That time of the month. Not the most glamorous of topics - it is a time we all seek to keep on the down low, but with spots, greasy hair and bloating to contend with, not to mention the monthly emergence of the psycho (just me?), it isn’t that easy. And those ridiculous adverts promoting menstruation as a ‘nice’ time don’t help. “Have a happy period”? Oh do fuck off now, there’s a dear.
(images purchased from shutterstock)
I used to think that as I got older, it would get easier. I was wrong. The giant sized tummy, leaving friends wondering if I am in fact not up the duff again. The monthly acne, grey skin and hair that looks as though it was last washed circa ’98. In chip fat. Hot, hot, HOT I am sure you will agree.
Fortunately you don’t get to the ripe old age of thirty two without learning some darned good tricks to make the whole thing just a bit easier. No pretty adverts with blue skies and white shorts, no happy girls in their knickers bounding around – because of course that is what we want to do when it feels like our intestines are weighted down with rocks - just some decent advice to make the whole thing a bit more bearable:
- Learn to love Lavender: Yes I know it is a ‘marmite’ product. Yes it does smell just a bit like Nana’s. Yes, I am serious.
Lavender is one of the few essential oils scientifically proven to have genuinely beneficial properties, including being relaxing, soothing and pain relieving. I am not advocating replacing your usual L’Occitane with nothing but France’s finest purple, but I promise just two drops of Lavender Essential Oil (I get mine from a client but you can get yours anywhere – just look for a certified organic one to get the best quality) on your hot water bottle cover will bring down your bloating and cramps in minutes.
Put a small drop onto a cotton wool bud and dab it onto that hormone spot before bed and it’s anti-inflammatory property will go to work on it overnight, making it less belisha beacon, more tiny blemish.
- Have a glass of Red Wine (honestly)...: Packed full of antioxidants, one or two glasses can help bring down blood pressure, protect the skin from free radicals and (here is the real kicker) the alcohol can reportedly help regulate the production of insulin, stopping the cravings for sugary crap otherwise so irresistible when hormones demand it.
Be warned though – more than two glasses and you risk puffy eyes and grey skin as a result of your body retaining too much water, already an issue. Know your limits. I NEVER go over four bottles a night. And I look great (ahem).
- ....With a Steak and Chips: If you fancy it, have your wine with a steak – the iron in red meat is critical to keep you from that sluggish, knackered feeling, especially in the first couple of days. Cut the fat off and grill it to keep the calorie content down and serve it with oven baked fries if you get salty food cravings.
Some of you may think that potatoes represent the enemy; I say bollocks to that. I never did like Atkins, I refuse to believe in that rubbish. Spuds offer a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid. No, I don’t know what half of those mean either but they sound like they will help. A good thing, I am sure you agree.
- Get an Extra Pillow: If you are anything like me, the hormonal fluctuations will show in one place first. Your face. I hold water like nobody’s business, especially around the eyes, giving me puffy peepers and pillow cheeks. Nice. The answer is not to lie around with slices of cucumber (who seriously has the time). Get thee an extra pillow. Lying slightly upwards will help with drainage and prevent the extra fluids collecting in your eye sockets. I love the luxury Cotton Pillows from Soak and Sleep, £14.56.
If you do have the time I would also try ‘Buffy the Eye Bag Slayer’, from £3.15 by Anatomicals. It’s a quick to use eye mask that really does make a difference. And even if it doesn’t, it feels nice, and what feels nice at this point in time is essential as far as I am concerned.
- Wear a kick-arse Red Lipstick: Red? At this time of month? Male advertising executives around the globe are at this very moment cringing in horror at the idea – how euphemistic of me. But it is actually a very good suggestion.
Firstly, red is a powerful colour that packs a punch. Nobody can feel down with a killer pillar-box pout on the go and it works as a damned good warning that you are not in the mood to be mucked with. Secondly, it is also very distracting. If your skin or eyes are less than perfect, a fire-engine lipstick will pull focus from weaker areas and leave you looking polished, even if you feel like crap. Try MAC Ruby Woo, £15 .
Failing the above, there is of course a final way. You will require the following:
- A onesie, preferably four sizes too large with ears
- A large vat of Ben and Jerry’s
- A box set
- An evening in which you refuse to do anything except lie on the sofa, with the above plus some industrial strength painkillers
- The entire known universe to fuck off and die
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.