Women have different ways of making themselves feel good and pretty. Some visit spas to relax, travel with friends, shop for some retail therapy, or see their hairstylist at a hair-extension salon. Whatever self-care activity you’re doing, the things you do for yourself have a significant impact on the quality of your life.
It’s a known fact that women don’t feel the greatest before, during, or after their period. From fatigue and body pain to bloating and cramps, a menstrual period is difficult to get through. That’s why women turn to different self-care habits to compensate for the pain and discomfort they’re feeling. Some choose to work out, eat their favorite food, or just simply rest the whole day.
Since menstruation directly affects millions of women globally, it’s important to determine the factors that make the experience a little better for them. Knowing the best wellness tactics makes a big difference in minimizing the discomfort, pain, sadness, and moodiness during your menstrual cycle. With that in mind, here are game-changing self-care habits to practice during your period.
Prioritize eating healthy
It’s common for women to crave desserts and carbs before and during their period, but these feel-good meals only benefit your taste buds and cravings but not your health. Too many carbs and sugary foods cause your energy level to drop while also leading to bloating, water retention, and mood swings.
So before ordering fast food, consider eating healthy fats and protein-rich foods to stabilize your blood sugar level, promote healthy digestion, reduce bloating, decrease inflammation, and encourage digestion, hydration, and hormone regulation.
Fruits and vegetables are also a must, but make sure your diet contains all recommended nutrients present in other food groups. Vitamins found in whole food sources, such as thiamine and riboflavin, reduce the likelihood of PMS. Women who have low iron levels during periods should try consuming more iron-rich foods.
While it’s tempting to eat french fries or ice cream to quench your period cravings, women should do their best to fight that urge. The menstrual cycle is a period characterized by hormonal imbalance, which leads to high fluid retention in the body. So consuming foods with high sodium content worsens cramps and bloating. The same goes for high caffeine and fat content.
Working out is something most women want to avoid during their period. As much as possible, they’d rather lounge on a comfortable bed while binge-watching their favorite Netflix show for hours on end. Although there’s nothing wrong with this, getting some light exercise trumps every self-care tactic out there!
Physical activity during periods doesn’t require intense workouts to reap its benefits. The truth is, even light exercise does wonder about your health. One example is yoga, which helps lessen menstrual symptoms and pain. This is perfect for women who have painful periods, or the idea of gym workouts isn’t their thing. Simply devote at least 30 minutes twice a week, and you’ll experience the rewarding benefits of yoga.
If you’re up for a sweat session, consider doing cardio! A study revealed that women who do moderate aerobic exercise during their menstrual cycle are less likely to experience pain, behavioral changes, and impaired concentration. Cardio is a great way to maintain exercise levels if you frequently do intense workouts. Other forms of light exercise include mat pilates, yin yoga, Kundalini, and walking. No need to punish yourself for a 10-mile run or spin class!
Embrace heat therapy
While period symptoms differ, painful menstrual cramps are more common. For women, it’s the most painful and annoying part of every menstrual cycle. The pain can sometimes cause women to be absent from work or school, or worse, get admitted to the emergency room.
Heat is your best friend during your monthly periods. Heat therapy is an effective way to reduce menstrual cramps since heat helps the muscles relax and relieve tension. It also eliminates swelling and promotes blood flow.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate heat therapy into your routine. Take a hot shower but make sure the water is not too hot to avoid damaging your skin. Another alternative is to apply a heating pad or warm washcloth on top of your abdomen or brew a hot cup of tea.
Menstrual cycles are emotionally and physically draining. While it’s something we cannot alter, having periods is something women should celebrate and not condemn. Knowing self-care tactics that work for you can go a long way in supporting your body in the most challenging times. So, the next time you have your period, why not follow our suggestions above, and you’ll be well on your way toward a painless menstrual cycle.