Right, this is tricky to write – because, as we are all constantly told by advertising, your period is no big deal! NBD at ALL. Why not slap on a pair of white lycra shorts, befriend a troop of chihuahuas and go rollerblading with them?
On the other hand, we know that handing a woman a bar of chocolate and sticking a chick-flick on Netflix just because her uterus happens to be shedding its lining is a little bit patronising.
The truth is, we all have good period days and bad period days. And if you have a friend who’s battling through a bad one, here’s a care package you can put together for her that (hopefully) won’t make her feel like a useless lump – either because you’re stereotyping her or making her feel bad for not cartwheeling about athletically. You are such a lovely person.
(Incidentally, this is a mix-and-match list. No one’s saying you have to get the whole lot, unless you have just won the lottery – in which case, forget the kit and take your friend to Miami or something).
My BFF doesn’t get period pains. During her Moon Time she will literally put her hand on her abdomen ONCE, frown, go “ooh” and then forget about it. Assuming YOUR BFF isn’t a robot, period pains will probably raise their head at least once in her cycle. They can be awful, but just two paracetamol can help to take care of the pain (make sure your friend can safely take paracetamol first, though – and if the pain is so bad that she has to stay in bed, it’s worth seeing a doctor, just FYI).
Obviously it can be hard to stay hydrated when you’re roller-blading with chihuahuas all day, but dehydration can actually worsen that bloated feeling that can accompany your period – so include a pretty water bottle in your care package.
Increased testosterone makes your skin produce more sebum (calm down, it means oil) which is what causes the delightful increase in spots that can announce the arrival of your period. More sebum on your scalp can make your hair slightly greasy during this time, but a hair-wash might seem like a huge chore when your friend’s in the throes of cramps and rabid hunger. However, a quick spritz of a travel-sized dry shampoo will sort all that out quick-smart.
Tea tree oil
To dab on, and dry out, aforementioned spots. Not that she has any spots! Nope. There’s, like, literally nothing there at all babe…
Cute cheap undies
One of the things that can be most depressing about your period is the ritual wearing of stained grey pants for the best part of a week. But why bother with these when Primark sells pants in soul-lifting colours for less than the price of a Frappuccino?
Period pains can strike all over the place at once – like your lower back and your abdomen – so pop a couple of these portable Fairisle jobbies in her care package for when the cramps strike.
A snack box
Frequent snacking can keep your blood sugar stable and avoid energy dips and the emotional highs and lows that come with them. Pack her up some tasty snacks rich in fibre and protein (and yes ok, chocolate), so she doesn’t have to crawl to the kitchen too often.
Dark chocolate (a bit) and normal chocolate (a lot)
Dark chocolate is packed full of mood-boosting and stress-busting nutrients, plus magnesium (which can help relax your muscles), iron (which can run low during your period), and potassium (which can help cramps). But while dark chocolate can be good for you, milk chocolate makes you happy because it tastes so nice. So don’t skimp here, get both – unless your BFF hates chocolate, in which case you might have to be noble and eat it yourself.
At some point your friend MAY want to spend some quality time with her sofa. NOT because the stereotype is correct, but because periods can be exhausting and sofa time is a basic human right. So, if she’s a very good friend, why not get her a pair of PJ shorts to lounge around in? Your body temperature can rise by a full degree during your period, so bundling up in a fleecy onesie is out of the question. Oh yes, and make sure they have an elasticated waistband, like these from H&M.
Fish and chips
Fish is full of Vitamin B6, which can help with cramps, cravings, fatigue, bloating and mood swings. And chips are full of deliciousness, which they deserve.
A bouquet made from tampons and sanitary pads
Because everybody loves spares!
And finally, text her a few links
But not kitten gifs or anything. Text her something that will really make her angry – like examples of bad grammar on Twitter, or some random trolling of her favourite celebrity. Because, if she’s anything like me, before and during her period there will be MOUNDS of pent-up aggression floating around her psyche and she’ll thank you for helping her to get it out.
Move the water bottle first, maybe.
If you want the same wonderful thought but with loads less effort, you’ll be able to sign up for bettybox very soon. Watch this space!