Cherrelle Slaney
A photo of Cherrelle Slaney, period and menstrual cycle educator sitting on a bed.

3 Self Care Secrets For A Better Period

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 I can face my period with a lot more appreciation.

Okay, so it’s still not my favourite time of the month – but it’s a lot les stressful than it used to be.

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 it. It turns out that menstruation, your period, shark week, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming experience after all.

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 making your period more bearable. These 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. So, 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.

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.

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.”

Putting yourself first and setting boundaries that help you do that is a surefire way to protect the little energy you have. That might mean saying no to others’ requests, or promising yourself that you’ll take it easy. Whatever you need to do to look after yourself – don’t feel guilty for it.

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.

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 asking for help seems simple in theory – we live in a society where admitting you can’t do it all on your own is shameful. It’s not always easy to say “Hey, I’m struggling with this.” – but let me tell you, there is not a single person out there who is doing it all and still maintaining their sanity.

 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.

cycle tracking

journal sheet

Tracking your cycle is a fundamental step when it comes to figuring out your menstrual cycle – and how to make the most of it. Lucky for you pal, I have a free journalling sheet you can use. Simply add your details below.

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