The holiday season can be stressful at the best of times — add a period into the mix and the combination of family obligations, exam season, and endless cheer might feel like too much to handle for your teen. But it doesn’t have to be like that. With the right preparation, they'll be better equipped to enjoy this special time of year without worrying about painful cramps or embarrassing leaks.
Ultimately, periods are natural and going to happen no matter what, so worrying about them usually isn’t worth the stress. If your teen is anticipating getting their period during the holiday season, it’s best to stay calm and read this helpful list for tips on how they can mentally and physically prepare for their period during the holidays.
Do they know exactly what day their period will be arriving? If not, this is totally something they can plan for. They should start by using a period tracking app — or track their menstrual cycle using Kt’s free printable period tracker — and record the dates of their cycle. After a few months they'll have enough data to know exactly how long their individual cycle is. (For most people, the average is 28 days.) Once they're armed with that information, they can prepare by wearing leakproof period panties on the day their period is scheduled to arrive so they aren't caught by surprise. (They're comfy enough to wear every day if it gives them even more peace of mind.)
Wear comfortable clothing
The holidays are already peak cozy season — aka the chill in the air has likely already made you all want to curl up inside where it’s warm with a steaming mug of hot chocolate — so why not use this as an excuse for them to bust out their softest, comfiest clothes? (The Danish call this ‘hygge’ and it’s become a whole thing.)
In fact, getting a period during the holidays might not be such a bad thing since they're likely already wanting to bundle up and stay cozy on the couch. They can stick to elastic waistband pants or dresses that have a free-floating midriff so they can enjoy the seasonal cakes and cookies and not worry about the extra bloat that happens around period time.
Take iron supplements
The average menstruator loses around 2 oz of blood during their period, or 2.7 oz if they have a heavy flow. Blood contains iron and low levels of iron in the body can cause fatigue, which explains in part why your teen may be so tired when they're on their period. Help them jumpstart energy levels by serving plenty of foods that are rich in iron, like spinach or beans, or have them take an iron supplement or multivitamin. The extra nutrients will help add some pep to their step when they need it the most.
Indulge their cravings
Heightened levels of progesterone in the body can stimulate appetite when your teen is on their period, which helps explain the midnight cravings for chips and ice cream. In this sense, getting their period on the holidays might actually be good timing since there are more delicious snacks than usually sitting around waiting to be devoured.
If your teen is interested in the idea of cycle syncing, the practice of attuning their diet and exercise routine to hormone levels, they'll realize it’s good to give yourself plenty of leeway when it comes to eating on your period. If they want that extra helping of gravy, they should go for it.
If your family has a lot of activities or social gatherings to attend during the holidays, the last thing they'll want is period cramps, ahem, cramping their style. It’s always a good idea to keep a small stash of ibuprofen or Advil with you so they can feel relief from the pain and get back to being their vibrant self. Click here for tips on how to build the ultimate period survival kit, which will come in extra-handy during the holidays.
Give them leeway
More than anything, it’s important for them to listen to their body and not push themself to do anything they're not comfortable doing. If they're feeling moody and irritable, that’s okay. Don’t force them to be bright and sunny if that’s not how they're feeling. If their period cramps are debilitating, tell them it's okay to lie down. Treat them with the same generosity and care that you give to others during the holiday season.