This may be the most “taboo” post we could write but it's something that needs to be discussed for two reasons. The first is so that females know they are not alone in this and secondly, for our male counterparts to get a better understanding of what we go through once a month. Yep, we’re going talk about our friend 'Flo' and her monthly visit.
I personally know when it’s coming, not because I track it and know my body or anything like most females do. I know because my whole demeanor changes. The week leading up I am quiet, reserved and don’t have any motivation to do anything but eat A LOT.
After I have gained 10 lbs. in chocolate and have cut myself off socially from the world, Flo comes to visit and I get hit with a brick wall in my stomach. This makes me the most unpleasant person to be around, and who really wants to be around someone who is in so much pain they can’t walk?
Here’s some advice that I wish someone told me before I got into the business when it comes to the emotional/physical hurdles that come when you are menstruating.
1. Keep snacks handy.
You know the phrase HANGRY? Well that’s me x1000. I keep snacks in my desk just for a quick pick-me-up between meals so that I don’t turn into a monster. Some of my favorite snacks are Trail Mix (with chocolate chips of course), Quest Bars and popcorn.
2. Always be prepared.
I remember in my first year of work I unexpectedly started my cycle and it was back when I wore the stereotypical khaki pants and a polo. It was a disaster. I had a game that night and didn’t have a chance to go home and change. I ended up rocking a sweatshirt tied around my waist for an outdoor game in Florida. I looked ridiculous.
3. If you won't be mad about it in five days, don’t be mad about it right now.
So this is something that I need to work on all the time. I get so emotional during my cycle sometimes and jump off the deep end and it’s usually uncontrollable. That’s when I step back and take a deep breath and think, "if this isn’t going to still upset me in a week, I need to shake it off right now."
4. Keep meds and a heating pad handy.
I always travel with a heating pad with my teams just in case. Last year I woke up in the hotel with cramps so bad that I couldn’t stand up because of the pain in my back. Thankfully my roommate for road trips is our athletic trainer, so she helped me. Since then I always make sure my heating pad is packed in my suitcase. The same goes for Midol or Ibuprofen.
Okay so this doesn’t have to be tied to that time of the month. But if you smile more, even when you are having a bad day or are in pain, it forces others to think you are okay. And hopefully in turn you will be okay.
6. Don't be embarrassed.
If you are suffering from horrible cramps or other PMS/cycle-related symptoms, don't feel bad. There are some days where you'll absolutely need to fight through the pain and discomfort, but there are moments when communication will be key. It might be difficult to tell your boss (especially a male boss) that you need to work from home for the afternoon or explain why you are crying for no reason (it happens!), but periods are a fact of life and they aren't anything you can control.