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How I Take Care Of Myself During My Periods

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This post is a part of Periodपाठ, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC to highlight the need for better menstrual hygiene management in India. Click here to find out more.

Menstruating is hard and even herculean for some. Periods are painful, uncomfortable, wet and make the life of the individual menstruating a slow-burning living hell. 

Selfcare and self-love are essential parts of our lives and somewhere we often forget the importance of self-care during our periods. Self-care is necessary during Menstruation. Self-care can be of multiple types and it can be done in various ways. It can be eating that extra dark chocolate cookie or sleeping an extra hour. It can be watching your favourite movie or reading your favourite book. 

Ways to comfort and care for yourself during Menstruation:

period care
Hot water bags, traditional or electronic ones, either of them works wonders with cramps.

Using soothing and calming scents (I prefer something very soothing). While bathing, take hot showers, with cologne or anything fragrant that you prefer. Putting a bit of that hot water on your tummy and back helps with clearing of clots. Hot water is the go-to companion for any individual who is bleeding. Drinking lukewarm water during periods is one of the many things our mother and grandmothers have always taught us.

Eating dark chocolate during our periods satisfies us and our stomach. It helps to reduce cramp and even uplifts mood. 

If you’re a reader or a movie lover, resting and watching your favourite movie is one of the most comforting things to do besides sleeping during your periods. Watching my favourite movie and resting is one of my favourite things to do during my cycle.

Hot water bags, traditional or electronic ones, either of them works wonders with cramps. However, it is recommended to cover the bag with a cotton cloth before directly placing it over your body.

Now the weird one: make yourself orgasm. Yeah, masturbating helps a lot with the pain. The cleanest way to do that is in the shower with hot water. Hot showers are not only incredible for your cramps but also for masturbating. Hot showers are an excellent place to take out and clean your menstrual cups.

Menstruation doesn’t come alone. It brings its friends with it. Premenstrual syndrome is one of it’s closest and oldest friends. It comes right before your cycle and makes you feel almost period-like symptoms. Handling it too can be challenging and difficult. It’s essential to make a few changes during this time of the month.  

One of the most important things an individual can do is change their diet and reduce and cut out on their junk food intake. A nutrition-rich and healthy diet might help because of the nutrients and antioxidants in them. Eating a well balanced yummy meal will make you feel full and also probably lessen junk food cravings. 

Drinking herbal and caffeine-free teas help. Mothers always tell their menstruating daughters to drink warm water or tea to soothe their period cramps. Drinking caffeine-free tea is the way to go — green tea, Ginger tea, Chamomile tea, to name a few. Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your teas will only enhance the flavour and adding honey instead of artificial sweetener is a great alternative. 

Meditation, stretching, yoga or light exercises might help your lighter cramps. They also relax you further and divert your mind from the uncomfortable feeling you might be feeling during your menstrual cycle. My grandma always said, “Beta, Yoga se sab hoga,” and seems like it works for Menstruation too. Light yoga videos for cramps are easily accessible and available on the internet and are rather popular with many. 

Taking rest is the quintessential need during periods. Sleeping proper 8 hours, catching small cat naps during the day. Resting when needed is essential. Resting properly during your cycle should not be skipped. 

Selfcare isn’t all about taking care of your body. Doing what makes you happy, baking healthy homemade desserts to munch, applying your favourite strawberry sheet mask, etc. is self-care too. Selfcare is to feel better about yourself, your body and your being. 

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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