My period arrived yesterday. I was out viewing apartments — or flats, as we call them here — and could feel the energy draining from my body. Putting one foot in front of the other felt exhausting. But I took comfort in the fact that I had everything I needed ready for me when I got home to allow me to rest and relax.
In this column, I want to share some of the preparations I make to enable me to have a more comfortable period. I hope my tips will help you to focus on feeling better rather than merely getting through the day.
Plan your meals
Figuring out what to eat often throws me during my period. I find that many foods aggravate my stomach and heighten my pain on days one and two. I’m limited in the foods that I can eat and don’t have the energy for cooking or deliberating over meals.
In the week or so before your period, I advise stocking up on foods that are nourishing for your body and soul. Foods that are rich in minerals such as magnesium and iron will help your body to replenish itself. You will also want to have some foods that you crave when your period comes around.
If you can, prepare and freeze meals, or make sauces that you can use as a base to whip up a quick dinner. Make some endo-friendly treats to satisfy those cravings for sugar — which can increase your pain.
Make a ‘feel-good’ list
My boyfriend and I rarely agree on a TV show or film, so we end up watching something middle of the road. We’re indecisive people and often lose two hours on a Friday night saying to each other, “I don’t mind. What do you want to watch?”
This doesn’t work when I’m on my period. The last thing I want to do when I’m exhausted and in need of comfort is to deal with more decision fatigue — figuring out what to eat is hard enough.
So, I make a list of films, books, and activities for when I’m not feeling up to much. I make sure that my choices are feel-good, comforting, or indulgent in some way. Whatever helps you to rest and relax, have it on standby for when you need it.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve spent doubled up in pain and worried about how a friend or colleague will react when I cancel or reschedule plans. Stress puts our body into fight-or-flight mode, resulting in higher levels of inflammation and leading to increased pain.
Taking time to recharge and reduce anxiety will make your period easier to cope with. Schedule any energy-draining plans for the following week. If you have social invites that can’t be moved, try not to commit yourself 100 percent. If you can be honest with that person, let them know why you need flexibility. If not, tell them something that you’re comfortable with.
Ask for support
Many of us struggle with asking for help and support, but reaching out when you need to can make life easier for you, and everyone else. If you have support, the chances are you’ll have more energy to engage with your loved ones. Ask yourself what resources you have. If you’re a mum, is there another parent who can help out with the school run? If you’re a boss, can you delegate some tasks to your team?
Keep a toolkit handy
We all have experienced coming on our period without having any period wear at hand. Living with endometriosis is anxiety-inducing enough without being stuck on a long commute worrying about leaking through your trousers. Always be prepared, not just for leaks, but for pain, too. I have a toolkit in my drawer, and when I’m due, I carry it around with me to eliminate the risk of being stuck in pain somewhere without anything to help me.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.