How To Have An Enjoyable Period

I recently did a few different podcast interviews and periods always come up (of course!). One other theme I saw was the mention of how inconvenient periods are no matter what. We did chat about menstrual cups and period panties though, which was really cool. But even with these helpful period products, the consensus was still that periods are an inconvenience.

This made me sad at first, but showed me I still have work to do when it comes to changing the narrative around women’s health and that’s okay. I’m willing to do that work and continue to spread this message.

I’m going to dig into 3 areas that I think are essential when it comes to enjoying your period. Let’s get started!

1. Embrace The Rest

Women are cyclical creatures (men are too), but we have very different cycles than men. Men live on a 24 hour cycle. Their testosterone has 3 main shifts during the day. It’s highest in the morning (cue morning erection), declines a bit mid afternoon, then declines one more time in the late evening. It’s very similar to their cortisol (stress hormone pattern).

Men’s testosterone actually fluctuates more than women’s sex hormones. Who’s the hormonal sex now?!

Women live on a 28 day infradian rhythym that is tied to our monthly menstrual cycle that has 4 major hormone shifts: menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. Our infradian clock influences our brain chemistry and physiology. Learning to live with this rhythm rather than against it is key for a happy period.

When it comes to the menstrual phase, it’s all about embracing rest. I know this can be hard (trust me, I fought against this for a long time), but once you connect with your cycles, start tracking, and know that rest is coming, it’s actually really nice.

During your period, your hormones are at their lowest, your two brain hemispheres are more communicative, and your body is less resilient to stress. You’re literally shedding a layer so it’s best to avoid workouts or participate in gentle movement the first couple days (or at least on your heaviest day), prioritize extra sleep, and know that it’s just a phase. You can get back to your typical schedule in a few days.

I break down each phase in more detail in my free healthy period guide.

I personally look at my period like a mini vacation. I still work, but I make sure I don’t have anything scheduled at night, skip my workout so I can sleep in a bit, and only use my phone when absolutely necessary (you will rarely see me post on SM during this time).

Rest during your period is unique to you. I recommend making a period plan for your next period. What will your day look like? Plan it out and see if it helps you enjoy this time more.

I think part of why it’s so hard to rest during our period is because our world isn’t set up for it. We are expected to show up as the same versions of ourselves everyday, but in reality–that’s not how the female body works. We live on a 24 hour male cycle, but as women, this goes against our natural rhythm. I hope this gives you perission to embrace rest and enjoy your period more.

Finding The Favorite Period Products For YOU

Finding period products that I enjoy, are convenient, and don’t cause me pain were a gamechanger for my period. I love menstrual cups for the days of my period when I do workout, but the first couple of days I only use period panties.

You may be weirded out by period panties if you have tried them, but they are SO absorbant and comfortable during a time that can be pretty uncomfortable if you don’t have the right products to manage your flow.

I linked a podcast above on menstrual cups. I personally love ModiBodi period panties. I have found their heaviest pair to absorb and hold a lot more blood than other brands. They are also a bit cheaper (but still amazing quality)​

I do have clients that workout in period panties, but I personally haven’t. I do use their period thongs though. They don’t hold a ton of blood, but are perfect for the last day of my period and to use while I’m wearing a menstrual cup just in case.

I have some clients that use their cup during the day but period panties at night. I love that women are finding what works for them and allows them to be the most comfortable during their period.

Prepping For Your Period

The two key areas you want to prep for are:

1. Healthy treats and nourishing foods.

You will have less energy during the first few days of your period. I personally like to make a casserole, overnight oats, and yummy foods that I know will allow me to feel my best during my period. I typically make a casserole type dish the week before and freeze it. I’ve also had times where I didn’t plan ahead and instead kept easy meal ingredients on hand.

This is also a great time to utilize healthy convenience foods:

  • frozen cooked rice or potatoes
  • frozen cauliflower rice
  • premade burgers/turkey burgers/meatballs/stir fry mixes
  • pre-chopped/shredded veggies
  • dressings, sauces, marinades, spice blends

Don’t be a super hero during your period. Remember, your body is doing a lot of work. It’s okay to cut some corners and make life easier. It’s also okay (and encouraged) to ask for help! My partner knows that when I have my period, I’m taking a break and things are not going to be as they usually are. Having this communication and being on the same page as made embracing rest so much easier.

2. Period pain back up.

I truly hope you do not struggle with period pain, but if you do (or sometimes do) it’s important to have back up.

Period Pain Toolkit:

  • Ginger root: I keep fresh ginger root in the fridge and make tea out of it (using about 1-2″ piece, chopped–just add hot water and let steep for a few minute then strain).
  • Heating pad: I use a heating pad even if I don’t have cramps because it’s cozy and makes me feel more relaxed, but it’s also really helpful to relieve cramps. I have an electronic one I got on Amazon for like $15. Totally worth it and its lasted years!
  • Crampbark: This a great herb you can keep on hand and take if you feel cramps coming on.
  • Magnesium: The magical mineral that is good for everything. You can double your intake the week leading up to your period to avoid or reduce cramps. If you struggle with headaches or migraines, you can also take a serving as soon as you feel one coming on. It’s a lifesaver!
  • Rest: Building in some time to rest and relax when your first get your period can help reduce pain and inflammation.

I hope this gives you some perspective on how you can enjoy your period if you don’t already!

Want to learn even more about period pain and how to manage it? Check out my podcast episode Period Pain Toolkit

And if you haven’t already make sure to sign up for my weekly Feminine Periodical Newsletter.

reminder: i’m currently taking on 1:1 clients. if you’d like to explore what it would be like to work together and if we are a good fit, fill out this form to get more details!​

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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