By Priya A. Shah
I approach period days with self-care to the max. It’s not always perfect, and I may not always have a full day to stop, drop, and spa, but I try it sneak some extra self-love here and there where I can.
Sometimes, that means spending a few more minutes in the shower to take my time washing and conditioning my hair. Sometimes, it means lighting a scented candle, putting on face cream, and taking slow, deep breaths for a few minutes. And sometimes, it means lounging around for a few hours watching bad reality TV.
Just recently, I was stressed out with a project, hadn’t been getting enough sleep or exercise, *and* I was on my period. One morning, I woke up and decided to grab a coffee, go for a nice walk, and listen to an audiobook for an hour. Afterwards, I felt so much better.
Self-care doesn’t have to be some extravaganza. It *can* be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee and going for a walk.
We live in a society where we’re taught at an early age that we have to hustle, grind, and work ‘til our fingers bleed. But that is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re on your period. With everything going on in your body, pushing yourself like that will make you feel ill, unhappy, and burnt out.
Treating yourself with self-care, self-compassion, and love is going to help you in the long run, even after your period cycle ends. Sometimes, we have to be extra-kind to ourselves. Sometimes, we have to baby ourselves and turn our periods into a spa day.
Here are some ideas that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of your time, your schedule allowing. Pick a few and try ‘em out.
This year, especially, I’ve been using mediation as a part of my daily routine. I prefer 10 - 20-minute guided meditations to help me clear my mind and focus on my breath. This can also be a part of your period spa experience! Try it! There are plenty of meditations on YouTube, and apps such as Headspace.
Drink lemon water
It’s SO important to stay hydrated during your menstrual cycle, and drinking up to 3 liters of water a day can really help PMS! Lemon water, especially, is packed with Vitamin C, and can alleviate discomfort and cramps. You can drink lemon water hot or cold!
Exercising during your period can help with period pains. Personally, if I stick to my regular workout schedule, I feel so much better. But let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t want to while on our periods.
The good news is that you don’t have to go out and run 10 miles if you don’t want to, but taking 20 - 30 minutes to do some light exercises like walking and stretching can also be beneficial for your body.
Put on a face mask
Whether it’s store-bought or your own special recipe, indulging in a facial before bedtime (or anytime!) will make you feel amazing. Just Google “DIY face mask” and you’ll get a ton of ideas!
Try: Mix/mash 1 quarter of an avocado + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply to your face (after washing it) for 10 - 15 minutes, then rinse it off. Sounds delicious!
Binge-watch a guilty pleasure
Every now and then we want to be flies on the wall of someone else’s world. So curl up and see what’s going on with the Kardashians or who the next Bachelorette will pick to marry. If reality TV isn’t your thing, put on a movie (Love Actually, anyone?), or start a new show on Netflix.
Give yourself a DIY pedicure
Take an hour to soak your feet, flip through a magazine or a book, and cue up some ocean sounds/music of your choice. Then, paint your toes pretty!
Take a long, relaxing, warm bath
The warmth of a bath will help ease your period discomfort and relieve stress. If you don’t like baths, spend an extra 5 - 10 minutes in the shower and just let yourself soak.
Nourish your body
A lot of us get specific cravings for junk food when we’re on our period, but healthy food can actually be a natural PMS reliever. I personally love a big, yummy salad with lots of veggies.
And hey, if you’re putting the right foods in your body during period days, you might not even need to take painkillers/over-the-counter meds (that’s if you take them regularly during your menstrual cycle to relieve cramps). Eat your veggies. Eat your fruits.
Take a nap
Seriously, with all the things that we do in a day, sometimes we just need a freakin’ nap. Set aside 10 - 20 minutes for some midday shut-eye. You’ll feel so refreshed!
Sounds amazing, huh? These are just some basic ideas, remember that the most important thing is to be gentle with *you*.
What special things do you do to take care of yourself on rough period days? Share them with us in the comments!
Priya Shah is a Chicago-based freelance copywriter and serial blogger armed with a journalism degree and a strong background in providing clients with value, creativity, and a killer voice. She’s also a world-traveler, has lived abroad, and loves exploring other cultures.