It’s almost that time of the month: Hell week...and a half. You know how it starts the week prior: the insomnia, bloating, the emotional rampages and outbursts, the intense level of stress, OMG don’t forget the intense sugar and food cravings. And when your period actually comes, oh LAWD. Having the sweats while freezing, diarrhea , cramps so bad it makes your toes curl or you throw up and MORE. Let’s just say we literally die and are born again EVERY month. But why is it like this? Does it have to be like this? NOT AT ALL! Let’s talk about it!
A woman’s menstrual cycle is basically a balance of hormones working together to prepare your womb for pregnancy. But when it sees that it ain’t going down like that, it packs up shop, sheds your uterine lining and prepares for the next go 'round. Yea, I kind of oversimplified it but you get the picture. The key to this story is having a balance of hormones. Many things can throw that balance off and trigger symptoms of pain or discomfort. Though cramps are a common experience, it is actually not normal to have cramps and symptoms like I just described. You shouldn’t be the walking dead every month. Come come, my girl. Let me tell you how to put an end to this madness.
I must make sure ya’ll know that I AM NOT A DOCTOR nor do I claim to be one or a shaman or anything. I just know what worked for me and would like to share the knowledge. Feel free to try some of my methods but understand that I am not responsible for any decisions you make nor the consequences of those decisions. (Chile, I sound like I’m about to cast a sneaky spell with potions. But no seriously). PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR before trying anything I share.
HOW I GOT RID OF CRAMPS
When dealing with my cycle, I break it down to three categories: mental, physical and spiritual health.
How does my mental health tie into cramps?
What could I do to improve my mental health?
Physically, we all know the consequences of demolishing an entire cake in 10 minutes. What am I intaking that triggers physical and mental symptoms?
Spiritual health: How much do I gotta pray to sweet Jesus before I finally some relief? Just kidding. How do I find balance between myself and everything going on outside of me. Am I at peace?
Sleep- this is probably the hardest thing to come by these days. I get it, you have class, work, this meeting, that networking event, so and so needs help, etc. I really get it. But you won’t be as helpful or productive in any of these areas if cramps take over. Try to prioritize 8-10 hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep the week before your period. I promise this is what your body is craving as it prepares to pack up the place!
Hydration- No! juice, alcohol, and dairy won’t cut it. You need good ol fashion, high quality H20. Water is what lubricates and cleanses all your organs to ensure a smooth pass of toxins and the lining. Your body gets exhausted during this process and sucks up every ounce of moisture in your body to make it happen. Bloated? That’s because your body is holding onto every ounce of water it can to make this process as simple as possible. Aim to consume at least 50% of your body weight in fluid ounces. If you’re 150, then you should drink at least 75 oz— that’s 4 ½ 16.9oz water bottles. You can do that! One in the morning, one and some at lunch, one or more when you workout or at dinner, one before bed. Trust me!! You’ll see the difference.
Vitamins/diet- During your period, your body needs iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and carbs. If possible, get these through foods. Consult with your doctor first. Iron- we lose a lot of iron during our period which is why we can be so tired. Replenish with leafy greens. Magnesium, calcium and zinc all help with regulating PMS symptoms from irritability, fatigue, depression and more. Eat foods like broccoli, spinach, beans, tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds. As far as that sugar craving? CARBS. Carbs aren’t bad! You just have to be more strategic in how and when you consume them. When you get that sugar craving, reach for some oatmeal with blueberries, sweet potatoes, or whole grain toast with bananas, peanut butter and honey drizzled on top (OOOO I’m salivating). Heck, make a dish that combines the vitamins like a nice Cajun pasta with bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes (Coming soon to a meal prep near you!)
Exercise- No one wants to work out before or during your period. I DON’T ever want too because I’m already exhausted! However, physical activity will help you clear your mind and release stress,improve your sleep, help you hydrate, give you a burst of energy and unlock tight muscles. If you can’t stomach a full workout, go for some gentle period specific yoga or deep stretching. It makes all the difference.
Extra tip: Bloating, inflammation and that numb but throbbing period pains are the worst. Get ahead of them by brewing a ginger root, turmeric and cinnamon tea and sip this at least 2x a day 3 days before the start of your period. TRUSTME!!
Mental and Spiritual
Energy Clearing- Pinpoint the things that bring negative energy in your life. What's irritating you and why? How can it become less entertaining? How can you make it more positive if you can't remove it? SMUDGE IT HONEY!! SMUDGE!!
Stress management- Sis, I saw your schedule! You’re one activity short of losing your mind. And because of that, you reach for everything that will make your period hell. Try to slow down and relax your mind and body at least 3 days before the start of your period. It’ll help you sleep and eat better and keep you centered and in control like the boss you are! Do some yoga, journal more often, take a nice bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. Maybe even walk the neighborhood! The options are limitless. Just find something positive that helps you calm down and puts you in a peaceful state.
Touch Therapy- Sometimes, all a sista needs is some good lovin'. Now take that how you want! That could be a hug from friends or family, play time with your babies or your pets. Shoo that could mean cuddling with bae or riding that pony until the red moon comes! That's ok! DO YOU BOO! Get all the loving' you need during this time to keep your emotions and spiritual health in check! Periodt!
Got any other hacks for winning the war against period pain? Let us know the secrets sis! We are all out here together!!
Are you in DC? Want to put an end to Endometriosis and raise awareness!?Join me for the 6th Annual Worldwide Endometriosis March (EndoMarch), hosted by Howard University, the Nezhat Family Foundation & EndoMarch HQ. Sign up here and don’t forget to wear your Gutted Gear!
-Ya fee me!?