Easy periods, difficult men?

I’m going to talk about periods.. those who feel uncomfortable, better make themselves comfortable. What’s the point of making a common biological phenomenon such a taboo?

Many of my female friends and acquaintances often complain how horrible are their periods for them. The first couple of days are really bad for the most. They get enraged at whisper wishing us a happy period. Stupid company, right? Wrong. You can have an easy, happy period. Even without Whisper.

I was once the lot who had it real bad too. Going to school and college was scary because of the constant threat of a stain. Sports were out of bounds during those days. I felt all swollen, stupid and ugly. In a world where the appearance of a woman matters so much that we internalize it, its a tough phase to go through. Add to that the fact that your hormones go haywire, and you crave fatty food, and are irritable and angry.

What changed? I had visited a gynaec, but only as long as I took her medicines, would my periods be fine. She had said that the hormonal imbalance was also the reason for my weight gain, and so I did complete the course of the medicine. But periods were still bad later.

Then I started to work as a content writer, and had to read a lot on health in order to write my articles. I’d started working out to lose weight, and I was also more conscious of what I was eating.

I realized that if I worked out for roughly 21 days a month, and ate good food, I didn’t face a painful period. Now, I work out even during the periods, except on the first day. It is advisable not to do weight training and abs throughout, though. Now the periods come and go, and I’m least affected. How?

1. Eat right – Make it a habit to eat as much home-cooked, and fresh food as possible, all the times, not just during periods. It’s great for the skin. But if you can’t at least during the periods, avoid processed food. The more processed food like wafers etc you eat, the more your body has to work to digest it. It’s like giving a sleep deprived person another night of work. Make it easy for your body be eating fresh food, foods containing fibre and protein, and lots of water. You might want to reduce on the caffeine as its a diuretic and may hold water in the body, increasing swelling. Alsi seeds soaked in water overnight are a good home remedy if swelling is a recurrent problem.

2. Exercise – Most women I know don’t exercise outside of the little walking that they have to do in order to get to and fro the workplace/ college. It’s a pity because I can’t stress how important exercise is, in order to feel good. Especially during your periods, it helps the blood to flow out easily, and thus the pain in the lower abdomen that may happen due to blockage will not happen. I know, it is difficult to think of exercise when you’re writhing in pain, but just some walking or jogging for half an hour will also do. When it becomes a habit, it will be your first response to periods-pain.

3. Take care of yourself – All said and done, periods are still a stressful time for your body. Take care of yourself. Use massage and heat to release the pressure wherever you feel pain. Lighten the workload in possible. Rest adequately, try to indulge in things you like. My mom would go on a rampage during her periods and clean as much as possible – leading to pain and swollen feet. I know periods give you free time, but use that to rest and be happy.

4. Talk to the men – Most women say that doing all the above will only make them feel good, but what about external issues, when people misunderstand them? and in my experience, by people, they mean men. The day a man automatically gets what it’s like to have a period is the day a women gets how it feels like to get kicked in the balls. Not gonna happen. So, TALK TO THEM. Tell them that you may be irritable around your periods, but every time you are angry, you’re not menstruating, so that they do not trivialize justified anger.

I’ve done all this, and believe me, life is a lot easier. Go on, make it easier for you too. You deserve it.

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Time and Space – All pervasive.

Before humanities students (like myself) read the title and run away, and before physicists start to take a deep interest (although I’m sure there are no physicists reading my blog) – a clarification. I’m not talking of time and space in the sense of physics, but in a more personal manner. What do you expect? I’m studying to become a shrink, after all!

So yes, I started studying for my masters at TISS, tadadada.. all that which I have been incessantly blabbering about in my previous posts. But, the fact of importance is, with time, I’ve eased into things. They’ve become more handleable. I think that the passage of time is a gift that gives you the opportunity to find yourself in whatever you decide to do.

I used to think that, if I’m in college or travelling from around 8 to 5, when do I be with myself? And with a jolt in the bus, I realized that, to be with myself, I do not have to be alone. Yes, alone with the self is the best me time. But still, I could be connected to myself even during college hours. There is no need to switch off the inner connection and just be ‘a student’.

As might be expected, the academics is so much, I do not get time for extracurrics. I regret that. Being at TISS and not participating. But I’ve made peace for myself – to keep that reserved for festival days. For others, academics and resposibilites towards my family are more important.

Talking of family, I do not think that they want hours from you. Somewhere, they realize you are busy. I used to sit with my mom for half an hour before too. But my tiredness showed on my face, and my face buried in my phone. Now, I sit with her for like 10 – 15 minutes, but I give her my total attention. Sometimes, her complains about the maids, relatives seem redundant. At that time, it is very easy and tempting to act all uninterested. But no. With just a little effort, I show genuine interest, and it makes her really happy. I think somewhere, I’ve practically started to apply the counselor qualities I’m learning.

College will become all the more busier when field work starts, which is almost at the same time that Ramzan starts. It’s a combo like mutton biryani and keema paratha. It’s bound to make you anxious. But belief motivates unlike anything else. You become used to it after the first few fasts. In fact, research indicates that formation of a new habit, for most people, requires that they consistently do it for 40 days. This is the maximum. You may form a habit in even lesser days.

And of course space. Not only is it important for others, in relation to them but with yourself. Give yourself space first. I’ve been stuck on the last 5 kgs for quite some time now, reagrding my weight loss regime, and the negativity had somehow creeped in. Although not so much overtly, but somewhere, I was getting very critical of myself. But it was important to stop that. Peoples’ weight loss plateaus have known to be on for years too, I’m just stuck for months. Besides, a positive outlook is the best atmosphere to trigger change. So now I’m focusing on just liking what I do and doing what I like. Being happy.

Space for others. Despite knowing how important it is, I still slip sometimes. I forget that space is letting the person be, and not hold some secret resentment towards them. Yes, its difficult to not talk sometimes. Especially when your friends are far away and you don’t know what’s happening to them or what they are going through. But that’s exactly when they need to sort things out in their head, and my experience has been that when they get back, they really appreciate being given the required space. Because giving space is showing trust. There’s nothing more loving than that.  Let’s hope this holds true for further experiences.

As much as i have loved writing this post, it has become rather long. Although it has confirmed my beliefs which I was starting to doubt a bit. And then I’ve gone a bit overboard and signed on for two courses on coursera that begin in September, as that’s the last month of my 1st sem. So human of me.