Familiarizing yourself with the unfamiliar

By Alma Bengio

We all remember exactly when and where we got our first periods. I was on a train on my way to a skiing trip, I literally thought it was the end of the world. I thought the cramps wouldn’t allow me to ski. I thought wearing a pad would add more discomfort. I even thought that I wouldn’t be able to dress how I wanted to in case I got stained. I clearly didn’t have enough information about what having my period entails, but no one really felt comfortable to talk about it then. So when I found out that the cramps don’t have to be all that bad, pads do their job quite well, and I could ski just fine, getting my period stopped being as daunting as I thought it would be. 

It’s all about familiarising yourself with the unfamiliar. You’re a menstruator, your body naturally goes through a cycle once a month that inevitably affects your hormone levels and physical state. But that’s fine, you just have to deal with it! How? Chocolate usually does the trick for me. But guilty pleasures aside, what’s helped me the most is understanding what goes on internally in order to be able to deal with it externally. Things like: why am I bloated? Why do I not feel like talking to anyone? Why am I more tired? Rather than fighting and resenting my body for what it naturally does, I give in to the process and just indulge in some pleasures like watching feel-good movies, eating more, changing up the workout, or not exercising at all, and overall resting as needed. The more you reject that your body is going through changes and needs attention, the more you will struggle with it. So, as my 14 year-old-self so clearly lacked, form your understanding in order to be able to embrace the changes and deal with them accordingly.

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