In our series, ‘Periods and I’, we talk with women who are leaving a mark in everything they do, and to discuss how they manage and embrace their periods as a part of their lives. What do they do? Do they use sanitary napkins? Is there a special routine? Or is it just like every other day? What about travel?
Let’s find out!
We had an exciting conversation with Lavina D’Souza, who is a data analyst by day and a content creator, website designer, travel writer and journalist in her free time. She shared some of her tips and tricks to effectively manage periods and we picked out the best ones for you!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
In the day, I’m a data analyst. But outside of that, I’m an international speaker, content creator, travel writer, journalist and website designer. I love to travel and I love food and these little jobs keep me going.
2. How do you prepare for your period beforehand? Do you have a specific routine?
There are some apps that I use to keep a log on dates, what medications I’m taking, my mood swings, bloating, etc. This allows me to be ready with everything I need – some sanitary napkins, painkillers, a head rub and so forth. Without my apps, it would be impossible to keep track of my cycle! They also help me identify whether my mood swings are being caused by hormones or work, which helps me stay balanced.
3. As a part of content creation, travel seems to be an integral part of your life. Are there readily available facilities that you can avail?
My periods are usually on time, for the most part, except for minor fluctuations due to stress and food habits. I always have a handy pack ready, if anything goes amiss. This usually contains sanitary napkins, a couple of tampons, a head rub, painkillers, spare liners, and other things I might need. This way I don’t panic and have everything I need with me at all times.
4. Do you allow yourself to take breaks during your cycle or during bouts of PMS?
My PMS involves mood swings, bloating and feeling like I’ve put on weight, which I haven’t. Everything becomes amplified ten-fold. So what I do is keep it slow and I make sure not to take too much on my plate. I make myself aware that this will pass. But I get that life doesn’t stop because of your period so I plan in advance; I make a list of the unavoidable things and give myself sufficient space to get it done at a comfortable pace. And if it’s absolutely impossible to do, I make sure to communicate clearly with the people involved. Lastly, being cozy always helps; I keep a hot water bottle with me for my cramps and use some essential oils to uplift my mood.
5. For someone as qualified as you, awards are no stranger. Have you ever had to deal with menstruation during an award ceremony?
I’ve been nominated for various awards and I do attend a lot of conferences, so on some days, I leave at 8 am and get back only close to 10-11 pm. On these days, I make sure I’m hydrated, I make sure not to put undue stress on my body and carry only essential things with me, like a period pack, sanitary napkins and some medicines. I eat well: warm food, if the environment allows it. Else, whatever the event provides, I eat enough of it. Plus, if I get fussy, I always have some snacks with me which come in handy.
6. Do you think people talk about periods as much as they do and with as much transparency as they should?
No, people don’t and that’s a shame because there is so much we can learn from each other, men and women alike. We can share notes and tips, some very simple things that can make a big difference. Periods are not a one-time occurrence, they happen every month. So if a small tip from someone can help you, it will make a massive difference throughout your menstruation. Every body, not everybody, is different and reacts differently to things so it’s always great to talk to one another and find what works for you.
7. What advice would you give young girls who hope to be like you someday?
You don’t have to talk about anything if you’re not comfortable. But make sure you reach out whenever you need the help; don’t hesitate. Social media is a great place to reach out and follow pages that have tips that can help you. You never know what will leave a lasting impression on you.
As Lavina very rightly puts it, give yourself space and become aware of your needs. Keep a kit of essentials handy at all times and don’t forget your hot water bottle! Periods are a normal process and don’t have to be hidden away. Tell people you’re in pain, take time off, be InSync with your mind and body.