Creating a Feel-Good Period Routine
Last updated: May 2023
I’m going to say something that I know might be a sensitive topic for some: I look forward to having my periods.
My period used to cause me anxiety all month long. As soon as one was over, I was fearing the next.
The pain, fatigue, and gut problems that would accompany my period would make work and general life feel unbearable.
Several years later, as a qualified endometriosis health coach, I understand my body and what works for me in terms of endo management, so much so that my pain is low to non-existent when my period does arrive.
Revitalizing period routines for rest and self-care
This has, of course, changed how I feel about my period, but it’s not just the lack of symptoms that have made a difference. I have created a period routine that has allowed me to see my period as an opportunity for rest and self-care, both two things I can struggle with as a (regrettable) workaholic.
My routines and practices are suited to my needs and my body, but here are some you might want to consider.
Booking rest days
I work for myself, which can make period ‘rest days’ easier to arrange.
However, if you are employed, depending on the country you live in, you should be entitled to what’s known as ‘reasonable adjustments.’
This could include working from home on days one and two of your period, working fewer hours, starting late or finishing early, or in some cases, even being able to take those days off entirely.
It’ll, of course, vary from job to job, but as someone with a chronic condition, you do have the right to request support from your workplace, and it’s worth having a discussion or perhaps doing some research into what kind of adjustments could be made.
I love food, but some foods can cause a pain flare for me, especially around my period.
Foods like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and refined carbs can cause inflammation and blood sugar spikes, but these are the typical comfort foods we often reach for during menstruation!
Over the years developed meals and snacks that work better for me but are still treats. I have my own sugar-free and dairy-free ice cream recipe that my partner will make for me whilst I rest.
I also have my own sugar-free chocolate recipe, and I find that I do better on higher fat and protein meals on days one and two as well.
Of course, I don’t like to be in the kitchen much on my period (at least on day one, anyway), so I try to plan ahead and make sure I have things ready to go or that my partner can prepare meals and snacks for me.
Whatever your tastes and body’s needs, see if you can find some go-to foods that are both comforting and nourishing for your body. Suppose you can try to take the pressure off yourself on your hardest days by asking someone else to cook or make freezer meals in advance.
Initially, my period rituals were designed to help alleviate pain. Still, now I continue them as a way to relax and allow my body to recharge during a time when energy and hormones are at their lowest.
My routines include a magnesium-rich bath (or foot bath if I don’t have access to a bath), feel-good films in bed, and gentle movement. Still, typically, my number one ritual on day one of my period is literally to do as little as possible.
I give myself full permission to stay in bed all day if I want to. Of course, nowadays, I don’t need to stay in bed, and I admit that allows it to feel more of a luxury than a necessity due to being debilitated by endo, so I appreciate that for some, being in bed all day may not feel restorative like it does for me.
Whether you’re forced to stay in bed all day, or you have to work or care for others, look for ways to bring some supportive and feel-good self-care practices into your period. Once you’ve found something that works for you, it can make your period a little more bearable - and maybe, one day, even enjoyable.
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