Period Talk: Mental Health
As we have reached the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to recognise that each and every one of us wonderful women have been affected by our mental health at some point, sometimes even on a day-to-day basis. I think many can agree that we aren’t exactly jumping for joy whenever our period comes around and there’s no doubt about it that our periods can play a part on our mood too.
When approaching your period, many women may feel moody, short-tempered and depressed but this whole stigma of “PMSing” and “it must be her time of the month” does not invalidate how you actually are feeling. Just because others don’t understand how you’re feeling does not make it any less real and the only one who knows how you truly feel is... you’ve guessed it, YOU!
Leading up to your period you may be burdened with some of that good ol’ period skin (those problem spots like to make an appearance around this time), and this can have a direct impact on your self-esteem. We’ve previously put together some tips on how to show your skin some self-care throughout your menstrual cycle, to help with any new friends that have decided to pop up on your face.
When you’re actually on your period, this is when the levels of oestrogen and progesterone are at an all time low during your cycle. With links between low levels of oestrogen and serotonin (the chemical which makes you feel happy), this could explain why you feel anxious, sad, can’t sleep at night or crave junk food.
Some call it a blessing, some a curse but craving for unhealthy food during your period could actually have an effect on your mind. We’re all for a greasy burger or a share bag of your favourite choccies but high levels of sugar whilst your menstruating could actually make you feel worse. Although it is tempting to have a proper binge, it’s better to be kind to yourself and your body (not just whilst on your period) and by eating all your fruit and veggies you'll be giving your hormones a big hug.
Moving onto the big bleed….
When you’re due on your period, many of us experience worry and anxiety, particularly that dreaded feeling of sheer panic and anxiousness when you’re wondering if you’ve just started bleeding and all you have on is your thinnest pair of knickers, don’t worry girl we’ve all been there.
During heavy flows or the days coming up to your period, try to shift some of that worry by having some extra sanitary products ready to go so you can be prepared for anything and everything. (Bonus points if your menstruation products are eco-friendly too – shout out to FLO and Sea + Flo)
It is easier said than done to make sure you always have some spare products on hand as period poverty is still very present all over the UK. Not having access to these products can have a dramatic impact on your mental health and stop you from doing day to day activities.
With the pandemic itself already being a stressful time, Period Poverty has only increased from people stockpiling tampons and sanitary pads, meaning other girls and women are forced to use alternative products such as toilet paper and socks. Period poverty can be extremely distressing for females but there are many amazing campaigns in place which you can support such as Period Poverty, Red Box Project, Freedom4Girls and plenty of sanitary product brands fighting for our cause!
Everyone experiences different emotions during your menstrual cycle and the majority of the time you can’t predict EXACTLY how you’re going to feel throughout. If you’re ever feeling not so great, please be extra kind to yourself and remember that it’s okay not to be okay.