Dealing with your period can be tricky at the best of times, not to mention when you’re a dancer! We all remember the first time we got our periods - I got mine for the very first time in the bathrooms when I was at the Royal Ballet School when I had just moved to London and I was completely lost! While it did take a bit of trial and error (and a few embarrassing moments), I eventually found a few things that helped me stay confident and comfortable - even when I was in the studio. Here are my top 5 tips for dealing with your period as a dancer.
Sometimes your period can come unexpectedly (or sometimes we’re just so busy it takes us by complete surprise) so I make sure I always have a stash of tampons, panty liners, fresh tights and nurofen in my dance bag so I’m always prepared. This is exactly the reason we designed our Claudia Dean Dance Bags with so many different compartments, so you have room for everything you need and you can easily find it. It’s also handy to carry these things in case one of your friends or classmates unexpectedly gets their period - how good is it being able to help a friend out?
Comfort is key during your period, especially on day 1 -2 when you might be feeling a little sore and bloated. On these days I love to wear my Claudia Dean Tracksuits as the waistband is nice and loose around my stomach. Our Claudia Dean Warm Up Shorts are another great thing to wear - especially if the weather is a little hotter. These are both great options to wear either at home or to and from the studio over your leotard.
There’s nothing worse than the constant worry that you’re leaking through your tights or leotard so I find the easiest way to stay confident and focused is by wearing darker colour leotards when I have my period. I generally opt for a Black Claudia Dean Leotard and one that has a little bit more support (my boobs tend to feel a bit more tender and need more support when I’m on my period too). The Aurora Leotard in Black is perfect for this as the straps are thicker and provide additional support. On days I have my period I also opt to wear a Claudia Dean Skirt as again, this provides a bit more coverage.
Knowledge is power and one of the ways I stay clued into what my body is doing and why I might be feeling the way I'm feeling is by downloading a period tracking app. I love Hormone Horoscope, which is a free app that tells you what your hormones are doing based on where you’re at in your cycle. I find this information really helpful and it gave me a much bigger understanding and appreciation for my body. Dealing with hormone changes can be hard, but this app gives some really good information and tips on what to do on days you’re feeling fatigued, irritable and moody (and also reminds you that it’s perfectly normal and okay to feel like that).
The thing about periods is that they look and feel so different for everybody. The most powerful thing you can do for yourself, is to make sure you really tune into your personal symptoms and listen to what your body is telling you. Symptoms can show up in so many different ways including pain, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, bloating and cramps so if you suspect something is off, don’t be afraid to tell your teacher. 1 in 10 women also experience Inflammatory Diseases like Endometriosis and PSOC (I am one of them) so there might be days your pain is so bad it’s important to stay home and rest or swap out a class or rehearsal for some gentle stretching or yoga instead.
Your body uses extra energy when you have your period, so it’s important you continue to fuel your body with real wholefoods during this time (check out my fave healthy snacks here). As a woman it’s especially important to eat iron rich foods, to replace the iron lost through your period. Make sure you incorporate red meat, green leafy vegetables, beans, legumes and dried fruits. You may have also noticed your body craves chocolate? This isn’t a coincidence, and it’s actually the magnesium your body is looking for, which is found in dark chocolate. Magnesium helps alleviate cramps - so if you suffer from bad or painful cramps, make sure you’re eating foods that are naturally rich in magnesium like rolled oats, pumpkin & chia seeds and almonds.
First and foremost, remember to listen to your body and rest if you need to. While they can be frustrating at times, periods are part of our lives as women, and it’s important to find a way to work with your body instead of feeling like your body is working against you!
I hope you’ve found my tips helpful - and don’t forget to share this post with your ballet bestie!
Love CD xxx