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. But it doesn’t have to be like that. With the right preparation, you’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 you’re anticipating getting your period during the holiday season, it’s best to stay calm and read this helpful list for tips on how to mentally and physically prepare for your period during the holidays.
Do you know exactly what day your period will be arriving? If not, this is totally something you can plan for. Start by using a period tracking app — or track your menstrual cycle using Kt’s free printable period tracker — and record the dates of your cycle. After a few months you’ll have enough data to know exactly how long your individual cycle is. (For most people, the average is 28 days.) Once you’re armed with that information, you can prepare by wearing leakproof period panties on the day your period is scheduled to arrive so you aren't caught by surprise.
Wear comfortable clothing
The holidays are already peak cozy season — aka the chill in the air has likely already made you want to curl up inside where it’s warm with a steaming mug of hot chocolate — so why not use this as an excuse to bust out your softest, comfiest clothes? (The Danish call this ‘hygge’ and it’s become a whole thing.) In fact, getting your period during the holidays might be such a bad thing since you’re likely already wanting to bundle up. Stick to elastic waistband pants or dresses that have a free-floating midriff so you 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 you may be so tired when you’re on your period. Help jumpstart your energy levels by eating plenty of foods that are rich in iron, like spinach or beans, or taking an iron supplement or multivitamin. The extra nutrients will help add some pep to your step when you need it the most.
Indulge your cravings
Heightened levels of progesterone in the body can stimulate appetite when you’re on your period, which helps explain the midnight cravings for chips and ice cream. In this sense, getting your period on the holidays might actually be good timing since there are more delicious snacks than usually sitting around waiting to be devoured. If you start to look into cycle syncing, the practice of attuning your diet and exercise routine to your hormone levels, you’ll realize it’s good to give yourself plenty of leeway when it comes to eating on your period. If you want that extra helping of gravy, go for it.
If you have a lot of family activities or social gatherings to attend during the holidays, the last you want is period cramps, ahem, cramping your style. It’s always a good idea to keep a small stash of ibuprofen or Advil with you so you can feel relief from the pain and get back to being your 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 yourself leeway
More than anything, it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself to do anything you’re not comfortable doing. If you’re feeling moody and irritable, that’s okay. Don’t force yourself to be bright and sunny if that’s not how you’re feeling. If your period cramps are debilitating, ask someone if it’s okay to lie down. Treat yourself with the generosity and care that you give to others during the holiday season.