Oh Aunt Flo. No one likes you. You’re the family member we’d never choose but still have learned to love even when you stab us in the uterus time and time again. Ever since I started this crazy hormone journey, I’ve had to learn to love Aunt Flo. She’s a chatty gal and has a lot to say. So instead of ignoring her noise aka my period symptoms, I’ve learned to listen a bit better. And now I utilize those tells to understand what is going with my body so I can support my period.
We all have a different experience when it comes to our periods. Going on and off birth control has definitely changed mine. Stress, diet and many other factors can affect your period. It can take time to learn how to support your period in a way that works best for you. Today I thought I’d share the 5 things I do throughout the month, and particularly during my period, to keep Aunt Flo happy. Because heaven knows, when she’s not happy, neither are we.
disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please seek professional help if needed. Any advice given is based on my own experience & research and is simply that: advice.
I preach loud & often about this with my friends. There is NOTHING that replaces sleep. It’s essential. If I don’t sleep enough, it throws my cortisol and hunger hormones off. I’m a hardcore grandma now. We know this. I’ve stayed up late a few times over the last week and EVERY time my friends have asked me why I’m still awake. I love my friends. They get me.
When I don’t sleep enough, I always find I want to snack throughout the day. Doesn’t matter if I’m hungry. My body’s hunger cues get all out of whack and I just want to eat all the things. Unfortunately, my digestion doesn’t super love this plan. It’s really all down hill when you don’t get enough sleep.
Your body needs sleep to heal, to keep your mind strong and to keep you energized. If you aren’t getting enough, there’s no hiding it. And when I’m not making a conscious effort to make sure I’m using sleep to support my period, I can tell. I feel more anxious, bloated, sluggish and 10x more tired than normal. There are a lot of PMS symptoms we have to learn to accommodate or heal. But not sleeping enough is something we can easily prevent.
Since I’m not a fan of red meat, I already take an iron supplement*. But I also try to intentionally add in some extra iron via my diets to support my period because, well there no way to say this other than, we are already bleeding for 3+ days. Personally, I’ve found an iron supplement to be a necessary addition to my diet. After tracking my eating habits and how I was feeling for a few weeks, I realized I constantly felt cold and tired. Taking iron daily has made a huge difference for me.
Additionally, making sure my iron levels are good means I have just as much energy during this time of the month as I do the rest of it. Foods like spinach, spirulina* and lentils are great for my plant based friends. Oysters, chicken and salmon are awesome as well! If you want to support your period, you have to learn to eat in a way that supports what’s going on with your body. Adding in some extra iron can help!
MOVE MY BODY
If you follow me on instagram stories, you’ll notice I typically share my morning workouts. And there has been a severe lack of them this week. I aim to workout between 4-6 times a week. Any less and my body just feels restless. During my period, I might switch to yoga, walking or barre depending on my energy levels. This morning I opted for a short 11 minute flow just to wake my body up. And I felt so much better after.
If you can move, I find it tends to lessen my period symptoms and keeps my energy up. Depending on how I’m feeling, I may still keep my regular gym sessions and lift. But I try to listen to my body to see what it needs. However, just because I choose to support my period this way doesn’t mean this will work the same for you. There’s typically always one day during my cycle I want to veg out on the couch. And occasionally, I’ll do exactly that. Pushing your body beyond its limits when it’s telling you to rest won’t help you support your period or your hormones. So don’t be afraid to take it lighter this week.
LOWER MY CAFFEINE
It’s taken me a while to really figure out how my body does best with caffeine. But I had to be willing to scale back my coffee and tea consumption to learn how to support my period. These days, I opt for ideally no more than 1 caffeinated drink per day. And I try not to drink any caffeine after 12pm. I also alter my caffeine consumption between the difference phases of my cycle.
During my follicular and ovulation phases, I’m okay with caffeine. I do try to keep it on the weak side because of how I function for the other half of my cycle. For my luteal and menstrual phases, I prefer decaf or half caf lattes. I’ve found that my skin is better, my pms symptoms are less intense and I generally feel better when I support my period this way.
TRACK MY SYMPTOMS
You babes know I love the MyFlo app*. I’ve been using it for ages to help me heal my acne and hormones. But it’s also become a great tool to help me naturally treat any symptoms. Cramps are a staple for me. However, I learned this week that with a bit of extra omegas, I can potentially get rid of them without the need for meds. I’m still playing with this hack but I can’t wait to see how my body responds! I also use my app to track any other symptoms throughout the month so I can support my period better.
If you listen, your body is constantly whispering about how it’s doing. Whether that’s changes in your hair, skin and nails or how often you poop, it all means something. Using a tracking app can help you narrow down any issues you might be missing so you can hopefully make tweaks to feel better in no time!
How do you support your period? Is there anything particular you do throughout the month or during the week Aunt Flo is in town? Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know. And feel free to share this post with anyone you think might need to read it! Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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