An Idea! Be Nicer to Yourself on Your Period, OK?
By Tyler Guitroz
For those of us who menstruate, life can get pretty complicated and quite…unfriendly to say the least. That's not to say that having a menstrual cycle is at all shameful, of course! In many cultures, a young woman’s first period and periods thereafter can be seen as a celebration—of life, vitality, strength, and femininity. However, historically many societies (read: much of western civilization) have ostracized this natural bodily occurrence (enter Freud…) as something to be shameful of. Something to hide. As a result, we have menstruating humans who have gone through a lifetime feeling animosity to our bodies and our entire sense of being. Here, we’ll offer a different way of thinking. Consider this: humans who menstruate spend up to 10 years of their life menstruating (that’s about 3,500 days). As such, it becomes exceptionally important to find ways to be kind to yourself and thank your body for doing its thing.
FACT: Eighty-one percent of women admit to having experienced unusually painful cramping (dysmenorrhea). It’s a sensation owed to the hormone, prostaglandin, causing the uterus to cramp, leading to spasming in the abdomen.
Daily tasks are hard when you are uncomfortable. They are even harder when you’re in pain. Menstruation is a fact of life for many of us, but the fact of and the result specifics of this process is often overlooked, widely downplayed, and definitely ignored. As such the products targeted for those of us who menstruate have historically been ill-fitting, expensive, and sometimes even harmful. Therefore, it is up to us to find the products that suit us the best—hopefully products made for us, by us.
So, let’s start with chocolate. Cravings are a very real and omnipresent part of life for the menstrual cycle. For some, they can be moderate to non-existent. For others, they can represent some very questionable late-night trips to the bodega. CHICA Chocolate is a brilliant alternative to your traditional chocolate craving fix. These truffles are blended with Bupreurum Root, White Attactylodes, and White Peony to assist in cramping mitigation, mood stabilization (which could also help with cravings), and to aid in the maintenance of overall period health, respectively.
It goes without saying that doing and consuming things that make you feel good can make discomfort and pain that much more tolerable.
FACT: In one study, it was found that women experience an influx of acne prior to the onset of menstruation in about 65% of their participants.
The concept that is “Hormonal Acne” is likely not a foreign one if you read The Spot with any regularity. You know… those big guys that you can often feel (and sometimes even see) coming. The ones on the chin or jaw that linger and may even leave some hyperpigmentation after they’ve done their thing, disrupting our lives and whatnot. Yes, those ones. We have many reasons to find periods uncomfy, but amongst them all, acne is a big and common concern. And, rightly so! If we don’t feel as though we look good, the associated stress and insecurity can cascade and influence other aspects of our lives—including, sadly, the intensity of menstrual-associated symptoms 🥺
A great way to approach skin maintenance is: 1. to have a consistent skincare routine. 2. Stay hydrated and try to moderate stress levels — a real tall order during your period 3. Probiotics. Probiotics, like those found in ZitSticka’s SKIN DISCIPLINE, control the environment for good bacteria in your gut so that they can fight the bad bacteria, and successfully thrive. In the case of SKIN DISCIPLINE, the vitamin, mineral, probiotic, and fatty acid formulation helps to ease surface inflammation, regulate oil levels, and support both a healthy internal and external skin environment. AND the best part about a solid skin routine is that if ritualized, then it in itself can be therapeutic.
Taking the time to treat yourself—appreciate yourself—is a great way to thank your body for doing what was intended. Thank yourself for being healthy and flourishing as a result. You and your body deserve it!
FACT: Because of the effects of zero-gravity on blood flow, NASA was initially concerned that menstruating women would die in space.
Historically, there has been a lot of concern voiced by those who only witness menstruating individuals, without hearing from those who actually menstruate (ahem, old white men.) As a result, we—the period havers—have often regarded this natural bodily process with shame. It is easy to lose yourself in the invalidation of others. A big part of being kind to yourself is having the confidence to accept who you are. An idea easier said than done. Finding ways to understand your own energy, perception, feelings, and sense of being can greatly influence your self-being emotionally, spiritually, and yes, physically.
Practices like a nice gentle Yin yoga or even reiki (energy healing) session, can serve to optimize your internal validation, making you more in tune and accepting of your body and yourself. Reiki has been shown to positively impact the “rest and digest” parts of our brains (i.e. the parasympathetic nervous systems) to aid in healing. But if you do not have time for a nice reiki session, doing a bit of stretching or taking a bath, or just doing what brings you the most peace, is another great way to show yourself a little love when you may not feel at your best.
Finding ways to give back to yourself is truly the best way to go about menstruating. We do not have control over every aspect of our cycles. We do not have control over how others, especially those who do not menstruate, perceive our respective journeys as a part of period cycling. We sure as heck do not have control over every emotion we experience as a result of menstruating. What we do have control over is how we treat ourselves throughout our cycles. Practice kindness because the world may not always be kind to you, but you definitely deserve it, regardless.
Want more on periods and breakouts? Click here to see if hormones, unlike hair in humid conditions, can be tamed.