Many people struggle every month (and too often silently as this can be an unnecessarily taboo topic). Here are my tips to ease the struggle:
1) Keep Track of Your Cycle
The first tip is to keep track of your menstrual cycle manually, or by an app on your phone. It would be nice if they only came on weekends … we could just stay at home. Sadly, that’s not the case. The length of your cycle depends on your body. The length of my cycle is never consistent. Preparation is crucial in university whether it be academics, a presentation you are about to give, or a midterm you are about to write. When you’re busy, eliminating predictable events may help you stay focused to accomplish many things during the day.
2) Bring Painkillers
Painkillers are ESSENTIAL to bring to school, especially if you have heavy cramps. Sometimes cramps are too painful to deal with. It’s important to find factors like sugar and caffeine that worsen your cramps so you can avoid them. At times, these efforts are not enough. When you are busy and are in pain, don’t be afraid to take pain killers at healthy doses; they will help you get through the day. If your pain remains after taking pills, it’s okay to go home and rest, Put yourself first, if it’s possible. You could also talk with your doctor if you think the amount of pain you’re experiencing is abnormal.
3) Keep Warm
One effective way to alleviate pain is to keep warm, especially as the weather in Toronto will be cold for a long time. I try to avoid the cold, sugar, cold drinks, and caffeine as these can constrict blood vessels and are known to worsen cramps. I love to buy or bring warm drinks to school because they are comforting. My thermos has been my saviour. You could also bring a hot pack for comfort. Make sure to wear warm and comfortable clothes like a scarf, turtle neck and warm shoes/socks. Baggy warm pants like sweatpants are also great if it’s too cold outside.
4) Take Care and Rest!
Our bodies can seem naturally unmotivated to do things during this time; you could become really sleepy throughout the whole day and frustrated that you could not accomplish much. Not to worry, your body will recover as your cycle comes to an end, and your motivation will return. Accomplish as much as you can, and make sure to take care of yourself. If you are extremely sleepy, take the nap or meditation you need. You may have to push yourself, but relax, sleep and eat well. Sometimes I think the degree of cramps measure the amount of self-care and rest you need. The more sleep I have and and the more warmth I feel, the less the pain I feel.