By Jen Cui
28 May 2020
4 minute read
I know the feeling. You start waking up bloated, you start seeing little pink mounds popping up all over your chin, you gain a few pounds, your nipples get tender, you start craving chocolate all day, you get phantom cramps, and you’re hornier than ever. Damn, your period is coming soon. Now you pull on some sweatpants and a baggy sweater you plan on living in for the week and you dig out your old period-undies that give you serious panty lines. Ugh, now you just want to curl up in a ball and wait for the impending blood fest about to occur.
But wait, you don’t have to be miserable. You don’t have to feel like a chocolate-eating grey blob the entire week. What’s stopping you from wearing that cute outfit you were going to wear and feeling sexy 24/7?
As a women’s holistic health coach and certified personal trainer, I’ve worked with dozens of women to help them create a better relationship with their bodies while helping them reach their goals. Today, I want to share 4 tips that you can use to help you swat the negativity out of your period, stop fighting your mind and your body, and start feeling body-confident on and off your period.
Women are criticized enough. Others tell us how right or wrong we are in the way we look, the work we do, the people we’re around, and the goals we have. Not only that, but we judge ourselves so severely often saying horrible things, that we would never say to others, to ourselves. During our periods, we can be even more harsh when we struggle with hormonal acne, unusual bloating, weight gain, and food cravings.
Ladies, this is NOT the time to be talking down to yourself and making you feel more crappy than your period is already making you feel! Honestly, there’s never a time for that kind of negativity. Reserve the judgement that you’re bad for wanting ice cream and chocolate and let go of the media telling you pasta will make you fat. I know it’s easier said than done, but really, the sooner you realize tearing yourself down for a week is just going to leave you more upset and self-destructive than productive, the sooner you’ll feel comfortable in your body at any time.
Do your research into different feminine products aside from the generic tampons and pads. Try menstrual cups, menstrual rings, various birth control methods, period underwear, etc. Bonus points if it makes you feel good too- physically, emotionally, aesthetically, and ethically!
Even within the typical tampons and pads, there are tons of brands offering different products. For example, Cora, that I’m sure you’ve seen ads for, does 100% organic cotton feminine products to make sure you feel safe with what you’re using versus the generic big brands that don’t share what’s in their products. If you’re environmentally conscious, try plastic-free tampons with cardboard applicators or no applicator at all (they’re easier than you think).
Personally, I’ve used the Mirena IUD to help me manage my past heavy periods and short 21 day cycles. Now, since I only really have light-moderate days, I’ve switched to just liners and started using Thinx period-proof undies so I can reduce my waste.
Stop the stigma that having sex while on your period is dirty, unsexy, and wrong because the only thing wrong about it is the person whose telling you that you shouldn’t. In fact, having period sex can deepen your relationship because it makes you have potentially uncomfortable conversations and it can actually help you with period cramps!
You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed for wanting to get physically intimate with your partner, regardless of whether you’re on your period or not. It’s up to you and your partner to communicate how you feel about period sex, and how you want to go about it.
A guy once told me that, “it’s disgusting,” when I wanted to have sex on my last day of my period. He wouldn’t even kiss me and when we eventually tried it, we stopped almost immediately because I was apparently gross on my period and he made a face the whole time like I was a piece of trash rotting in a dumpster. Yeah, I know. Ouch.
Needless to say, he didn’t last long and honestly there are plenty of men and women out there totally fine with period sex! People like my partner now who is a REAL man who makes me feel sexy and respects my body and all of its natural processes are out there for you if you want it. And if you don’t, have fun with yourself!
For my sister, this means still dressing up and wearing make-up to feel cute and look good for herself. For me, this means eating ice cream, drinking tons of water, exercising when I can, and doing face masks. As a personal trainer with all female clients, I get at least one cancelation or reschedule every month when my client’s time of the month comes (I know why because they tell me). If you have terrible cramps, don’t force yourself to workout, but I’ve had my clients tell me that their cramping has reduced after getting on a consistent workout regimen. Try some abdominal stretches and core-strengthening exercises to help you flow better.
Now with these 4 tips, hopefully this month and all the months following will be better for you. Don’t forget self-compassion is needed all the time, so remember to honour your body every day so you can feel incredibly confident anytime.