During your period, it’s all too easy to feel stressed and self-conscious. Whether it’s painful cramping, a heavy flow, extreme mood swings or feeling exhausted, there are all sorts of period symptoms that will play havoc with your body and your mind. 

Luckily, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle to take better care of yourself during your period.

In the post below, we’ve listed five easy ways to increase your menstrual mindfulness; read on for help on how to stay calm and confident during your period. 

Always have a mini period kit packed

One of the dead-cert things that will make us instantly feel flustered and stressed when it comes to our period is when it appears unexpectedly. With no warning. It’s the worst. Whether you’re in work, out on a date, or jogging through the park, there is literally no good time for a surprise period. 

What makes it even worse is if you don’t have any supplies in your handbag and you have to go around your office asking your female coworkers for a tampon, or rely on the kindness of a stranger in the ladies’ bathroom.

Being prepared with a mini emergency period kit stashed away somewhere will help you feel more calm and confident should your period suddenly appear. It doesn’t have to be big — just a little purse full of useful things like tampons and pads. You can even include tissues, feminine freshness wipes, or a heat pad for cramps if you want. Just be sure to put in your bag or somewhere safe that you’ll have easy access to.

If your period seems to be irregular a lot, then you might want to look into the common causes of irregular periods and possibly see a doctor.

Wear clothes that will make you feel confident

It may sound obvious, but wearing clothes that are uncomfortable or make you feel self-conscious when you’re on your period will only cause you to feel more stressed when your emotions are already running high. 

Instead, go for clothes that make you feel calm — wear your favorite outfits and things that make you happy and comfortable.

On a practical note as well, the risk of leaking on your period can cause plenty of stress — as well as embarrassing stains. So let’s veto those white jeans for the week and stick to dark or patterned pants.

Investing in a quality pair of leakproof period pants like these ones from Knix will help to keep you protected against awkward stains — they can absorb up to two tampons-worth of liquid and are odor-crushing too. Hello calm and confident you!

Make sure you exercise regularly 

Sometimes, exercise is the last thing you want to do when you’re on your period. If you’re feeling drained of energy and you’re cramping like crazy, then the last thing you want to do is head out for a jog. But did you know that exercise can alleviate period symptoms like cramping and mood swings, helping you to stay calm during your period?

Exercise releases endorphins (happy chemicals) in your brain, which reduces your stress levels and balances your mood. It even acts as a painkiller, increasing the flow of blood to your muscles (particularly your uterine muscles), and tackling soreness and cramping. Basically, everything you need when you’re menstruating!

You don’t have to sign up to a high-intensity fitness class to feel the benefits either; a more gentle activity like swimming or yoga will do the job, and help you to feel calmer during your period.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water

During menstruation, we can often feel bloated and heavy, which impacts our confidence and makes us feel stressed.

This bloatedness comes from the water retention in your body caused by the hormone changes you experience during your period. And the best way to beat this? Drinking plenty of water!

Drinking water may seem counter-intuitive when you’re struggling with water retention, but it really does make a difference. It works by flushing your system and restoring your sodium balance (which helps your body to give up the water it has been retaining). 

So if you want to feel more confident and comfortable during your period, then make sure you keep up that water bottle topped up throughout the day!

Another top tip: stay away from caffeinated drinks like coffee and coke. Caffeine makes your bloating much worse, and can even exacerbate cramps. Not what you want.

Eat the right food — and stay away from the wrong food

The type of food you eat while you’re on your period can make a big difference to how you feel, and definitely affects your confidence levels. 

It may be tempting to binge on chocolate, ice-cream, and fatty junk food when you’re cramping and need some comfort. But in actual fact, this stuff is so bad for your body: the wrong food can make you feel bloated, tired, irritable and make your period pimples worse.

Treat your body with the respect that it deserves when you’re menstruating, and stock up on plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating healthily means your body will get the vitamins and minerals it needs to regulate your period and ward off painful period symptoms.

If you’re still craving something sweet, you could nibble on a small amount of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) is rich in magnesium, which helps your body to regulate your mood swings, boost happiness levels, reduce muscle tension and help with bloating. 

Follow these tips to add some menstrual mindfulness to your life, and you’ll find staying calm and confident during your period much, much easier.