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    7 Natural Ways to Deal with Stress During Your Period


    Periods can be unpredictable. So can stress. The combo of period symptoms and everyday life stressors can be a bit, well... like a hormonal bomb drop.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and period symptoms can vary from person to person––bloating, cramps, fatigue, headaches, period poops, the blues, loss of appetite, mood swings, intense food cravings, and other fun stuff––are often caused by natural hormonal fluctuations that occur during your menstrual cycle. These symptoms alone can be stressful. Then, add a work deadline, relationship fallout, serious loss, or sitting on hold for forty-five minutes listening to bad elevator music only to be told that you’re going to be transferred to another customer service agent. Ugh.

    So, how does stress affect your period?

    Menstruation is controlled by a balance of reproductive hormones in the body.  When stressed, the body produces more cortisol and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)––also known as the stress hormones––which can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Stress can have such a dominant influence on your hormones, that in many cases, it is the culprit for late or missed periods.  In other cases, however, stress might just cause an exaggeration of PMS or period symptoms. Either way, this can be the body’s way of alerting you that your hormones are not in balance.

    We’ve rounded up 7 natural remedies for managing stress during your period:

    1. Eat healthy.

    You may crave simple carbs (sweet and salty) when dealing with period stress. However, sugar spikes your blood sugar agitating stress in the body. If you’re really craving something sweet, go for a piece of fruit or some dark chocolate which has less sugar and is full of antioxidants. 

    Channeling your food intake to include hormonally supportive substances will help relax and support the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands, in turn, help reduce the amount of cortisol produced and ultimately break down the stress cycle in your body. 

    Photo by  Thought CatalogPhoto by Thought Catalog

    The body needs vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and iron to best support your adrenal glands. Consider eating more dark leafy greens, quality proteins, or avocados to help. For more great eating tips, check out our post on essential vitamins and foods you can eat to make sure your body is getting what it needs.  


    2. Get plenty of sleep. 

    Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. There are several studies that suggest sleep will naturally reduce stress in the body. You’ll have better chances of getting enough sleep if you program the body by creating a regular sleep schedule. Here’s some sleep hygiene tips to help: 

    • Go to bed at the same time every night.

    • Turn off screens and put away your phone an hour before bed to help your body transition into a state of rest. Read a book instead.

    • Make your bedroom dark and cool to help you fall asleep.

    • Add bedtime yoga to your routine.

    • Make your bedroom comfortable and sanctuary-like. Being surrounded by clutter and undone projects before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep.

    • Make your bed a place for sleep and sex only. Not work. 

    • Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day.

    • Exercise during the day.

    3. Exercise regularly. 

    Physical activity and exercise produce endorphins that act as natural painkillers for cramps, while also improving sleep and reducing stress. Sadly, exercise often (not always) has been seen as a form of punishment for getting your body ‘in shape’. Instead, try to think of exercise as self-care and do the physical activities that bring you joy. Listen to your body.  Depending on where you’re at in your menstrual cycle and what your hormones are doing, you may feel like cardio or strength training some weeks, and other weeks you may prefer yoga or a walk. If you want to better understand how your hormone cycle impacts your sleep and energy levels and which exercises to do each week, we go more in-depth here.

    There’s evidence that shows engaging in a regular exercise schedule reduces period symptoms that could be a result of stress, especially severe cramps. Likewise, the endorphin release will help boost your mood and relieve irritation that comes with stress (so you don’t snap at that customer care agent that does finally try to help you on the phone after waiting on hold). 

    Photo by  Dane WettonPhoto by Dane Wetton

    4. Give relaxing techniques a try. 

    Relaxation techniques can be very useful in reducing PMS, period, and stress symptoms. Here’s some we’ve tried and love:

    • Get a regular massage. On a low budget? We love this little shiatsu massager that heats up and can be moved to target specific areas of the body. 

    • Go with the (yoga) flow. Here’s some yoga poses proven to help reduce stress and period symptoms, and these poses are great for relaxation.

    • Try one of these 6 breathing exercises that take 10 minutes or less.

    • Do 10 minutes of meditation. Try using a free app, like Calm or Headspace to guide you, if you’re new to meditation.

    • Burn an aromatherapy candle or put a few drops of essential oils in your hands, rub together, and cup over your nose while taking deep breaths. Lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot, lemon, ylang-ylang, or jasmine all have calming properties. 

    • Take a hot bath with Epsom salt or essential oils.

    5. Spend time with friends. 

    Call a friend for a chat, or schedule some time together. Don’t underestimate the power of community and social support to reduce stress. Sometimes just having someone to listen, make you laugh, or get out of your own head is exactly what you need. 

    Get your mind off the source of stress and do an activity you love with your favorite sidekick. If you’re feeling strapped for time, kill two birds with one stone and invite a friend to attend a yoga class or exercise with you. Get some tea together afterward. Promise––you’ll feel better. 


    Photo by Monika Grabkowska

    6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine during your period. 

    Coffee is a diuretic and can be dehydrating AF, causing digestive upset and cramping leading up to and during your period. We all need the caffeine boost sometimes, but try getting it from matcha or herbal teas instead. Matcha is full of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body, boosting your immune system. The L-Theanine amino acid in matcha helps keep your energy consistent and your brain focused and relaxed vs. the wired and tired feeling you might get from coffee drinks (especially, the sugary kinds) that have you crashing two hours later. ⁠

    ⁠Similarly, while alcohol may help you to temporarily relax, it will likely make you feel worse in the long-run. Both caffeine and alcohol are likely to impact your ability to get quality sleep as well. Try herbal tea or water instead to reduce bloating, cramps and stress-related anxiety. 

    7. Herbal supplements and tea

    If you have ongoing or severe stress from life circumstances that won’t go away in a few days or even a period cycle, you might consider adding a supplement into your routine or drinking herbal tea regularly. Ginseng, black currant, and Rhodiola are known for supporting your adrenal glands with energy production, while ashwagandha, skullcap, passionflower, and valerian are better for helping fight anxiety, and Chaga is full of rich antioxidants to boost your immune system and overall health. With loads of adaptogen properties, these supplements can help you combat stress and fatigue, reduce depression symptoms, and improve brain function.  

    Stress can take its toll––both physically and emotionally. It’s okay to make self-care a priority (and not feel guilty about it). If you find your stress to be interfering with your ability to do life, you should talk to your doctor about available options and support. 

    Have a stress-relieving tip you wanna share? We’re all ears! Let us know in the comments below. We’re always down to learn from you all. 

    "If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air." — Nayyirah Waheed

     


     Polly Profile Photo.jpg
    Polly Tlg has always been interested in holistic and alternative ways of healing–– Ayurveda and yoga are among her favorite healing methods. Deeply intuitive, she finds true healing surpasses the boundaries of the physical body and embraces the emotional, energetic and subtlest layers of our being. Believing that nature can be the best source of human health, Polly uses her knowledge to help others learn how to be healthy and beautiful using natural remedies.
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    Amazing for heavy workouts!!

    This cup is amazing – I ran with it today and all of my other menstrual cups have been an utter disaster for heavy workouts, but this one is awesome. Thank you so much! 😍

    Great first cup!

    I read a ton of reviews and watched a bunch of YouTube videos before I finally picked this for my first menstrual cup. Of course, my period showed up yesterday and I was both terrified and excited to try this thing out.

    I’m 41 and haven’t had children and absolutely no clue how high or low my cervix is, but I got the small size. I picked this cup because it seemed to be both a little firm where the structures are but soft everywhere else. I was afraid if I bought a cup that was too soft it wouldn’t open up and I might leak, and if I bought one that was too firm, it might be uncomfortable with my mind-numbing cramps or make it harder to go pee. I was hoping it would be my goldilocks firmness so I wouldn’t have to try several cups to get the right one. While, I haven’t tried other cups to compare it too, this cup does definitely seem to be perfect because it has both firmness and softness to it.

    Inserting the cup at first was a little awkward but not really hard. It definitely opened up right away. The guide that comes with the cup gives lots of helpful tips to make sure you have a good seal, and I followed all of them just to make sure I got it in right. I’ve read reviews on other cups where if the person sat a certain way they could feel the stem, and I was trying to avoid that with this cup. I’ve been able to leave the stem on and I can’t feel it regardless of what position I’m in or activity I’m doing.

    A few times throughout the day, I would feel a gush of flow coming out and was certain that I had just leaked everwhere, but when I checked there was nothing on my pad, so I believe it was just my flow releasing into the cup. After a few hours I took it out, just to make sure I didn’t overflow or anything. It was a bit tricky removing it my first time, but the stem and pinch grips, the way they are, make it fairly easy. The first time I think maybe I inserted it too far because I’m used to using tampons. I bared down a bit and it moved down where I was able to easily remove it without trouble or discomfort. Since, I don’t insert the cup as far and I haven’t had any issues since, but even if you did, it’s easy to just bare down a bit to help the process. The cup was less than half full, which made me feel like I could wear it overnight without a mess. I’m pleased to say I can now sleep all night without having to get up and change my tampon and pad (I wore both before to prevent leaks). This alone was worth the purchase to me. I hate wearing pads––they are so uncomfortable and smell. I also believe since using this product, my cramps are significantly less. I don’t know if it’s just in my head, but it really seems like they are better. All in all, this was a great first cup experience and I completely recommend it!

    K
    VOXAPOD Menstrual Cup
    Katie Morson
    I would give this ten stars if I could!

    Okay, I’ve been a cup user for over 12 years and had several cups over the years, most of them shaped basically the same way: conical with a harder stem. This cup’s design is a total game-changer, in my opinion. With all of my other cups, removing it was always a bit of a challenge because I would pinch at the base but the suction seal at the top would not break, so I would have to put my finger in and push the whole side of the cup in while I tried to pull it out otherwise it would be uncomfortable when removing the cup. This cup has a thicker line of silicone that goes from the bottom of the cup where you pinch for removal up to the suction hole at the top (basically acting as my finger used to do for removing other cups), so now I can just pinch at the base and the suction remains broken while I’m trying to remove the cup which is waaaaayyyyyy more comfortable! Goood gosh, what a smart design. Also, sometimes with my other cups the stem would poke me if I moved or sat a certain way and this one NEVER does. So, if you’re wondering if this cup really is that much better, it definitely is and I could see how it would reduce the learning curve for first-time cup users especially. If I could give this product ten stars, I would! THANK YOU!

    The design of this cup is better than others!

    I think the firmer lip on top is what helps it to be such an effective, secure product. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it so much more comfortable to be a woman! I will continue to spread the word.

    Big fan and would totally recommend.

    I am one of the Kickstarter backers and wanted to write in to tell you how awesome your product is. Of the three cups I own, this one is by FAR the most comfortable. It conforms and seals itself properly with virtually no assistance, and I never leak with it compared to the other two, which would leak occasionally for no reason. I'm a pretty big fan!