Surviving your period at work is not a small task. You are expected to continue on as normal, bleeding from your vagina. Hormones and emotions are running high, your brain feels like fluff and all you want to do is curl up in the foetal position and stuff your face with chocolate. But alas, until menstrual leave comes into legislation (which we think is a bloody good idea by the way), follow these tips for how to survive menstruating whilst being a bad ass in the boardroom.
1. Painkillers are your best friend
Don’t be a martyr. Stock up on painkillers. And be sure to take them well before you leave for work, to make sure they kick in before the daily grind begins. If you prefer natural pain relief, why not try a reusable heat pad on your abdomen to relax your muscles and ease the pain.
2. Plan your workload accordingly
If you are one of the lucky ones whose cycle runs like clockwork and knows when to expect your period, this one is for you. Where possible, try to schedule any important meetings, deadlines or presentations so that they don’t fall during your period.
Prioritising different tasks at different times of the month is the revolutionary technique devised by Maisie Hill. Read our Q&A with her here. Avoid tasks at work that may require high energy levels or leave you overly emotional.
3. Stay Hydrated
You know the drill. Drinking enough water at work is always key, but especially so whilst Aunt Flo is visiting. Water aids digestion, boosts energy levels and concentration and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. But don’t be fooled into thinking all those cups of coffee and tea are doing the trick – caffeinated drinks actually act as diuretics and thus lead to dehydration.
4. Make time to exercise
Exercise improves blood and oxygen circulation, including to your pelvic area , which can help alleviate menstrual cramps. It has also been proven to lift move and promote sleep – both of which can take a downward turn in the run up to and during your period. Fitting gym visits into a busy work schedule can seen both daunting and unrealistic at the best of times, but especially whilst menstruating. Why not walk part of your way to work, or go for a brisk 30 minute walk during lunch instead.
5. Be kind to yourself
Even if it is as small as taking 5 minutes to do some deep breathing at your desk, or treating yourself to something sweet with your afternoon coffee, it is particularly important to practice self-care during your period. If you are feeling particularly emotional or in pain, why not confide in a trusted co-worker for a friendly ear or moral support if necessary.
6. Eat right
Little and often should be your mantra when it comes to eating during your period. Your body will crave vitamin C and B6, found in chicken, fish, nuts, bananas, eggs and citrus fruits.
Avoid foods high in salt, as these encourage water retention and bloating. Caffeine is also a no no.
7. Comfort is key
Prioritise comfort and practicality when dressing for work on your period – avoid tight waistbands or restrictive clothing where possible. Also think practically about colours and styles – white trousers or a jumpsuit may not be the best options if you are concerned about leaking or regular trips to the bathroom!