Bloody Hell!


Please take a moment to imagine Your Favourite Blogger (aka me, obvs!), writing this post while lying in bed with a hot water bottle on her stomach, and, next to her, a bag of Riesens chocolates and a cat-shaped mug of Lebanese red wine, with Francis Cabrel songs playing in the background.

The reality is a little less caricatural: I'm writing this post at Le Pain Quotidien, sipping Earl Grey and enjoying their delicious dark chocolate brownie, and I'm listening to piano music mixing with the chatter of a French couple at the table next to me, and all four generations of a Persian family a little farther away.

Now that I've given you a behind-the-scenes image, the topic of the day is, you've maybe guessed it, our periods, and how we deal with them.

While we modern, liberated women, refuse to be shamed anymore for expressing ourselves on something perfectly natural, let's start by admitting one thing. That we all wondered at one point how it would feel to be a man and not have to deal with such an exhausting ordeal on a regular basis.

(Being a man would mean having to shave our face every day, instead of shaving our legs only when we plan to show them, let's admit it - and deal with cuts and ingrown hair, the horror; and spending our entire existence with the devastation that we will never experiment the one, the only, the mystified and infinitely superior female orgasm. Men have it really hard, when you think about it.)

I personally dealt with difficult periods for the first few years, but in the twelve years since I've had them, aside from a few cycles with very extreme PMS*, my period have become about 1-2 days shorter, with just one day of heaviness, and they are much less heavy overall. Today there are times where my period is virtually a breeze, and there are others where my skin breaks out, I am in a horrible mood and very exhausted, and I suffer from cramps and bloating.

(One thing is constant, however: I always crave red meat before and during my period. In fact my closest friends will remember my panicked text messages after a highly disturbing dream I made involving a cute, fuzzy black kitten, an oven, and a juicy piece of medium-rare rib-eye steak. I won't say more, I'm still too mortified that my subconscious mind could even imagine such a thing!)

Since every menstrual cycle is different, I like to keep myself prepared. Here are the few ways I make my life easier during my period, so I dread them much less:

- I always keep tampons and pads in a make-up bag in my purse, along with spare panties, personal wipesdark chocolate (that I try not to eat the rest of the time!) and a high-coverage powder foundation. My cycle can be unpredictable, so I like to always be prepared.

- I drink lots of tea, hot and also iced (which is great because I can drink it all day in my glass water bottle). In order to help minimize my skin's hormonal breakouts, I recently began drinking Herbal Skin Detox tea by Yogi Tea, (Here is a caffeine free alternative; and in general roiboos, which contains no caffeine, is great for the skin!)

- I've been using for several years now the M. Calendar. It helps me track my cycle, forecast my ovulation and next period, and also add notes, such as heaviness, pain, mood, etc. I get to have all this info on my phone (rather than on a notebook that I will inevitably lose), which is very practical for doctor appointments!

- Bathing during my periods, for me, is not an option (my name isn't Elizabeth Bathory). However, having lived several times without a bathtub, I can attest that it is very possible to make showers as relaxing and soothing. I like taking long showers*, as the heat soothes my sore muscles.
(By the way, please get a detachable shower head! I don't know how people can shower without one!)

- Exercise helps. Okay, I'll admit that when I was in high school I used my periods as an excuse to skip gym class. But as I've been going to the gym every morning lately, exercising during my period seems natural* and helps me feel energised and less cramped.

- Finally, for those who are into New Age and alternative medicine, there are healing crystals, which I carry with me and sometimes hold against my body or in my hands: carnelian and moonstone to regulate the flow and cycle, and rose quartz and amethyst for pain and stabilising emotions. I've also been advised to try root and sacral chakra meditations, and while I'm not quite good at meditating, I listen to this while falling asleep, and it's calming and grounding. 


Wait. A. Second.

I've just realised, I always get my period on or around the full moon: is this the ultimate proof that I'm a witch?!

I'll sleep on that, and in the meanwhile, do let me know in the comments below your best period survival tips!


*The proper term is PMDD, and you can read more about it here.

**I know, I know, but it's the same Mother Nature who has decided all women shall go through this living hell each month, so she may just stop whining.

***On a relatively similar note, I watched a while ago the full video of a class at the Royal Ballet on Youtube, and one of the dancers was pregnant; I remember the commenters saying that after many years, it has become extremely natural for her body to repeat these moves that she can do them safely while pregnant!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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