Ok, so I know some people don’t like to talk about this topic because let’s face it, it can get gross. But I promise this wont get graphic! I’m not here to talk to you about your nether regions, just to give some advice on how to feel pretty when they are forcing your body to stage a revolt.
It’s a part of life, once a month you spend an entire week riding the crimson wave, and if you ask me 1/4 of your life is far too much to spend feeling gross and bloated. So here is my advice on how to feel better…
First issue CRAMPS…
Oh god they suck, and the obvious answer is take some aspirin or tylenol or whatever. But some people don’t like taking pills, and even if you DO take something, there’s that awful stretch of time while you’re still waiting for it to kick in.
My advice is to do some light exercise, I know that’s not what you want to hear. You want to hear “curl up in a ball and sob until it’s over” which to be honest is also an option, but it just may not be your best one.
Now I’m not suggesting you go out and run a marathon or squat 300 lbs. but just do something to get moving like a brisk walk, 20 minutes on the exercise bike or the elliptical, that sort of thing.
The endorphins that are released during exercise help to dull the pain of the cramps, and make you feel better in general. Not to mention it distracts you from wallowing in your pit of despair and misery. So often we make our own suffering worse just by focusing on it too much.
I also find that it helps me feel less like a beached whale than I usually do during this time of the month. But we’ll get to that part later.
And to reward yourself for being SUCH a trooper try taking a nice hot shower. Nothing feels better on a crampy belly than some hot water. Sometimes I even like to lay in the tub and let the hot shower just fall on my stomach for a while. Maybe that sounds strange, but it REALLY helps. Don’t judge me! Just try it and see for yourself.
Ok now let’s address another issue. When you’re in this state you may feel the need to go into the kitchen and rampage through the fridge and cupboards like a bear at a camp site, but resist!
Take a moment to think and figure out the thing you’re really craving, and allow yourself to indulge in that one thing. Don’t let the panic take over because you will feel SO MUCH GROSSER if you eat everything in the kitchen. There’s nothing beautiful about feeling guilty on top of bloated, crampy and cranky.
If you need to eat some chocolate cake or some salty chips (or knock out the sweet and salty craving in one punch with chocolate covered pretzels ayyoo!) go for it. Just don’t eat your weight in junk food.
You might be thinking “Who cares? I’m so bloated anyway! Might as well stuff my face.” I understand that line of reasoning, but overeating leads to sluggishness and discomfort which will lead you back down the path of wallowing in misery and self pity, which we’ve been trying to hard so avoid! Plus, there are things you can do to help the bloating!
There are a ton of things on the market to help you lose the bloat, but I personally I prefer to just go with some dandelion root tea. It’s nice and soothing to drink a hot cup of tea anyway, and dandelion root is a very good diuretic. Which in short means that it makes you tinkle a lot and get rid of any excess water you are retaining.
It doesn’t taste like regular tea, but it doesn’t taste bad at all! It’s a little nutty and plain but good. The best way to describe it is that it’s good in the way plain oatmeal or cream of wheat is good.
You can also make it into an iced tea, and even mix it with other teas that you like the taste of. Bottom line is, it does a very good job at reducing water retention, and will help you feel less like a blown up balloon.
I’m sure you can find it at some health food stores, but I find it easiest to buy mine in these three packs on Amazon. That way I have it around without worrying about buying more for a few months.
Next on the agenda…PIMPLES
Not everyone breaks out this time of the month, but if you do, it can really compound how gross you feel. The issue that I run into when I get period pimples is that I tend to get into a bit of a fit about them, and I over-do it a little.
I want to attack them with everything I’ve got. Scrubs! Creams! Cleansers! And then I end up irritating my skin further, and making it worse.
The best thing to do is keep the skin really clean, but be very gentle too. Don’t scrub too hard, or use really harsh acne products.
Everyone has different skin, but what works for me is using my regular cleanser on my Clarisonic as I usually do, and then gently washing again with the same cleanser and a soft cloth.
Extra attention to cleansing usually keeps the pimples at bay for me, but if they do crop up I like to use a spot treatment, to treat JUST the area that’s broken out.
An old favorite, that I recently re-discovered is the Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick. It’s actually a roll on fluid, not a stick so a strange naming choice on the part of Mr. Bees, but I find this to be really effective and not over drying. I also like the way it smells!
Now that we’ve addressed the major issues, let’s move on to something more fun! Treat yourself to a little pampering…
This month my little bit of pampering was the Boscia Bright White Peel Off Mask. I had it on hand, and I enjoy how nourishing and hydrating it is (and how funny it makes me look lol!) so I gave it a whirl.
Your little bit of pampering can be anything though. Like going to get a pedicure, or just taking a few minutes to paint your nails a fun color. Anything that lets you take a few minutes to feel extra pretty.
Once you’ve done all of the above, you might feel good enough to leave the comfort and protection of your own home, but good god now you actually have to put on clothes?!
It might be tempting to pick up last nights pajamas off the floor and roll out of the house like that, but I have a theory, hear me out…
My theory is if you LOOK like you have your act together, you’ll trick yourself into FEELING like you’ve got your act together. It works for me!
But looking like you’ve got it together doesn’t mean you can’t be secretly comfy! I like to choose my clothing strategically
The Pants: Word to the wise, stay the hell away from jeans this time of the month. They will only bring you discomfort and self loathing.
Sleek black pants scream “Look how freakin’ classic and chic I am!” But nowadays you can get a pair that are so comfy they might as well be PJs. A big shout out to the person who invented Spandex and Lycra! My go to are the famous J. Crew Pixie Pants but there are many types to choose from.
The Shirt: Two words Comfy + Flowy. Like with the pants you want to look nice, but not restricted. And the long loose design helps hide the belly in case you do gave into that urge to eat everything you see (it’s ok, no judgements)
I have this blue Alternative Apparel top that I LOVE, but they stopped making it 🙁 Fortunately Alternative Apparel has a ton of similar items that are really nice quality. You can also find things like this basically anywhere to suit your needs (think Urban Outfitters, H&M Etc.)
Something Cuddly: If it’s not too warm out I like to include something cozy and cuddly like a soft eternity scarf. It just makes me feel better and helps get me out of my ugly funk.
The Shoes: I like the shoes to be comfortable, but with an edge. The Steve Madden Troopa Boots pictured above are basically my favorite shoes of all time. They are comfortable enough to walk in all day, but they look kinda bad ass at the same too. Perfect for convincing yourself to pull yourself together and tough it out!
This little system works really well for me. It helps me feel a lot more beautiful (or at LEAST close to normal) when my “lady times” threaten to throw me into that downward spiral.
Hope this helps some of you!
Let me know in the comments if you have any tricks that help you fight off the effects of Aunt Flow.