Periods & dealing with them as a dancer can be tricky and uncomfortable at the best of times…in this blog we will go through my tips on how to manage your period through rehearsals, performances & everything in between!
Firstly, you'll find out what works well for you and your body as time goes on. Remember we are all built differently & experience different challenges when it comes to our period.
Everyone’s first period is different and shows up at a different stage of life. Some of us are a little younger, some of us get it a bit later, but one thing is for sure, you will never forget this experience! I still remember I got mine for the first time in the Royal Ballet School bathrooms when I had just moved to London.. I'll never forget it! If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by getting your period, this is your reminder that I've also experienced it too.
The symptoms during that time of the month are so different from person to person and we all deal with them in our own way. Let’s delve into my favourite tips and tricks for managing your periods:
1. Be Prepared
Sometimes your period announces itself with warning signs such as fatigue, cramping or mood swings, but occasionally, it will come out of the blue! Make sure you carry a small stash of tampons or panty liners (depending on what you prefer). Be sure to have a change of underwear as well as ballet clothes just in case you have a little accident. You might not need it, but it is always nice to be able to help out a friend who might not be as prepared.
I also learnt over time that tracking my period was super helpful & know when to roughly expect your period. I use the 'flo' app & love it (I still use it to this day!).
2. Wear comfortable clothes when you're on your period
Now is the perfect time to throw on your favourite CD tracksuits that comforts you in all the right places, while allowing you to move freely. Loose clothing that doesn’t feel restrictive is perfect if your body is feeling a bit tender or swollen!
3. Feeling confident in the studio
If you are heading into ballet class, choose a coloured leotard that you feel good in to make you more comfortable at that time of month. A darker colour can give you an added sense of security just in case there are any leaks. You might want to choose a leotard that is more supportive, or you might prefer to wear a looser-fitted one - experiment to find out what works better for you!
If your studio or teacher allows it, wearing a skirt, black tights, bike shorts or warm-up shorts can stop you from worrying and make you feel more confident.
4. Nourish yourself
Listen to what you are craving: maybe you feel like sweets, perhaps you are wanting salty snacks, or you might even feel like meat! It is ok to treat yourself to whatever you need, but make sure you include plenty of wholesome foods and take the time to cook yourself delicious fresh meals so you are getting all the right nutrients! Food really affects my mood, so focus on eating as fresh as possible during this time to keep your mood levels at bay. Also remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated!
5. Listen to your body
Period symptoms can show up in a variety of ways: Extreme fatigue, mood swings, headaches, cramping and aching in your pelvis region or feeling swollen or bloated. Heat packs can assist in relaxing tender areas, and relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or gentle stretching can be very helpful.
If you are feeling extremely unwell or suspect something might be off, it is important you let a trusted adult know. Don’t be afraid to tell your ballet teacher if you need to leave class or rest - pushing through pain can be dangerous!
Getting your period takes a toll on your body - be gentle and patient with yourself!
Rest if you are tired or struggling physically or mentally. If you feel like what you are experiencing is too much to handle, or you are in a lot of pain, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or doctor. I found my GP was very helpful to speak to when I was experiencing extreme symptoms.
Accept that periods are a part of life and managing them every month is normal.
I hope you’ve found my tips helpful - share this post with your ballet bestie and don’t forget: if you see a friend have a little accident, it's always better to quietly let them know and offer your help if you can!CD X