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3 Self Care Secrets For A Better Period

A photo of Cherrelle Slaney, period and menstrual cycle educator sitting on a bed.
Are you feeling burnt out during your period? Does menstruation make you tired? Tiredness during your period is totally normal. But what can you do when you feel worn out while bleeding?

If you’ve read my blog before, or you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice there’s been a bit of a theme developing. Yep, ya girl is obsessed with periods. I used to HATE having my period. The cramping, the blood, the spots, the tiredness, the misery – oh the misery! Over time, I’ve learned how to work with my cycle instead of against it, and now period week is probably my favourite time of the month.

self care for your period

Let me make this clear, my period has not changed. I still get the cramping, the blood (obvs), the spots and the tiredness, but I learned to let go of the misery. By learning about what is happening in my body, and the understanding way it makes me feel, has really helped me to lean into the joy of menstruation. And yes, menstruation, your period, shark week, whatever you want to call it, absolutely can be a bloody joy if you let it.

Getting to know your body and listening out for what your body needs during this time is the key. Self care is a prerequisite for uncovering the magic of menstruation. Here are my 3 essential acts of self care for when you’re on your period.

Feeling tired on your period?

When you’re on your period, your energy levels are low. You have a huge drop in hormones here and your oestrogen levels are at their lowest point. Low levels of oestrogen can affect your energy levels. Instead of desperately trying to fight through that and clinging to you to-do list like your life depends on it, schedule some time to sink into that rest your body is so deeply craving.

I know, we all have responsibilities, and just because you’re bleeding doesn’t mean your responsibilities all melt away, but some forward planning earlier on in your cycle when you are feeling more energetic can really give you the time and space you need to take it a little easier through your period. For some this might look like batch cooking during your ovulation phase, or getting laundry done in advance so you can let it slide for a couple of days.

Obviously, there will be some commitments which mean you can’t just go taking naps willy-nilly, but do what you can to rest. Sit rather than stand, take a bath rather than shower, or order pizza instead of cooking. Whatever you can do to conserve energy during this phase, do it.

 

Even 20 minutes rest is better than no rest at all. Whatever little time you can spare is worth spent resting during your period. Grab yourself a cuppa, go lay down for a while and switch your phone off. Your body will thank you.

Your body is shedding your uterine lining. Yes, that sounds like a big task (I mean, it kinda bloody is – pun intended) so it’s perfectly acceptable for you to feel tired. Taking it easier, especially during the first two days of your period, and restoring some much needed energy will save you from burnout later on in your cycle. If it’s available to you, taking a couple of days to slow down means you will be able to make the most of the high energy you experience during ovulation.

It makes sense to rest when you need it. YOU DO NOT NEED TO FEEL GUILTY FOR THIS. Lemme say it again for those at the back…

 

YOU DO NOT NEED TO FEEL GUILTY FOR SLOWING DOWN WHEN YOU ARE BLEEDING!!

 

Yes, your children will still need looking after. And yes, you might still need to provide food for your family. But there is no shame in taking the easy route, or asking for help where you need it.

If a friend called you and said “Babe, I got my period and I’m so tired. I feel like crap. Could you watch the kids for an hour? I really need a nap.” – what would you think? “Lazy.. using their period as an excuse to slack off from being a parent! The cheek!” Or, would you be more like “Honey, I feel you. This was me last week, I’ll be right over”. Just as you wouldn’t judge someone you love, those who love you are not going to judge you for looking after yourself.

Setting healthy Boundaries

Self care does not always look like bubble baths and face masks. In fact, one of the most important self care strategies you can implement is to set healthy boundaries. Boundaries are essential, and when you’re not used to setting them you can feel like you’re being selfish – but trust me, you’re not. Saying no to things you’re just not up for when you’re bleeding can help you to get the rest your body needs.

I know, so often we’re out to please everyone and we hate saying no unless we have a “legit excuse”. But guess what, even if you aren’t prioritising self care throughout the rest of your cycle, during your period it’s paramount. Oh, and FYI, you really don’t need your period or any other “legit excuse” to prioritise looking after yourself. But, as Claire Baker puts it in her book, 50 Things You Need To Know About Periods, “Think of your period as the pit stop of your month… if there’s one week of your cycle I encourage you to prioritize yourself, this is it.”

When you’re bleeding, you might not feel like being very sociable, and that’s okay. If you track your cycle, you can start to learn when your period is likely to come. There are plenty of apps out there you can use to do this such as Clue or Flo, but if you prefer to do this with pen and paper I created a cycle tracking sheet just for you. Getting to know when you’re likely to bleed means you can mark out these days in your diary and schedule your plans around your period.

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If you’re caught out by your period and can’t face plans that you’ve already made, that’s okay. Plans can be rescheduled for a couple of days time when you’re feeling a bit more up to it. Likely, at least some of your friends have periods too, so saying something like “Oh man! I just got my period and feel like shit. I really need to rest. Can we reschedule?” is probably a notion they can relate to. It’s totally okay to set these boundaries – guilt not required.

Asking For Help On Your Period

Just like setting boundaries, asking for help when we need it is also a tender act of self care during your period. You’re tired, emotional and more than likely to have dropped the ball. That’s okay – don’t beat yourself up for it. Just ask for some help.

 

You don’t have to completely shut off while you’re bleeding and let everyone else to run around after you (although, if this is an option I’d definitely be inclined to indulge), but asking someone else to help you out is no bad thing.

 

Even the smallest asks can make a huge difference to your wellbeing and stress levels while you’re bleeding. I know one thing I definitely don’t have the headspace for when I’m on my period is organising meals for my family. I tend to have a stock of homemade ready-meals in the freezer in preparation for this, but if I’ve not been organised enough to plan ahead, I ask for help.

Asking my husband to take care of the dinner, or sometimes even just asking him to decide what we’re having and I’ll do the cooking, takes a lot of pressure off.

 

The thing is, while we are all capable of asking for help, sometimes guilt gets the better of us. There was a great post on Instagram recently from Natalie Lee @stylemesunday about how often, as parents, we live in this world where we expect ourselves to be everything for everyone all the time. Nat said:

 

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with making time for yourself and ensuring you’re top of your own priority list. It’s not selfish to look after yourself. There’s something about being a mother that has become synonymous with sacrifice and martyrdom, well that doesn’t always work for me. My kids need someone who isn’t always burnt out and tired. My daughter threw a coin into a fountain recently and made a wish – she wished for me to be happy and it really struck me to my core. So, I’m making it my priority to be happy.”

 

Parent or not, taking time out for yourself is not selfish. Asking for some help when you’re not feeling your best is not selfish. Taking care of yourself should be a priority, and while it might feel impossible for it to be at the top of our priority list all of the time, I encourage you to make sure you are looking after yourself while you’re bleeding.

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7 Simple Ways To Cope With Premenstrual Anxiety

A photo of Cherrelle Slaney, period and menstrual cycle educator.
One of the number one problems I hear about from my followers is how they get stress and anxiety before their period. I’ll bet you feel the same way. It’s a common problem for those of us who are suffering with PMS.

What is PMS?

PMS stands for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. PMS is the abbreviation used to categorise common symptoms experienced by menstruators in the luteal (AKA premenstrual) phase. These symptoms usually show up a week or two before your period starts, and they tend to disappear after your period.

Your natural hormones have a lot to answer for when it comes to the ups and downs you experience week to week. How you feel during your period is quite different to how you feel one week later. How you feel when you’re premenstrual is very different again.

Progesterone is a hormone that rises in your premenstrual phase. It helps prepare the womb for a possible pregnancy. It can also make you feel anxious, irritable and depressed or give you mood swings. These are typical PMS symptoms.

One other thing that can be attributed to a rise in progesterone is a lack of focus. You might find you feel a bit foggy-headed before your period. A lack of focus might mean you’re finding tasks more difficult. This in itself can make you feel stressed.

Extra anxiety and stress caused by a lack of focus only adds to the general anxiety and stress you might notice when you’re premenstrual. Knowing how you’re likely to feel during PMS week can help you optimise your time and efforts to work in sync with your cycle.

PMS Relief

You can balance your stress and anxiety by taking time to relax. If you understand how you usually feel when you’re premenstrual you can plan ahead and carve out some “me-time”. A little self-care can go a long way.

Here are some of my favourite ways to de-stress before your period.

Essential oils for PMS Relief

A PMS roll-on essential oil blend with linen bag and decorative dried orange slices.
Opinions on essential oils are a bit of a mixed bag. There are people that swear by them for their healing properties, and there are people who say it’s a load of old nonsense. Research on the effectiveness of essential oils is limited, but studies indicate that they may be beneficial for stress and anxiety relief.

You can buy special aromatherapy blends design to help with PMS symptoms. They can help with premenstrual pain, as well as helping to balance your mood. This roll-on blend from Floatin Feather is a lovely mix of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Marjoram, Geranium and Palmarosa.

Healthy Boundaries

When you’re PMS-ing you might get stressed out more easily than usual. Set some healthy boundaries around what you are and aren’t willing to accept in your life right now. Speaking to the people in your life to let them know how you’re feeling can be really beneficial.

If you feel like you’ve got too much on your plate already, say no to new commitments. You don’t have to come up with excuses, a simple “no, I can’t do that right now” is sufficient. If you’re struggling with stress, reschedule plans that you don’t feel like facing at the moment.

PMS Pampering

It’s okay to want some alone time when you’re premenstrual. A soak in the tub to relax is a great idea. Put on some relaxing music and shut the world out for a little while.

Submerging yourself in water helps to calm the nervous system which can reduce stress and improve your mood. A warm bath can also help with increasing your serotonin levels which are linked with happiness and wellbeing.


This pampering gift set comes from Cheshire’s Finest Soap and is an absolute steal at only £12.50. It contains a bath bomb, bath salts, a bar of soap, a soap bag, a tea light in a holder and a cup of tea! The perfect treat to yourself when you’re feeling stressed.

Meditation For Stress & Anxiety

Meditation has become more and more popular recently. Although you might think meditation is only for buddhist monks, meditation is simply about clearing your mind and calming your body. You don’t have to sit for hours, just a few minutes of silent practise every day can be really beneficial.

There are a bunch of meditation apps out there and you can also listen to guided meditations for anxiety on Youtube. I am currently using Balance app www.balanceapp.com which has a range of meditation practises with different goals. You can use them to de-stress, gain focus or wind down.

Take Shortcuts

Taking the easy route when your focus is lacking can help to take off some of the stress. You might not have the concentration for cooking a 12 course meal at the end of a long day at work. Taking some shortcuts is fine.

Taking the easy route when you’re stressed does not make you lazy. You don’t have to push yourself to give 110% all of the time. Work smarter not harder.

Remove Distractions

If you’re trying to be productive and struggling with a lack of focus, it makes sense to remove distractions. Having loud music on or trying to have conversations while you’re busy can lead to you making mistakes. This will only increase your stress levels further.

Setting some boundaries and not allowing yourself to be interrupted will help. This os beneficial whether you’re trying to work or whether you’re trying to relax. Switch your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or aeroplane mode. Nobody wants to be answering texts while they’re trying to enjoy a hot bath.

Plan Ahead

If you know you’re more likely to be stressed out during your premenstrual phase, you can plan ahead. Get high intensity work done earlier in your cycle when you’re less likely to get stressed about it. Your ovulation phase is ideal for this.

This is called cycle syncing. Essentially, it means working with your hormonal ups and downs to best optimise your time, energy and efforts. If you’re not sure when your ovulation phase is, take my free menstrual masterclass to find out.
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The Truth About Period Blood: What Is It Trying To Tell You?

Cherrelle Slaney wears a pair of Thinx period underwear while lying on a bed.

Have you ever noticed that your period blood can sometimes change colour? Especially towards the end of your period, you might notice that the blood turns from red to pink or even brown. But why is that? And is it normal?


The colour of your period blood can give a good indication into your menstrual health. Menstrual blood isn’t technically just blood. It’s menstrual fluid, which is a mixture of blood, uterine cells and cervical mucous. Although it doesn’t necessarily sound like a pleasant mixture, it’s a normal part of menstruation and can give you some insights into your overall health.

Bright Red Period Blood

Bright red blood is a sign of a healthy period. Blood that is bright red or crimson red in colour is a good sign. You period blood should have a consistency similar to maple syrup.

As long as your bleeding falls in line with your regular cycle, red blood is a good sign. Any bleeding outside of your normal cycle could be a sign of infection and should be checked by a doctor. This includes bleeding between periods or if your cycle length suddenly changes.

Brown Period Blood

Brown or dark red blood is old blood. This can occur at the start and end of your period. When blood oxidises it gets darker in colour.

If there is residual blood left in the uterus from your last period, the blood will turn brown, or sometimes even black. This is what happens to blood as it oxidises. Similarly, as your flow slows down, blood takes longer to leave the uterus. This blood will start to oxidise too – hence the darker colour.

Brown period blood can also be an early sign of pregnancy known as implantation. If you experience any kind of vaginal blood loss during pregnancy you should see your doctor.

Pink Period Blood

Pink blood is usually blood mixed with cervical fluid. The cervical fluid dilutes the blood, lessening it’s bright red hue. You might experience this at the start or end of your period.

This is also common in people who use oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives reduce the amount of oestrogen in the body which can lead to a lighter flow. Once that light flow gets mixed with cervical fluid it becomes pink in colour.

You might also get some pink spotting in the middle of your cycle around ovulation. It is often combined with some mild cramping. This is called Mittelschmerz (German for “middle pain”) and can be diagnosed by a doctor.

Blood Clots In Your Period

Some amount of clotting in your period is normal. It is more common among those who have a heavy flow. However, if your clots are bigger than a 50p piece then you should see your doctor.

So, there you have it. Some awesome things you can learn from your period blood. Red is a good sign, brown is old blood and pink is diluted blood. Blood clots are normal, but be sure to get them checked if they are larger than a 50p piece. Don’t forget, any significant changes in your period blood or your menstrual cycle should be checked out by a doctor.

Interested in learning more about your menstrual cycle?

Enter your details below to join the mini menstrual masterclass – a quick, free lesson on the basics of the menstrual cycle.