Maintaining a Healthy Menstrual Cycle During Quarantine
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
After our recent feminine product fundraiser*, it felt fitting to include an article about the importance of menstrual health in isolation. At this point, most of us are in our third or maybe even fourth month of social distancing, which means those of us with regular menstrual cycles have probably menstruated three to five times in quarantine. Why does this matter? Well, the way we deal with menstruation in isolation is fundamentally different from the way we do normally, especially when it comes to our physical and mental coping mechanisms.
For many, menstruation is accompanied by physical complications such as muscle cramps, headaches, acne, bloating, and food cravings. Although staying home may seem like a good way to deal with these symptoms, it has some serious implications. Exercising is an easy, medication-free way to manage menstrual pain; you’re less inclined to do so when all of your daily activity is done on the computer. You have easy, unlimited access to unhealthy food, which can actually make your pain more severe. Most importantly, staying home without much work to do puts all of your focus on your pain. Along with reducing your productivity, this focus makes menstrual pain harder to endure.
Social distancing can also have negative effects on mental health**, especially while menstruating. Fluctuating hormone levels cause mood swings that are amplified by isolation: there are few distractions from depressing thoughts and fewer opportunities to talk to someone who can help you regulate your emotions. Lethargic activity (such as binge-watching The Office for five hours) can lead to demotivation and suicidal thoughts during menstruation.
And so the question is: how do I prevent these symptoms? The answer lies more in your brain than it does in your body. Although keeping yourself hydrated and eating healthy foods is key in maintaining menstrual health, a lot of the pain subsides by simply directing your focus somewhere else. Exercise, meditation/yoga, or even arts and crafts are great ways to distract yourself from menstrual pain. Share your emotions with a friend or a trustworthy member of your family. Take up a hobby you’re passionate about. Done right, these methods may even make you forget you’re menstruating.
*Want to help us donate feminine products to our underprivileged sisters? Contribute to our GoFundMe here!