Periods… They can be a right pain, can’t they? Not only are they a monthly chore for many of us, they’re sometimes debilitating, and can seem like too much of a taboo to talk about.
In the 10+ years since I got my first, I’ve learnt to deal with mine to the point where I know when it’s going to strike, how bad it’s going to be, and what I need in my fridge to satisfy my cravings! However, it’s taken me a long time to get nail my “period management system” (my preferred PMS anagram), and I’d like to share it with you to help you cope, as well as go a little greener too.
Periods Hurt – And That’s Okay
First off, let’s get things straight: for the vast majority of us who experience periods, they hurt. I feel like this often overlooked, and yet when I get those side-splitting cramps I want to video myself and send it to one of the big menstrual product brands to show them how a “real woman” looks on her period. I’m not diving off a boat, cycling with white shorts on, or rolling my eyes at Mother Nature… I hurt.
There is no shame in needing to rest when you have your period.
Did you know, 1 in 4 women have taken a day off work because of their period? I was surprised to learn this statistic, as I felt like an anomaly when I had to take time out from my last workplace because of it. It just shows how quiet we are about periods, and how much we keep to ourselves… It’s time we stopped, and truly acknowledged that it’s happening, and it’s not going to stop (for a good few years at least!) so we might as well learn to love it!
The same goes for the sleeve-stuffing we’ve all probably done; why should we be ashamed to be on our periods? Just as you’ll watch a coworker take a paracetamol for their headache, it should be common practice to see a woman visiting the bathroom cursing over her period…
Are Don’t Have To Be Expensive
Now that we’ve established that periods hurt, and they’re nothing to be ashamed about, we also need to address the price of periods. Tampon tax continues to treat menstrual products as a luxury, and while the proceeds now go to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls, it doesn’t make them any less expensive. During an average period, I used to spend around £10 on disposables. That’s £120 a year on stuff I throw away…
Last year my boyfriend and I attended the #FreePeriods march outside Downing Street to call for free period products for children on school meals. It’s crazy this isn’t already a thing – please sign the petition to support it!
For those of you who are looking to make a change now, I would recommend two stellar reusables that I take everywhere with me:
- The first is my menstrual cup – I’ve already gone into great detail about how and why I use a Mooncup, and over two years on, it’s still steering me through my periods. That equates to just 66p per period – nice!
- The second are my washable period pads from Bloom & Nora. For the first few days of my period, I like to wear the “mini” version of these for extra security. Considering they’re soft and comfy to wear compared to disposable ones, they genuinely do feel like a luxury!
If you prefer to stick to disposable tampons or pads, that’s okay too – just make sure they’re made from organic cotton. Grace & Green provide a brilliant monthly service for organic period products, meaning you don’t even need to worry about stocking up.
Or at least, my periods used to be unpredictable until I learnt how to manage them!
For over two years, I’ve been using the Clue app to track when I have a period. It now accurately predicts when I’ll start my period, and how long it will last too (side note: It doesn’t take two years to do this, usually 2-3 periods). In the run up to my period, I consult it to make sure I’m not scheduled to do anything too strenuous, and I also make sure I have my pamper products at the ready…
Periods Are For Pampering
I think it’s about high time we reclaimed our periods! Why not make those five days or so a festival of pampering?
For a mini pamper sesh, I’m currently in love with Femna, an organic tea brand made especially for women during their cycle. I like to sip on their Red Sea Tea when it gets to my time of the month, almost like having mini moment of meditation to sit back and embrace the cramps…
Alongside a nice cup of tea, I like to bathe my period blues away. There’s nothing better than bath-time with some extra special items, such as a natural handmade bath bomb from Roze Mountain, and the luxurious rose bath and body oil from The Soap Co. I might not feel great on the inside, but I’ll be glowing on the outside!
Hello, I just discovered your blog today and have read your article on Arkel, socks, wakebags and now greener periods. Great content and thanks for making us discover all these ethical brands !
I have one request though, can you please make an article on period knickers/panties ? Because I’m a little lost when I researched it between all the expensive brands and if the cheaper ones are ethical, fairtrade labor or still sourced in China.
(sorry if my grammar is a bit off, English is not my mother tongue)
Thank you for all the time you invest in researching and contacting those brands to find out if they’re ethical ^^ !
Hi Lys, thanks for the message! It’s like you read my mind – I’m due to write a post about ethical lingerie (including period pants) in the coming weeks. I hope you find it useful, and do let me know if there’s any brands you’d like me to specifically look into! x
Great article Besma! I recently blogged about plastic-free menstrual products for The Green Shopper, you can read my article here: https://thegreenshopper.co.uk/2018/02/26/plastic-free-periods/
For anyone experiencing cramps I’d really recommend reading Aviva Romm’s page on the subject: https://avivaromm.com/dysmenorrhea/
Periods don’t have to be painful, there’s a lot that can be done through nutrition with a few simple dietary changes. I used to get terrible cramps and PMS, but don’t anymore, hooray! (Evening primrose oil works wonders for PMS).
Thanks for sharing Ruth! I’ll have to try evening primrose, I still get cramps but I know how to relax enough for them not to be as bad as the used to be! x