How to deal with periods?

Teenage girl sitting on stairs and taking notes

Let's face it, when it comes to puberty and your monthly period, there are lots of things you can’t predict and don't have power over. For example, you don’t know when you will get your period for the first time or on which day of the week it will arrive.

But here's some good news – there are actually a lot of things you can control. You can change how you feel during your period. You can stay energised and feel great all week long instead of feeling tired or worn out. Here are some period tips to help you deal with periods:

1. Do some light exercise

Low-impact exercises like stretching, yoga, walking or swimming help increase blood flow, which cuts eases cramps. Sitting still can make you feel worse, so it’s important to exercise and get your body moving. Even dancing alone in your room is a great way to lift your spirits and keep you moving!

2. Hug a hot water bottle

The warmth of a hot water bottle on your tummy is so soothing when cramps are making you miserable. It can soothe your muscles, easing your body’s discomfort and minimising cramps.

3. Drink water and stay hydrated

It might seem odd that you need to drink more water when you're feeling the most bloated, puffy, and full, but the more water you drink, the more easily you will eliminate the water building up in your body. Drink 8-10 250ml glasses of fluid (like water, juice, or milk) throughout the day, making sure to carry a water bottle with you if you’re out and about. This will help you stay hydrated throughout your busy day.

4. Eat healthy, fresh foods

Try eating more fresh fruit and green veg. You should work towards getting at least five portions of fruits and vegetables in per day. When you eat enough of the right foods, it can make all the difference and can also steer you away from the foods that can make your period symptoms worse (e.g., junk food, chocolate and salty foods). When the cravings hit, try snacking on carrots with hummus, apples with peanut butter, or blend up a smoothie. Another bonus is that fruit and veg contain lots of water, so you're filling up on the good stuff and staying hydrated at the same time.

5. Avoid caffeine

Caffeine also makes you retain water and can give you that achy, crampy, bloated feeling, so it's best to cut it out when you’re on your period. Did you know that caffeine isn't just found in coffee and tea? It's also in fizzy drinks and chocolate. Good substitutes are ginger ale (ginger helps to settle your tummy), (iced) herbal tea, or just plain water. If you're craving chocolate, opt for a small piece of dark chocolate instead of a big chocolate bar.

6. Catch up on your sleep

You need eight to nine hours of sleep per night, especially when you’re on your period. Getting enough sleep will help to you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

7. Take notes

Being prepared is your best defence when it comes to your period. A great period tip is to record your period each month on a tracker to chart when it starts, how long it lasts, how heavy it is on each day and which side effects you experience before, during and after. After a few months, you're likely to see a pattern and you’ll find it easier to be prepared.

8. Use period protection that lets you stay active

Finding the right pantyliners, pads and tampons that provide great protection while meeting your personal needs are an important part of feeling your best. Daily use of pantyliners keep you feeling fresh and prepared before your period, and pads offer great protection during your period – especially now that there are incredibly thin pads made to move with your body. If you’re very active, consider tampons, which are worn internally. Choose the lowest absorbency necessary for your flow and be sure to change it every 4-8 hours. Many women use a combination of products to suit their specific needs, so feel free to experiment to find out what works best for you.

So, with these period tips, your monthly period doesn’t have to hold you back from doing the activities you love. You can continue being your fun, happy and energised self now that you know how to deal with periods.