That time of the month doesn’t have to be the worst time of the month. These period hacks will help you feel better and stay healthy.
1. Keep spare underwear in a desk drawer at work.
Leaking blood onto your undies is an inevitability. It’s going to happen, you know it’s going to happen, so why not prepare and keep a few pairs of good panties (not bad ones you’ll dread having to use) in your backpack or desk?
2. Get a heating pad that doesn’t require an outlet.
Not only does heat feel really nice and cozy, but it stimulates blood flow and lessens pain from cramps. Most heating pads need to be plugged in, but as long as you have access to a microwave in your office kitchen, a hot water bottle doesn’t need an outlet to relieve your cramps. There are cute options on Amazon.
3. Cut down on coffee.
It seems counter-intuitive to scale back the caffeine while you’re probably at your sleepiest, but your body will be so happy if you do. Caffeine can cause your body to retain more water, resulting in a nasty bloated feeling, and worsen cramps. Don’t make things harder than they already are. Just cut out a bit of your daily caffeine.
4. Plan your period snacks ahead of time to make sure you’re not going crazy with salt.
Another thing that makes your body retain more water is salty foods, which you probably crave while you’re on your period. Save yourself from the tempting pull of cravings by actually giving snack prepping a shot the week of your period. Some good things to include in those snacks are fatty nuts like almonds, oranges, bananas, and a little bit of dark chocolate.
5. Go for a light jog, or at least take a good walk.
I know the last thing you want to do when you have your period is go running. But when you exercise, your body releases endorphins, a hormone that makes you feel good. Those endorphins can counteract the bad hormones that give you cramps (prostaglandins).
6. Up your iron levels by eating lots of spinach and kale.
The reason you might find yourself craving a red, juicy steak when you’re on your period is because your iron levels could be a tad low. Instead of reaching for a greasy burger, which will only make you feel even more sluggish, try other iron-rich foods like spinach and kale.
7. Use gauze and toilet paper to make a DIY pad.
Because periods can’t actually be tracked and are, at times, unpredictable, there will be times in your life when you need to fashion your own pad out of easily accessible, non-period items. As Jezebel advises, you can make a more absorbent pad with toilet paper and gauze, which is included in most first aid kits (and your office or whatever restaurant or store you’re at when danger strikes should have a first aid kit). Wrap the gauze in toilet paper, then take another strip of toilet paper and affix the mini gauze pad to your panties by wrapping it around the pad and your underwear.
8. Go to bed an hour earlier.
Since your body is in overdrive during this time of the month, going to bed earlier will give you more energy throughout your day.
9. Boil ginger in your hot water tea.
Ginger works wonders for a lot of period-related things. You already know it helps with nausea (that’s why ginger ale is the big go-to drink when you’re sick), but it can also help reduce inflammation and pain that makes cramps feel worse.
10. Have s*x.
Yes, we said it. This doesn’t work for everyone, but a lot of women say orgasms actually help alleviate cramps because it sends a huge rush of blood to your lower abdomen and releases oxytocin, which can help your uterus relax (a.k.a. stop cramping like crazy).
11. Don’t even think for a second about wearing tight jeans.
You’re already uncomfortable, so why torture yourself by squeezing your bloated tummy into your tightest of jeans? Try wearing that big, flowy dress you have in your closet or those trendy sweatpants that are somehow acceptable to wear to work now. Don’t put stiff denim on your lower half during this trying time.