Period Pals

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Some of us have a really easy time with periods, where as some slip close to the seventh circle of hell every cycle. Whichever one you most identify with, hopefully these tips will make it somewhat easier to handle.

I tend to get one giant mountain sprout on my face when i'm about to get my period as a friendly reminder of whats to come. Sometimes it never even comes to a head and just stays as an angry, sore, hot lump under the skin. Others will get clusters of breakouts and some of us might not get any, regardless of how your skin reacts, some of these tips can even help past the obvious skin issues.

Uma Deeply Clarifying Facial Oil - It didn't take me long to realize there was a hint of magic in Uma products and this one especially so.
I found myself complaining to Uma's founder, Shrankhla, that my skin was suffering hormonally and from travel stress so she recommended trying her Clarifying Oil. After the first use overnight, i found my existing breakouts to appear a lot less inflamed and angry and after a couple of weeks of nightly use, i found my skin to be clear and balanced once again.

Because of the arena i've found myself in, i'm often trying new products but the Deeply Clarifying Oil is one i find myself reaching for every time my period is approaching and use it until it stops. Due to this, i've found myself without that tell-tale breakout altogether some months as well as finding that i just overall felt less sluggish and overwhelmed with that hormonal funk.

Leahlani Kokoleka Mask - Even if you don't have breakouts, sometimes a nice pampering face mask can make you feel better regardless, the Kokoleka Mask is a really lovely self care ritual to add into your routine, you can see how i use mine here. Theres something about this ritual that is so calming to me and lets be honest... the chocolatey scent doesn't hurt either.

Sit On Your Hands - I get it, its very tempting to try and squeeze those breakouts no matter how well you know its a bad idea. I find theres something about my state of mind during my period that makes me even more anxious to pick at my flaws even though i know it'll be even more painful than it otherwise would (a drop in estrogen at the start of your flow can cause more sensitivity).

So even though i'm guilty of it myself, i figured i should still mention that you really should try and avoid it. Icing the area will help reduce swelling and redness where as applying heat might help bring it to a head. I also like to treat breakouts with a little tea tree oil applied precisely to the "peak" of the mountain.

Clearly there is a lot going on inside your body during this time, and even days prior. How, exactly it affects us can vary greatly so its important to do what feels right for you. I know some people LOVE to exercise during their period and others can't physically bring themselves to unfurl their aching bodies from the fetal position without intense pain. Whichever position you find yourself in, hopefully some of these might help.

Sarah Beth Yoga For Women Playlist - I adore Sarah Beth's videos any time of the month but there is something immensely calming and restorative about this playlist for me. When talking to her about this, she even had some pointers to add for you guys,

"I think it's most important that women listen to their bodes and take it easy on the days when they need it most. 

Some women have very heavy (or energy draining) flows and a harder time mentally shifting their practice. 
That would be a great time to sub in the PMS/Cramps/Menstruation videos for their typical practice and learn that 
it's okay to slow down for a couple of days. Think of it like a monthly retreat ;)

Our minds are brilliant but tricky, and around "that time of the month" PMS can play a big role in our self-appreciation. 
This is another reason why it's so important to listen to & observe our bodies and minds. To understand that we are not 
our thoughts, that we can observe our thoughts and learn from them without actually being consumed by them. This is 
the kind of advice I received from my mom when I was PMSing badly one month, it was so profound that I blended 
the advice into my Yoga for PMS video. I only wished I had received it sooner!"

Step Outside - I find it very easy to want to curl up and hide during this time even though i don't have as extreme pain as many do. I find it especially helpful to just get up and walk. The combination of changing my surroundings, the fresh air and just getting my body moving really helps to distract me from the funk.

Hot Water Bottle - I rarely have cramping any more (although i do still have the intense ache from what i can only guess is a burrowing rodent) but when i do, a hot water bottle is always what i reach for. Although heat does have therapeutic properties for cramping and pain, sometimes i think just the association with all things comforting and cosy also helps. The one i linked to is my favorite because its the perfect shape to shove down my sweatpants for comfy warmth.

Hydrate - This is important month-round but i find i need it especially during my period and i think thats partly because the funk that ensues sometimes stops me from taking care of myself as well as i ordinarily would. Water is the obvious solution but i also like to add in cranberry juice and teas of various kinds too (some of my current favorite teas can be found here).

Track Your Period - Not only is this good for the physical reasons of knowing when to expect your period but i also think it helps your mind when you start to get PMS symptoms by showing you that its probably the cause. There are LOADS of apps out there or you can even track it on a calendar but i find the app Eve (linked) is especially awesome for not only tracking your period but for overall sexual health too.

Zeal - Mentioned in both my January and February Favorites, along with in this smoothie post; i attribute my distinct lack of cramps over the last few months to this stuff! I started taking this wellness drink for a boost in vitamins and minerals as well as for the energizing properties and soon realized i was no longer getting my "warning cramps", as i fondly call them, prior to my period. After some research online i discovered several women had found the same so i'm sticking to it now, for sure! I just mix the berry flavor with a little soy milk and drink it in the mornings or afternoons, whenever i'm craving it most.

Wine About It - My personal favorite is a nice glass of red wine. I've mentioned this on snapchat before as one of my many theories in life but i swear by a glass of red the evening of your first day. Clearly this isn't suitable for anyone under their own country's drinking age or anyone who abstains from alcohol but if you do like to drink wine, this guy explains it.

As Sarah Beth mentioned in her advice, our minds can be especially tricky during this time. I think whatever makes you feel a little lighter and less glum is exactly what you should do. Here are some of my favorites.

Uma Wellness Oils - I'd never really been that interested in aromatherapy or anything similar until i tried these oils. I find the Calm and Bliss oils are both incredibly relaxing, especially during my period. Theres a multitude of ways to use them, from the pressure points massage they recommend to a few drops in your bath, a drop on your pillow or even just inhaling deeply from your palms.

Uma's founder, Shrankhla also had some tips to add for those interested in some Ayurveda,

"For cramps, fresh aloe vera with black pepper is helpful for pain and can be eaten 2-3 times a 
day and for bloating, add potassium to your diet. Cilantro tea and barley water (barley boiled 
in water, then strained) can be helpful in getting rid of the bloat.

For mood, rose, geranium and jasmine can be powerful aids, rose and geranium are 
particularly good at helping manage hormone related mood swings and jasmine can soothe 
frayed nerves. 

For acne, an effective overnight treatment is to try rubbing melon on the skin at bedtime to cool 
and heal blemish-prone skin or for a healing mask, mix about 1 teaspoon of chickpea flour 
(option to add a pinch of turmeric) with water until a paste forms, then spread over the skin 
for 10 minutes before rinsing. 
Give this relaxing facial exercise a try: rub your (clean) hands together until warm and place 
them on your face for about 15 to 30 seconds. This will boost circulation and help your facial 
skin naturally detox.

Throw some essential oils into the mix by massaging into the distended area, or inhaling to 
relieve nausea. Aside from peppermint and ginger essential oils to improve gastric mobility 
and relieve indigestion and pain, try chamomile oil for a soothing effect. Clove oil can also 
relax the muscles of the digestive tract and prevent intestinal spasms. All essential oils should 
be safely diluted before application to the skin (1 part essential oil - 5/6 part carrier oil like 
almond, grape seed or jojoba).

Overall, Ayurveda recommends adding more iron and turmeric to diets especially for women 
that experience pain/mood swings during periods. "

Treat Yourself - Pick one (or more) enjoyable treat that you only indulge in during your period and don't let yourself feel guilty about it, you deserve it! Whether its a fancy face mask, a specific bubble bath/ bath bomb, your favorite chocolate, a massage, a glossy magazine... whatever it is, make it something you truly enjoy and will (gasp) maybe even look forward to. Granted, i think you should treat yourself ALWAYS but i like to pick specific things for this time of the month to help perk me up a little.

I hope some of these will be in some way helpful to you, you might've noticed i haven't mentioned any tampons/cups/pads etc but thats because i'm still experimenting a little so i'll be sure to follow up with that if any of you are interested.

In the mean time, please do leave your own favorites below and lets chat about it!


currently there's 6 comments, would you like to add YOUR THOUGHTS?

  1. Great post, Rhian!

    I use to have a long (8+ days) and heavy period. That has been cut in half, or less, since I transitioned to a plant based diet, thankfully. Comforting things are still a must, during this time of the month.
    A few things that help me:

    1. Healthy Cycle tea from traditional medicinals
    There is also PMS tea

    2. Dark chocolate bar (70% dark chocolate or more)

    3. Cacao banana smoothies!
    This is a delicious way to get potassium in the body. Sometimes I add cinnamon and/protein.

    4. Gallons of water and some coconut water.

    5. Extra rest! It can range from a cat nap to an extra couple hours.

    6. Cuddles and warmth.
    It can be with my wife, a fuzzy blanket, my dog friend, or a stuffed animal. A combination of these is sometimes needed.

    7. If it's warm enough, I will take a nap outside and sunbathe.

    Thank you for the tips!
    I'm excited to try new things!

    Have a great night!


    1. Woof, 8 days!! You poor thing!

      Great recommendations, totally agree on the chocolate and snuggles!


  2. I get terrible cramps when it's that time of the month some months far worse than others.
    Zeal sounds amazing and I'd love to try it but I'm in the UK.
    Do you know if it's something I can get over here?
    I had a look on the website but was a bit confused by it.

    1. I believe so...
      Click "Shop Now" then just change the country and click "new retail customer".

  3. Thanks for the advice! What you do always seems to come from a place of compassion and I've got to thank you for freely sharing your wisdom and impeccable taste with all of us.

    Now, a few things that have helped me a great deal with the monthly:

    Tracking your cycle (including symptoms, etc.) is a good way to stay prepared and make sure all the gears are turning regularly down there. The Clue app is really helpful way to do this, and has a clean, simplistic interface!

    Raspberry leaf tea is also known to tone the uterus and regulate periods; it's often used as the main component in those PMS or fertility teas if one may not enjoy the taste of those blends.

    Also, for women like me who get sore titties during PMS - breast massages, taking omega-3s daily, and avoiding caffeine have helped me a great deal.

    Much love x

    1. Thank you for the sweet words!

      Love that the app is called Clue haha, i'll have to check that one out!

      I've never actually tried raspberry leaf tea but i'll try and grab some the next time i see it.