week I wouldn’t have believed you. I had tried this whole running thing many times before, but the truth is, I hardly made any real progress.

I haven’t ran a full mile straight in at least 3 years. And the last time I ran 2 or 3 miles straight was, well… never.

I’ve never considered myself a runner. I used to run in high school because that’s what I was told to do, though I never reached a point where I considered it to be fulfilling.

However, that has changed. Thanks a few apps I have been able to build up the endurance to not only run one mile, but over three.

The apps have taught me the benefits of approaching running with walk-run intervals. Even after completing my initial program set by the app, I have continued to run intervals a few times a week to help build speed. This is something that I had never done when running during middle school or high school. And, surprisingly, it worked 100 times better than the old method of simply just running and gradually adding on time.

One day I thought to myself, “So I became more efficient in my running by taking the time to both run and walk. Does this encourage efficiency in other areas of life as well?” For example, I thought that instead of trying to fit so many hours of productivity straight in hopes to be more efficient, what if I did some break intervals in my day to day life as well?”

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So I did – I stopped pushing myself to fit into such a strict schedule and started to listen to my feelings and what my body was telling me. If my body felt tired, I let myself sleep more. If I felt emotionally drained, I stayed in with a good book or watched a feel-good movie. If I randomly felt the need to go for a walk, I went for a walk. If I felt the need to push myself through the long stretch, then I pushed myself.

And you know what? Surprisingly, I have done more! And not only did I do more in terms of work, but my relationships improved because I focused more on my own feelings and self-care. I now feel so much happier and fulfilled overall.

The truth is, we are all out of balance. We are running around so much trying to be so productive and efficient that we’ve forgotten that rest and self-care is equally as important as action to experience true success and happiness. We’ve forgotten how to take care of ourselves and to be our own best friend.

Find little ways to take care of yourself every day by dancing to your favorite song, going for a walk every morning, or curling up in the evening with a good book. Strive to be aware of your feelings. If you feel drained, then take a quick break. If you feel like going for a run, then go for a run.

And if your mind comes in and says something like “I don’t have any time to rest! I have to get all this done,” then remember that the breaks are equally as important to our success. Just like in running, by taking time to walk and not just run we actually become more efficient. We do better because we have given ourselves little breaks, but have also taken the time to sprint when we feel the need to.

Just as we need both lightness and darkness in each of our days, we also need action and rest. Allow yourself to have those breaks. Take care of yourself. Seek balance. You’ll go farther.