As I write this I am on day one of my cycle (aka day one of my period). And it sucks. In fact, it’s the reason I’m writing this blog – I had planned to write a different blog but the topic I picked suddenly felt far too much for my fragile state, so I thought I would write about what’s on my mind.
Which is mainly, pain…. But also, my cycle and how I’m endeavouring to become more in tune with it and more aware.
I’ve been inspire to do this from seeing other women talking about it online and especially after this podcast episode of There are other ways where Fiona talked to Claire Baker.
It got me thinking about just how much my period affects me. I’ve always suffered quite badly from cramps, the worst experience I had was a few years ago when I worked at a shoe shop. I had to leave the shop floor to be sick from pain, then lie in the fetal position on the stockroom floor while a 6”4 security guard went to get me some painkillers. Not ideal.
Nowadays the pain level varies, but without doubt you’ll hear me moan/see me surgically attached to a hot water bottle at least one or two days a month.
And of course, before the pain, low energy and general meh-ness, I get hit with some pretty powerful PMS. I want to cry at anything and everything, I doubt my abilities and can get easily irritated (sorry Dan).
So I decided instead of just dealing with these many symptoms as they come, I’m going to try and learn more about my cycle. I’m going to look out for patterns, learn what to avoid, what to embrace and when.
Here’s how I plan to do this:
- Track my cycle using Clue app (have only recently started using this but will let you know thoughts asap)
- Note down symptoms in my journal
- Reflect on any patterns
I did look back at my previous journal recently and spotted that my anxiety seemed to get worse around my period, so I’ll continue to keep an eye on that, it’s something I’ve heard other people mention too.
I’m not expecting any of this to change the pain or symptoms I get, but instead it’ll help me be better prepared. I can plan slower days when I need to, avoid social invites if I know I’m going to be in blinding pain. I can also plan more work and socialising when that feels best for me in my cycle, take advantage of any extra energy buzzing around.
The more we know ourselves and the rhythms, the more grace we can give ourselves.
On top of this cycle tracking, I’m also working on losing my period shame. I’ve stopped hiding tampons up my sleeve on the walk from office to toilet, I’ve stopped waiting for the staff kitchen to be empty before filling up my hot water bottle and, if I need to, I have no qualms about taking my hot water bottle with me to meetings.
And finally – I’m just being more open about it. As Brene Brown says, “shame needs secrecy, silence and judgement to grow, but shame cannot survive being spoken.” So… it’s time to speak.
I’ll definitely update here after tracking things for a while and let you know how I’m getting on (if anyone’s interested!) and I’ll likely be chatting about it over on Instagram, so come follow along if you don’t already.
Anyone else suffer with bad period pain? Any tips for easing them?
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