Since hitting puberty, I used to hate ‘that time of the month’, at times even dread it. Being of Indian origin, periods were not something we talked about whatsoever.
I know that periods are tough for almost every woman. They make you feel tired and lethargic, your skin breaks out, you get cramps, you bloat, your energy levels plummet, your sex life can go MIA, your mood yo-yos and your hunger levels go off the scale. I know because I used to feel that way too.
But for a couple of years now, I have come to see “that time of the month” as a sacred time, a reminder to nurture myself, listen to my inner voice. It’s a reminder that my body needs extra love & care, rest and nourishment —> practice Self-Love & Self-Care.
You see, after 40, your period cycle is likely to change no matter what.
- You may experience more severe cramps during your monthly period.
- Heavier periods are also common once women reach this age, as well as irregularities in the monthly period cycle.
- Irregular bleeding that occurs before or after the period is called intermenstrual bleeding. This is another common change that women in their 40s experience.
“Energetically, your period is like the season of winter (with pre ovulation being spring, ovulation being summer and pre menstrual being autumn). Think about how you would take care of yourself in winter. You would maybe rest more, hygge down and eat more warming nourishing foods. When you view your period in this way and go with that flow of energy, it’s going to feel so much better than if you push against it and try and do all the things.”
My top tips on how to actually enjoy that time of the month:
It’s a natural time for detox.
As women, we are exceptionally lucky to have a monthly detox built into our biology: each month, we get to through a physical shedding of the old.
During menstruation, we not only shed the lining of our uterus but often women talk about finding their bowel movements to be more frequent. While this detox happens on a physical level, it can also be thought of as a mirror to what’s happening on the emotional and spiritual level too.
It’s a great time to rest.
Our monthly cycle is a reminder to slow down. The physical weakness we may endure as we lose blood is also a voice telling us, “Take this time to slow down!”
Our period can be thought of as an obvious voice reminding us to take these few days and invite deeper relaxation and to allow a softer approach to our overbooked schedules by mindfully scheduling in more downtime.
Sensitivity can also be thought of as heightened intuition.
What many women blame as crankiness or pass off as PMs-ING can actually be thought of as a time of heightened intuition. Right before and during our period, our hormones fluctuate, which often means we tend to feel more emotionally sensitive.
Recognize that your senses are stronger and your intuition is speaking to you a little louder. Listen to it.
And since your intuition is at its peak, it’s the perfect time to journal about and visualise what you want more of in your life, and how you want to bring in your new month. Yes — your period marks your own personal new month. It’s a perfect time to reflect and sharpen the vision for creating your dream life.
It’s a great time for reflection.
Your period is the perfect time to reflect on the month that’s passed and assess what you want to let go of, and what you want to bring anew. Just as your body is physically releasing the old and preparing for the new — so should you.
Best food to eat during your periods
If there was ever a more important time to eat your greens then this is it! Foods like spinach, kale, collard greens and swiss chard are the best when you are menstruating because they are filled with iron, which gets lost when you are menstruating. You can incorporate them in salads or saute them in risottos and stir fries. The options are endless! If you don’t like the taste of them throw a handful of spinach into a berry smoothie, I promise you won’t even be able to taste it.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in relaxing your muscles and steadying your nerves. This will help to deal with cramps and crankiness. If you don’t like fish, reach for walnuts or avocados which are also full of Omega-3’s. My favourite dish to eat when I have my period is grilled salmon with a squeeze of fresh orange juice and rice sauteed with spinach and kale.
Okay, okay before you get too excited you need to read this. I am not talking about milk chocolate, or chocolate cake, or chocolate cookies. I am talking about the highest percent dark chocolate you can find! The higher the better, and this is because it won’t contain as much sugar (which is a big no no). Dark chocolate has antioxidants and it also is a source of magnesium, which reduces mood swings and helps to regulate serotonin – the happy hormone! Munching down on a few squares a week will also help to satisfy your cravings.
Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which reduces muscle tension. In addition to this, they have B & E Vitamins which help to combat fatigue and depression. My favourite thing about whole grains is that they keep you feeling fuller for longer, so if you eat them every few hours you won’t end up hungry and cranky at the end of the night.
Now is the time to get creative with yoghurt parfaits, smoothies and sauces. Yogurt is a source of calcium which can help to reduce PMS and relax your muscles. It also contains live cultures which promote healthy digestion. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium try broccoli, kale and almonds instead.
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium and also contain B6 and other vitamins which help to boost your mood. They also help to regulate bowel movements, which is something a lot of people struggle with when they are menstruating. Think of them as the happy fruit!
Last, but not least…
1. FLO App
On my mission to find the perfect period tracker app, I came across ‘FLO‘. FLO is designed to help women predict their menstrual cycles, ovulation, and fertile days with greater precision. It’s a calendar-based system – users schedule cycle reminders in a monthly tracker. But Flo also considers in its analysis a wide range of factors that might influence period cycles, including health information like mood, contraceptive methods, PMS symptoms, and sexual activity.
2. Pink Parcel
Pink Parcel‘s mission is to make your life easier, and a little bit lovelier every month. They deliver tampons / pads and treats straight to your door. It’s a monthly thing!