Periods and Holidays
WUKA Menstrual Lifestyle Expert shares tips on how to have holiday fun even when mother nature tags along.
You’ve planned your dream trip, rallied the troops and got your friends to all agree to a destination, even saved up your precious holiday days to really make the most of it… and then your period arrives.
For many, this would be a disaster; no one intentionally invites mother nature as a plus one to a beautiful Greek island after all. However, periods don’t need to be daunting and definitely shouldn’t ruin your well-deserved time away. Being prepared means you can have the holiday of your dreams no matter what, and the more we know about our periods, the better placed we are to adapt to them in all scenarios.
Expert advice is always a great place to start, which is why Ruby Raut, Menstrual Lifestyle Expert at WUKA, is sharing her tips to holidaying with your period.
“Periods are part of nature,” says Ruby, “so worrying about them isn’t worth the stress. Instead, by understanding what your body is going through when it is menstruating you can prepare for every eventuality and still have a wonderful and relaxing time away.
“It is common to take contraceptives to delay your period and avoid it coinciding with your holiday. This isn’t terrible, however, rather than interrupting your cycle’s natural pattern it can actually be much more liberating to live in sync with it. With the right prep and knowing the products that work for you, there is nowhere you can’t go and nothing you can’t do when you are menstruating.
“Nowadays, we needn’t hide away whilst on our periods, but can instead work out, party and travel to far-flung places, all without the fear of what might happen. Our physical, emotional and mental health are all affected by our period and fluctuating hormone levels, so taking them into consideration during a time when we want to relax our body and mind is vital.”
Read on for Ruby’s guide to how to holiday while on your period…
Be mindful of energy levels
Periods have a way of draining your body’s energy reserves due to low estrogen and progesterone hormone levels, with some also experiencing decreased blood-iron levels, leading to fatigue and dizziness. Taking a break from intense physical activities is a good idea, especially as travel can already leave the body more fatigued than usual.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to sit by the pool all day and do nothing – unless you want to of course! A gentle hike to take in a beautiful view, beachside yoga or a city cycle tour are all great ways to stay active on holiday, whilst taking in your surroundings and not exhausting yourself.
In fact, those of us who love to swim are often afraid to dip more than a toe into the sparkling blue waters due to fear of leaking or discomfort. Don’t be put off; you should know by now that anything is possible on your period! Simply pack bikini briefs or a period swimsuit with in-built period pants to absorb your flow. Choose a pair that can be worn as is or even underneath your favourite bikini set to make sure the tropical pool-side pics are Instagram worthy.
Make sure to also add in some pampering sessions too for total self-care. Many resorts have beautiful spas, so take a break and indulge in a full body massage or facial in order to fully relax.
We can often feel irritable and ‘moody’ when on our periods. This isn’t something to be ashamed of or try to suppress; it is simply a biological consequence of the body’s fluctuating hormones and is perfectly natural.
If you are holidaying with family, friends or even your partner, the last thing you want is to have a big argument, which can happen regardless of hormones as there is always so much to plan and agree on when holidaying.
To start with, always feel able to share that you are on your period with the people you are travelling with. Never feel ashamed or embarrassed; periods are a natural and healthy bodily function. If you let those you’re with know, then you can be excused without questions if you’re feeling tired, bloated or are in pain. Self-care is important and it’ll be easier to take care of yourself if you help those around you to be understanding.
In order to stay calm and maintain your Zen, coming prepared to the holiday is the best path to take. Plan the little things as well as the obvious hotels/apartments and flights. Organising an airport transfer before you leave means no one will be left sweating in the back of a taxi, and dinner reservations in local hotspots means you will be able to avoid disappointments and being turned away at the door.
Planning ahead also means your mind can remain relaxed whilst on your period. This mental relaxation is just as vital as the physical calm and should be prioritised in order to feel your best on your period and beyond.
Cheers to that
When on holiday the urge to let loose and eat and drink to our hearts content is understandably strong. Food cravings when on your period can be powerful, however, getting too carried away with eating and drinking can be uncomfortable and lead to issues such as indigestion.
It’s a good idea to try to eat a balanced diet for overall hormonal health. On holiday though, enjoying the local culture and relaxing shouldn’t have to be sacrificed. When out to eat look for foods that are rich in nutrients as well as flavour, such as açai bowls, superfood salads or protein loaded pastas.
Even better is the news that dark chocolate can actually improve period cramps due to its magnesium content. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and relaxes the uterus walls leading to less intense cramps, so feel free to indulge your sweet tooth there.
Alcohol is another holiday favourite. Fruity cocktails and bubbly beers look good but can be harsh on the stomach and cause bloating, especially during your period. If you want a drink with an evening meal opt instead for a glass of red wine, as it is rich in antioxidants which are important for protecting cells from damage. And it’s fine to drink red wine chilled – the Spanish and Italians do it all summer long!
And of course, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. This is important when travelling on the best of days, as new climates can compromise your body’s water levels, but it’s even more important when on your period to keep headaches at bay and ensure your already tired body doesn’t seriously dehydrate.
Sleep is definitely one of the biggest perks of a holiday. No early morning alarm to jolt you out of your dream means you can sleep for as long as your heart desires. Take full advantage of the extra time and allow yourself to sleep in guilt-free, as your body needs more rest due to the hormone changes and drop in iron levels, and extra sleep will result in you being able to enjoy a day of activities full of energy.
When on your period it can be harder to fall asleep or stay asleep, yet your body is likely to be more tired. Some report more vivid or disturbing dreams or overthinking and anxiety at night – not ideal for a holiday set up of rest and relaxation. Take full advantage of the free time to enjoy an afternoon nap and rest your body, just make sure not to nap too late in the day and disrupt your sleep pattern.
Periods in general can have an adverse effect on sleep. Common period symptoms such as headaches, stomach cramps, feeling too warm in bed, feeling more restless at night and more sensitivity to light and noise levels can all keep you awake and disrupt quality rest.
Planning ahead can prove useful here too. If you know you get extra warm in bed during your period, make sure to bring breathable cotton nightwear to sleep in and pack a cooling facemask that you can stick in the fridge and use to lower your body temperature as well as depuff the face. If you suffer from sensitivity to light and noise, then investing in a quality eye mask and ear plugs can really help.
Plan for the journey
Make sure to consider what you need for getting to your destination. Long haul travel is not always so comfortable, so when on your period you want to be as prepared as possible to minimise the extra discomfort levels.
Everyone has their preferred methods and comfort zone for period products, but what may work for you every day isn’t always ideal when travelling. Being on a long flight, for example, is not an ideal time to have to get up and down every few hours to change your tampon or pad in a cramped airplane bathroom. Instead, opting for comfortable period pants in a heavy flow means you can sit stress free all journey long, and even sleep, without worrying about leaking or getting up to change.
Make sure to have pain killers on hand too if you need them for cramps, or essential oils to calm you on your journey.
When packing, make sure to bring a detergent bar for washing any period pants when away and waterproof bags for storage if on an adventure holiday or camping.
For more information on WUKA, please visit https://wuka.co.uk/
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Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.
WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.
Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.
WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.
All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.
WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products direct from the WUKA website. Follow WUKA on Instagram: @wukawear