Mindful Menstruation

When I first got my period it was the summer of grade 8. My family and I were leaving a campgrounds in the middle of nowhere and I whispered to my mom, "I think I might need pads". She looks over to my dad and casually asks if we could stop to get pads like it was no big yucky deal. I was mortified. And that is my positive period story! Luckily my first period experience was a positive one, you know after the humiliation passed. Even before having my period, I knew better then to expect a celebration for reaching "womanhood" (not that getting your period defines your womanhood) or telling my dad for crying out loud! I spent the next few years following what I was subliminally taught; to not talk about it, to say that "I'm just tired" or "I'm sick" instead of saying that I'm on period, to sneak around highschool with a pad in a sleeve so no one knows what I'm up to and to think it's disgusting cause guys think it's disgusting.

Well I'm not in grade 8 anymore, and my period pains have become much more painful. I have back pain, swelling, piercing headaches, a hormonal imbalance, low appetite and just a ball of unproductive sad sad sadness that can't get out of bed. I cancel appointments, work and class. Not because I have the luxury of doing so, but because I can't focus nor sit up straight and would rather stay home instead of being sent home tbh. All this too say that periods are not disgusting, shameful or what have you. But they're soo freakin painful!!! I get sooo aggravated when someone say "ew" to periods; so concerned of how it looks, how it looks to have blood on your pants, blood on your sheets, a trashbin full of pads, tampons and tear soaked tissues. Because it's not "ew", it's "ouch". I'm not hung up on making it look pretty but literally trying to survive the feeling of having darts shot at my uterus!!!

...Out of this anger towards Mother Nature herself, immature boys and the increase of pain in my body, was birthed my Mindful Menstruation routine. This routine accepts that my period will always return in another 28 days whether I like it or not, so I might as well learn to like it! I don't want to look down on anyone's pain or struggle with their period by telling you to mindfully wish it away, but that the grass is a little greener on the positive side. An attitude of gratitude, appreciation, self-care and openness is what brings my pain level from a solid 8/10 down to a 7.5/10. Don't get me wrong, the pain is still there but there is a better understanding and connection to what I'm going through, as well as who I am.

During this year's Women's Month, I wanted to write about finding the good-ish in the bad...

  1. Feel your pain- Take the time to fully feel your pain, away from judgement or trying to ignore it. Be present in how it feels and where exactly it hurts. Rate the pain in each area in order to compare it to last month's pain level or to better appreciate the absence of that pain when your period ceases.

  2. Track your period- I simply track my period on my Apple Calendar labelling the first day of my period with a red marker under "Period", so when I search up "Period" on my calendar it brings up all my last period starting days. This is helpful to know how to plan around it and obviously this is beneficial when expecting/avoiding a child.

  3. Accept that it's coming- If you have a regular period, accept that you will be reencountering Mother Nature in a month or so, so get used to it sis! Get to a place of acceptance where you enjoy/grind on your period-free days and welcome your period openly when the time comes (because the time will come).

  1. Track your mindset- Analyze the way that you think about your period. Are you negative without even thinking about it? What words to you associate with period? Question if you would want to keep associating those words with your period for as long as you have it?

  2. Pick your new three words- Ditch the words Painful, Expensive and Unnecessary or whatever it may be, and pick three new words. For example, my period is rejuvenating, empowering and cleansing.

  3. Know your best self- It's important to know yourself and what you want and don't want while on your period; but know what your best self needs. It's proven that junk food only worsens your period symptoms, so why go through more pain then you're already in. Ditch the coffee, the alcohol, the chocolate, and consciously choose for what makes you feel the most energized.

  4. Prepare- Prepare a meal plan, prepare your room, prepare your mind. I usually know the day or a couple hours before my period arrives so I start to deep clean, do laundry, shave my legs and relax with a show or a book. Knowing myself, this is something that makes me feel more comfortable in my space before my period starts.

  5. Staying clean- Besides keeping a clean space I like to make sure things smell clean. I get pretty nauseous, so I like to keep smells light, fresh and natural (Psst diffusing and applying peppermint essential oil to aching parts really helps)!

  6. Let people know- I am very open with those that l live/work with about when I'm on my period. Just in case they need me for something or are worried about me, I like to just give some people a heads up about what's really going on. Also, I notify those around me about different symptoms that come up, so it's not a surprise when symptoms from my hormonal imbalances escalate.

  7. Take care of yourself- Having a mindful routine all day just keeps me really calm. Some days I nap all day and others I have nothing but liquids; it's about listening to your body and knowing what you can handle.

  8. Do your research- Be aware of the process your body is going through, it helps you get more in touch with your body. Knowing and understanding the four phases of the menstrual cycle indicates what you activities you should be doing. Search for what you should consume on your period, what kind of yoga you could do and know what you should avoid. You can also explore a more spiritual alley when it comes to menstrual cycles.

Ranting followed by sharing about periods, has been very delightful actually! I hope if you are going through it right now that you find good rest, a nice cup of tea and grace. I hope you find a positive mindset and maybe even someone to pay you a visit. I hope you remember to be grateful for having the hygiene products who need and having a healthy period. But most importantly I hope you're kind to yourself, patient with yourself and mindful while you menstruate.

Happy Women's Month and Happy Mindful Menstruation,