When it’s that time of the month, there’s nothing better than treating yo’self!
Just as a foreword – I put ‘self-care’ in inverted commas because the term annoys me. It’s very overused, but at the same time, it is appropriate for this topic – the art of taking care of yourself when you’re on your period.
Self-care comes in many forms (definitely not limited to the list below!) and it’s important to recognise that each individual’s preference for ‘self-care’ is different; these may not reflect what you feel the term means, but some of them might.
Sorry to get so hung-up on a phrase, but y’know when a term just starts to irritate you? I had to get it off my chest because I know I’m being a hypocrite by using it…
Also, I really dislike the phrase ‘lean in’… just putting that out there too!
ANYWAY, the word ‘indulge’ is a rich and beautiful word and I will happily use it to describe what I like to do during my time of the month. I read Claire Baker’s ‘Adore Your Cycle’ ebook a few years ago and ever since, I’ve learned to respect my body and my mind at this time. Nowadays, I don’t think of my period as an annoyance, I think of it as an opportunity to relax a bit and take some time for myself.
Below are a few of my favourite ways to treat myself:
Raw cacao bars
We all know that insatiable chocolate craving when you’re on your period. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need iron! But obviously if you pump yourself full of Dairy Milk (which is mostly sugar & dairy, with very little actual cacao – the ingredient that contains iron), your craving will never be satisfied.
This is why it’s a great idea to stock up on Raw Cacao bars (I love these ones from the Raw Chocolate Pie company – made in Cornwall and 100% natural!) or at least the purest dark chocolate/cacao products you can find! Not only will this sort your cravings out, it’ll actually help alleviate PMS too.
Massage with oils
I don’t know about you, but I suffer from cramps solely in my lower back – it’s usually paired with a bit of a bloated stomach but in general it’s mainly pain in my back. Therefore, having a gentle massage focused around that area is absolute bliss for making me relax and ease any tension there.
If you don’t have a kind & generous other half who’ll be willing to chill you out with some lovely massage oils (I love this Bloomtown one!), then consider treating yourself to a professional massage experience!
It doesn’t have to be a ridiculously expensive one from a hotel or spa – often they charge a lot because of their overheads and expensive fancy brand products. There are plenty of freelance massage therapists or small salon businesses that could either come to your home or offer you a relaxing experience for half the price of a spa.
Zen Yoga or Pilates
I’ve tried Zen Yoga (a form of slow yoga where you spend a long time easing into each position to give the best, relaxing stretch) before and really enjoyed it, but last week while I was on my period, I booked myself into a Pilates class at my gym and found it to be so good for my cramps and general mood!
Pilates is about stretching but also improving strength and core as well. In my class, the lights were dimmed and there was relaxing music playing as well, and we moved into each position slowly and intentionally. The stretching felt so good on my cramps, and the fact that I was out and doing some exercise when I wouldn’t normally feel up to it made those endorphins kick in and made me feel good too!
A long bath soak
I never used to be a ‘bath person’, but now that we have our beautiful new bathroom, I can’t help but find myself enjoying them more and more each time. Having a hot soak with some bubbles is fantastic for period cramps, and does wonders to chill out a hormonal mind.
I’m kind of obsessed with this awesome bamboo bath caddy* right now – I got it from Amazon and it has a cup holder, a place to prop up your tablet or kindle, AND even has a wine glass holder that has a slot to keep it in place so you can’t accidentally knock it. THIS is how to seriously up-level your bath-times…
I’ve also just purchased a bath pillow* too for extra comfort… I wonder if I’ll ever be able to leave it now?
When it comes to working from home, I try to make an effort with my outfit each day so that I feel more ‘on it’ and professional, and it (hopefully!) transpires through my work. I also usually leave the house at least once or twice a day to walk the dogs etc. so usually sitting around in PJs or loungewear isn’t an option.
However if I’m feel particularly groggy or crampy on my period, being able to chill out around the house in my comfies is definitely a luxury that I’m grateful for as a freelancer! Of course, it’s always nice to treat yourself to a PJ day at the weekend too if you work full time.
Girls movie night
So a couple of weeks ago, A Star is Born came out on DVD, and I was so excited to make Alex watch it (yes Alex is always included in girls’ night!). My friends Niki, Frankie & Liv came around (+ Niki’s boyfriend, James) and we all curled up with popcorn to watch the movie.
I’m not normally one for romance flicks or weepy movies, but I fell in love with A Star is Born when Olivia and I watched it at the cinema in Switzerland last year. Surrounding yourself with friends and indulging in a gripping, emotional movie with plenty of snacks may not be everyone’s fave way of spending their time of the month, but for me it was great!
Books over Screens
I know I talked about having a tablet in the bath or watching movies, but what I really mean is time away from your phone. When I’m on my period, I’m way more prone to ‘brain fog’, and I’m much more sensitive to time spent staring at a screen all day.
Therefore I try to switch out time on my phone to time reading books as much as possible; even better if they are beautifully designed ones like Sara Tasker’s new ‘Hashtag Authentic’ book*!
How do you like to indulge at this time of the month?
*Indicates an affiliate link