Practical Wisdom for a Pain-Free Period
Moon, flowers, period, “Aunt-Flow”, or Mother Nature – whatever you call it, you probably hate it. Who wouldn’t hate feeling like a beached whale for 5-7 days of the month. There you were, skipping merrily along, setting goals and smashing them – and ‘here she comes to wreck the daaaay!’
I know, my cycle used to be the bane of my existence. Some women want to crawl under a rock for a week out of the month – I did it. Religiously. I would grab my blankets and a box of fake cotton ‘napkins’ and not come out for a week. It was the worst. When I wasn’t under a rock I was in an emergency room because the pain was just too much!
Those were the days when I hated my body and I wished to be a man. Not forever, just for a week every month. I think I hated men at the time too because I was so freakin’ jealous of their carefree bloodlessness.
Eventually, I decided that enough was enough. I had goals to get accomplished and sitting around wishing for the impossible wasn’t going to cut it. I also wasn’t about that “victim of circumstance” life. If a pain-free period was possible I was going to turn over every stone until I figured out how.
The first thing I did was research natural things like herbs and essential oils. That was the conception stage of the Queen Maintenance Kit. The herbs worked but I knew I wasn’t gonna walk around like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman with a satchel of herbs in my knapsack all day so I dug even deeper.
Well, not really.
What I really did was think back to all the warnings my great grandmother, aunts and grandma would give me growing up. Things I thought they were crazy and annoying for saying…because what do they know, they’d only had wombs for umpteen thousand years before I got here. When you’re in that much pain, rebellion goes out the window. Maybe, just maybe, they were on to something.
Well, time has definitely taught me one thing – elder black women are always right. Don’t debate this.
Here’s some practical wisdom that my elders tried to hammer into my head (and probably yours too), that actually works for having a pain-free period.
Practical Wisdom for a Pain-Free Period
• Keep something on your feet!
Ideally big fluffy slippers. I bought a pair just for my moon time and they are a life saver! I can actually feel the difference when I’m walking around barefoot on my cycle. There’s not a ton of research out there but what I did find out was that the meridians (energy receiving points) on your feet absorb coldness from the floor. Because the body, specifically the pelvis, is naturally warm, the coldness is a shock to the body that causes pain. Since popping out all these babies, I also notice this achiness in my joints when the seasons change from warm to cold.
So yes, all those warnings of “keep something on ya feet” were for a real, logical reason. A rule of thumb here is, the thicker, the better.
• Stay off your feet as much as possible.
During our cycles it’s easy to want to keep going like we always do. We want to be super woman when the body is really in need of rest. We’re losing a lot of nutrients and going through an intense detox process. It’s best to get as much rest as possible for at least the first two days of your flow – which are usually the heaviest.
• Say NO to dairy
I won’t go all Dr. Sebi on you but, suffice it to say that dairy causes mucous to form in the body, which leads to inflammation – which leads to pain. I know, ice cream is bae (so is cheese), and there’s nothing more comforting than curling up with a pint and a chick flick until the waves subside. But, the pain is literally intensified. Don’t take my word for it, just take notice.
A great alternative – fro-nanas. Blend frozen bananas until they reach ice cream consistency. I like to add a splash of vanilla and a handful of pecans for a Butter Pecan dupe.
Speaking of ice cream…
• Minimize refined sugar intake
It must sound like I’m saying eat rice cakes and broccoli. I’m really not, although that would probably be…no, nevermind. Look, get some honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar – there are options out here. The refined white sugar is bad for our bodies on a regular day. It depletes the body of much-needed minerals and has the same effect as crack on our brains. (I’ve never had crack I just know the scientists have done the research – ask them about that). During your monthly is not the time you want to be depleted.
• Ditch the Commercial Pads
This one has a double effect. Not only will it help alleviate the pain, it’ll also help you have lighter cycles. The chemicals in commercial pads and tampons are scary, to say the least. They can lead to a whole host of issues like fibroids, cancers, inflammation, heavy bleeding, etc.
Many women I’ve talked with have found serious relief using silicon cups, crotcheted tampons and even sea sponge. I make my own cloth pads and I love them. They’re a bit more high maintenance but so am I so it doesn’t bother me. I talked about my experience switching to cloth pads HERE. Natural options are much more comfortable and allow your body to breathe. Read this post for more non-toxic products to add to your feminine health routine.
• Eat More Greens
The root cause of cramping is too much acidity in the muscle tissue. We also feel pain when the body is starved for minerals and other nutrients. Eating more dark, leafy greens can fix both of those problems by providing your body with adequate amounts of nutrition and also alkalizing your tissues.
No one wants to eat spinach when they’re really craving chocolate but you do want to feel less pain, don’t you?
• Use A Warm Compress
One of my favorite moon cycle rituals is laying in bed with a warm compress, a bowl of fruit, and a good movie. Yes, that is a legitimate ritual. I have a lasagna style system for my heating situation. I told you a few tips back how the body needs to stay warm, well, this is a direct heat applied right to the uterine muscles. I coat a paper towel in Royal Moon Oil, an infusion of castor oil, evening primrose oil and nerve calming oils like lavender and geranium. I lay that directly on my belly and put a warm, damp towel on top of it. Finally, I put an electric heating pad on top of the whole thing and feel the wonderful soothey-ness seep through my pores and envelope my entire body. Yes, I’m extra.
• Stay out of the Cold
Some women wonder why their cycles are more painful in the winter months or when we’re in cold places (like those offices that feel like meat lockers!) It goes back to the body needing to be warm. Be sure to bundle up really well if you must go out into the cold. Bring a warm tea in a nice thermos. Ginger tea is excellent for warming the body, adding cinnamon helps as well.
It seems like drinking more water is the answer to all of our problems. Want clear skin? Drink more water. Want snatched and flourishing edges? Drink more water. Water is our fuel. It helps all of our systems work properly. While losing blood and nutrients, it’s easy to get dehydrated, which can lead to a whole host of issues – including pain. Do your best to drink your body weight in ounces of water. Room temperature is best because it’s easier for your body to absorb and that whole warmth piece.