a desktop with a calendar showing the start of a woman's period

Planning Your Work Around Your Period

Dreading your period... Who doesn’t dread their period? Well, there are probably women out there who are lucky enough to have easy, pain-free periods, but for us with endometriosis, our periods are not a time for joy (or even indifference). All we want to do is curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and wait for the pain to pass.

That’s not easy to do when you have a full-time job. I know my boss wouldn’t be happy if I told her that I needed to stay at home because of my period. Work still needs to be done and I don’t have 12 sick days in a year I can take for the first day of each period.

Warning signs

So what can you do? Luckily, our bodies do give us some warning about when to expect our period. My periods were never regular, which isn’t uncommon when you have endometriosis. But I could tell by the state of my breasts and my mood whenever my period was close. You may have different indicators that your period is on its way. If you’re not sure, keep a diary of how you feel each day around the time you expect your period and see if you spot a trend over the next couple of months.

Plan ahead

Once you know what to look out for, you can plan ahead for your period. I have an office job with tight deadlines, so my advice is mostly geared towards that type of work. Your way of planning around your period may be different depending on your job. If you have some autonomy in your workload, try to plan it so that you can do the more mundane tasks during your period. Things such as filing papers, organizing folders and other tasks that don’t demand too much of your brainpower are perfect for when you’re in pain or dulled by painkillers.

If you have a deadline coming up during your period, try to prepare most of the work for that deadline in advance. That’s not always possible, but you can generally make sure that you don’t have to do the bulk of the work on one day, so try to plan that around your period.

Communicate with your colleagues and manager. You don’t have to announce to the whole department that you have your period, but you could let them know that today is a bad pain day and you need a bit more time to perform all your tasks. I would recommend telling your boss or manager about your endometriosis so they understand why your period affects you more than other women.

Be kind to yourself

Above all, be kind to yourself. You’re not a robot. Sometimes work will just have to take a bit of a backseat while you deal with your period. It doesn’t matter that other women are able to work through their periods as if nothing’s happening, but they don’t have endometriosis. It’s fine to have an off-day, but with a bit of planning, you can minimize the effect your period will have on your work.

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