Welcome to Period Routines, where we spotlight a different member of the LOLA community to learn how they manage their period. We want the ins and outs of their monthly routine — how they feel, how they deal, and what they can’t live without.
Want to share your period routine? Leave a comment below.
Today, we’re sitting down with Bethany C. Meyers, an American fitness entrepreneur and LGBTQ rights activist. Bethany tells us about their first experience using a tampon, the massage technique they swear by, and the book that changed their perspective on periods.
Occupation: Founder and CEO of the be.come project, a body-positive fitness app
Location: New York, NY
First Period Story
I remember my stomach hurt so bad, and I thought I had eaten something funky. I went to the bathroom and started taking Tums. Then I realized that I’d started my period and that these were cramps. My mom gave me a huge maxi. I remember putting it on and thinking, “This is like wearing a diaper.”
I didn’t have another period for several years — and when I did have it again, I was taking swim lessons. My mom gave me a box of OB tampons…the ones that don’t have an applicator. I grew up in a very religious household where we didn’t talk about periods, so I didn’t know how to use them. So I just laid one inside of my swimsuit and I was like, this doesn’t really work. (laughs)
My Period Routine
My period comes every thirty one dates, and lasts for five days. Day one and two are heavy, day three is medium, day four it goes away, and day five it comes back again.
My boobs swell leading up to my periods. This is interesting for me because I really don’t have boobs. In the days before my period hits, all of a sudden I have an A cup, and I just walk around the house feeling my boobs. (laughs)
I find my appetite is different before my period starts. I want to eat more when I’m PMSing…not one thing in particular, but whatever I’m eating, I want more of it! There used to be a time when that really bothered me, especially when I had a poor relationship with food. Now the relationship with food is healing. I think that when you’re about to have your period your body is going through something big. You’re actually bleeding for a week in some cases. And I think that your body needs more to help sustain that.
I definitely have cramps, and in my 30s they have gotten way, way worse. I also know the exact moment that I’m ovulating because I always have an ovulation cramp. There is an hour where I’m like, “I’m laying an egg right now”. (laughs)
I have two really pretty period boxes for my bathroom. One is a nice gold box that sits beside the toilet in the bathroom. That has all of my tampons lined up, all the things I need. Then I have another one in the closet that holds my creams and period underwear. That one’s a nice marble box with a wooden handle. There’s something really nice, when you’re not feeling well, about having this beautiful box with all the things you need right there.
I also give myself a stomach massage on the first day of bleeding. I’ll knead my hands around my lower belly and over my ovaries, down my legs. Sometimes I’ll use a ball, specifically for my legs. I have this one spot on my right leg that always tightens up, ever since my first period.
I smoke weed to relieve my period cramps. I also have a balm that has THC in it. Whoopi & Maya makes a chocolate mint rub that is really nice.
I do this facial technique called Gua Sha. There’s this woman that I follow, Britta Plug – she owns a company called Wildling and created her own Gua Sha stone. I do it all the time and I am obsessed with it. I use the Gua Sha technique mostly as a form of relaxation. Sitting in the bath, taking a really long time to do the Gua Sha, is great.
With the be.come project, I’m constantly making up new routines, so most of my movement is really focused around my work. I treat movement so much differently now than I used to…I think before, movement was such a form of punishment for myself. I felt like, “I have to do this, I can’t miss a day of working out.” When my period would come and I was cramping, those were hard days to get through movement. So my period would come, I’d be eating a lot and feeling bloated, I’d feel like shit about my body, and then I wouldn’t want to work out. It was just this cycle that perpetuated this really negative thought process around movement and my period.
And then things started to shift because I started to shift. I began to approach movement differently in my life. That’s when the idea for the be.come project was born. And then in launching the be.come project, it was a complete shift of movement where it’s like, what does your body need today? Does it need to move or does it need to rest? And how do we honor what that looks like?
I also read this book called The Red Tent. Hands down one of my favorite books. I love the approach to menstrual cycles in that book. All of the women would go into the tent and they would bleed, and it was this really beautiful thing. This time of rest. This moment of being together, and honoring our bodies, and the way our periods cycle with the moon, and the shedding of this life in order for new life to happen. It shifted a lot of my perspective around periods.
So anyway, all this is to say, when I am on my period I do exactly what I want. Do I need to lay on the couch and eat my favorite foods? Or, would it feel better to get on the mat and move around? And I think that answer varies depending on the cycle. But allowing myself to rest during that time, and honoring the different feelings that come up, is super important.
— as told to LOLA. Illustrations by Eugenia Mello.