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Trying to live a more minimal and conscious life in search of pure happiness and joy

Real Talk: That Time of the Month



Okay ladies, listen up. I thought I'd do a slightly different post to my normal beauty themed ramblings today but I'm pretty sure it's something we can all relate to on a monthly basis. I'm talking periods. If you're anything like me, they're a hindrance, a monthly dread, a cataclysmic event that I'd rather not have to deal with... ever. But over time I've learned, you really need to take care of yourself and kind of embrace what you're going through. Now I know there's going to be some of you reading this like "wow, don't be so dramatic" and all I have to say is, you must be a lucky one who hasn't had periods that bad. Just to give you a little TMI, I used to pass out from the pain of mine as a teen, they were completely irregular and would happen up to every two weeks, and I just generally would have given anything to get rid of them. Nowadays they've kind of settled down, but they can still make me feel crippled with pain and thus anxiety for work and can still be a major annoyance. And this is why I'm going to share with you all the things I like to do pamper and care wise to make it all a little more smooth sailing.

So first of all let's talk about the whole process a little more. I'm sure we've all been on the receiving end of comments like "oh it must be your time of the month", "have you got the painters in?", "are you on the rag?", "is Aunt Flo visiting?" etc. all because we may have said something sassy or snapped because you know, you can't obviously do these things as a woman unless there's an underlying reason (I digress). But people who say that - do they really understand that if that is the case, and you are "on the rag", you've pretty much got every right to act out? Just to give you some facts: the average woman will spend around 10 years of her life menstruating. That's a total of well over 3,500 days spent "on the rag" - that's a lot of time when you think about it collectively. Your hormones also swing out of control. In the lead up to your period, your oestrogen levels can plummet making you cognitively think more like a man, or you know, you can blub your eyes out because you dropped your toast on the kitchen floor - there seems to be no in between. During your period you also can suffer from iron deficiency which will cause you to feel fatigued, aching, and just down right rough, and oh yeah, there's that little fact of your uterus swelling up up to three times its normal size which also might effect how you're feeling too. This isn't me giving you all the green light to punch your boyfriend in the face or to scream and shout at everyone who might irritate you, but next time someone makes a comment about your actions, you know those actions might be a little justified.

Now let's discuss how you can make this all a little more smooth sailing. First up: tampons and pads. Menstrual cups aren't something that appeals to me so I apologise for having no insight to those ladies, but tampons and pads are something I'm well experienced with. I've always been someone who is happy to just grab and go when I'm shopping for sanitary products but recently, the brilliant company Veeda contacted me and wanted to know if I'd be interested in trying some of their products. Their sanitary products have recently become available in the UK and are now also available in Boots. They are a brand who specialise in 100% natural cotton tampons and it got me thinking... I will read about the chemicals and contents in my hair dye, my skin care, my makeup... but tampons? It never even occurred to me to look at the ingredients. It might sound trivial, but using 100% natural cotton products is good for you - you need to know what you're putting into your body is 100% safe for you and Veeda's products certainly are.

I'm going to state the obvious parts now too - if you don't have a hot water bottle or microwaveable lavender popcorn bag thing, get one. And make sure your cupboards and fridge are stocked to the brim with comforting snacks. I am a notorious snacker anyway, but gorging on chocolate or other naughty but damn tasty treats can make you feel better. A lot of the symptoms you suffer on the lead up to and whilst on your period are the same as those during pregnancy (aches, pains, bloating, hunger/cravings, emotional distress, bad skin etc.) so I say why not make yourself feel better even if its just for those 10 minutes you spend sat on your kitchen floor, scooping nutella out of the jar whilst you mumble about how fat you're getting. If snacks aren't your jam, I'd recommend a bath. This is currently the worst thing for me as my flat doesn't have a bathtub and there's no greater feeling than having a piping hot bath when you're on. Grab a good book or magazine. Take your iPad or laptop in there and watch as many episodes of your fave TV show before the water goes cold. Load up the tub with soothing bath salts or essential oils or, of course, Lush bath products and let it all ease your pain and heightened stress/irritation levels. I find the best time to do this is either if you're having a slow morning and need an instant pick-me-up for the rest of the day, or late at night to calm your aches and pains before bedtime. My fave products for when I do have access to a bath are just a couple of drops of lavender essential oil (or some of the0 Dr. Bronner Lavender castile soap) or if I want to push the boat out, Milky Bath, A French Kiss, and Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment all from Lush strike a good cord with me. Fear not fellow bathtub-less ladies because the best thing about essential oils is that you can also use them in the shower. Just add them to the corner of your shower or the opposite end of your bathtub and the heat and steam of the shower will wake them up and carry the fragrance, making you feel much more at ease.



A good face mask is also a hit with me during this time of the month. Most of us suffer with bad skin during this time so a face mask either when soaking in the tub or relaxing in bed or on the sofa is a good indulgence. My current favourite is The Body Shop's Blue Corn 3 in 1 Mask. This mask is great as it helps draw out all the impurities in your skin so you can really start to tackle the mess your period has made. Whilst wearing this, I like to soak a couple of cotton pads in Liz Earle's Eye Bright Soothing Eye Lotion and whack them on my lids. Lying for 10 minutes with that mask on, those eye pads, and some good music playing can totally improve your mood. Another joy of using this mask is that it doubles up as a scrub so removing it really aids you in feeling like you're scrubbing away those pesky impurities and congested skin ready for your skin to improve once the painters have left.

My last skin care love to do whilst on your period is actually just taking some time out to properly care for it. We all seem to have an interest in skincare routines to some degree, but taking time out to really get to know your skin is so beneficial - particularly during this time when you think you look like a troll. Lisa Eldridge is like my go-to for skincare and makeup and after watching a video of hers a while ago, I picked up a technique she uses which really makes you feel pampered and like you've got a spa at home (I also totally copied her technique in the hopes that I look as hot as her when I'm in my 40s because I mean come on, have you seen her?! Heart eyes. Heart eyes everywhere). So back to this technique. Basically take a cleanser of your choice (I'd recommend something with a slippery or oily consistency as it works best) and you want to add a generous amount to your hands and begin to massage it into you clean, dry, makeup-less face. You can do all sorts of gentle patting, massaging, circular, angular motions you wish - there's no right or wrong ways to do this - but you want to try and do it for as long as you can stomach. I find it nice to do on a pamper evening when you're catching up with TV or watching a film as you don't want to concentrate on what you're doing too much. Just let your hands guide you and massage away for as long as you can or for as long as it doesn't bore you. I've found it really helps to plump up my skin, give it a bit of natural glow and goodness back, and it generally seems to help kickstart my skin healing after it's period breakouts.

If you think about how little time we usually spend cleansing our faces in our routines, can we really say we're getting the most out of our products and seeing the best results? Probably not, therefore this way gives your products a good fighting chance to show you what they're really made of. My all time favourite for this job is the Superfacialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Skin Renew oil cleanser as it is so silky soft and really brightens your skin and gives you some radiance and nourishment. You don't have to go out and buy any fancy or expensive oils for this though. If you're a fan of coconut oil or you are happy to use olive oil or castor oil (both are really good at balancing out the pH levels of your skin and thus improving your skin's condition) I would recommend those just as highly. This also doesn't have to be something you do solely on your period though. I try to do it once a week if not more if I remember/can be bothered to as it does improve the skin. But it's especially nice to do when you feel like shit and hey, if you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe you could convince them to do the massaging for you I mean, I don't want to plant ideas in your head, but if you want to have a full spa-at-home experience...

Periods can be a pain and 100% make us feel like shit 50%+ of the time, but try and take it all in your stride and take some comfort in the fact that you're not alone and like I've told you, you've kind of got scientific fact backing up the fact that you want to punch many people in the face during this dilemma of a time. The best advice I can give though is something my great gran used to say and that is to always make sure you're "put together" and radiate out what you want to soak in. So I say go for the big hair do, whack on that bold lip and cat flick liner if it's gonna make you feel good and even if you do want to moan and complain (which is totally fine, I do it constantly) try to keep it contained a little more or do it in isolation. If you act like a bad bitch who owns the fact that she feels like death but doesn't want anyone to know her uterus is trying to kill her, you will come across as a bad bitch with periods being 0% of her problems. And who doesn't want that confidence showing huh?

- A.
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