The first time I got my period I was a tiny 11-year-old. I remember laying on my stomach on my twin size bed doing my very boring social studies homework. Trust me when I say every girl remembers her first period. I got up to go to the bathroom and "WHOA" there was a gush of blood all over my underwear. No, I wasn't shocked or scared 'cause my older sister gave me a heads up earlier. Now, the funny thing is I never experienced the typical symptoms of monthly periods. I never had cramps, I always crave chocolate (who doesn't?), I'm usually overly dramatic and emotional. So I thought I got lucky. My teenager years were blissful...until I hit twenty.
It was a hot and sweaty June morning, I woke up in unbelievable pain. I was holding my stomach and couldn't even leave the bed because I knew that if I even tried getting up the pain would get worse. Luckily, my mother was there to save the day. She brought me an Advil and began rubbing my stomach, but my mind was elsewhere. I never experienced this much pain before and since then I've been making sure that my cramps don't get to that point. Ever. Like ever.
I did some research and to be honest, I didn't really have access to any of their "healing" methods, only a few. I didn't feel the need to get on birth control, knowing the side effects of taking the pill wouldn't work for me. So I did my best and I went with what I call "the little things".
1. Tea drinking + juices: This is my go-to method when it comes to preventing cramps. A couple days before my expected period (according to my trusty period app), I make some tea. I grab a mug, boil some water, stick any kind of tea bag in, throw in a cinnamon stick, add some honey and I'm good to go. I also like to drink some orange juice, vitamin C is important when it comes to adding nutrients into the body, so get a juicer and make some juice!
2. I like to get some exercise in. As a college student, I can get lazy really quickly. You don't have to go to the gym or start jogging, just doing some yoga and walking frequently can be a huge help. I started walking more lately, mainly for running errands and I noticed a difference a few a days before my period. No severe cramping. Literally - do a squat while watching your favorite show.
3. Add some food, like bananas. Bananas are great! Apparently, they prevent bloating and have plenty of potassium. I love adding bananas to my diet. The first day of my period I usually have one banana with some tea, which helps me feel okay through the afternoon. You'd be surprised, but peanut butter is the best thing that prevents cramps for me. I eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with a big silver spoon and I'm fully satisfied. I just make sure that the PB I'm buying doesn't have a lot of sugar in it. So try finding the organic kind at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods! And lastly, dark chocolate! It might not be milk chocolate (which we all know and love), but dark chocolate has plenty of benefits and it's perfect for those monthly cravings (or everyday). Yeah, I prefer everyday.
I know three things isn't a lot, but they're the little things. The little things are what matter.
About the author: 21 year old college student living in New York City. Occasional coffee drinker (more like addict).