When you first thought about switching to reusables, you probably considered the cost savings, the comfort, and the environmental impact your choice would have. But did you consider how this choice could fit in to a healthy lifestyle, and even play a part in supporting your mental health and wellbeing?
A healthy lifestyle that supports your physical and emotional health has many components, and the products you use for your period are one piece of the puzzle. Let’s explore some of the ways reusable menstrual products can benefit your mental health.
Reusables can relieve some of the stress around periods.
When you invest in reusable menstrual products like a menstrual cup, cloth pads, or period underwear, you can rely on having them available when you need them.
One of the most stressful things about having a period is that it can sometimes catch you by surprise. While most people tend to be regular, some experience their periods at irregular intervals.
Products like reusable, leak-proof menstrual underwear can be worn daily to ease the stress of predicting your period, and it’s easy to stash your cup in your bag on a day-to-day basis.
Having dependable, good-quality products that work for your body can also help you avoid leaks and feel more confident going out. Figuring out a comfy solution to your period isn’t selfish - it’s self-care.
You may be able to save some money.
If you don’t like having to budget for disposables, or if you’re just looking to save some money, reusables may be a good option. Reusables are a one-time investment that can last for years and help you save money on disposables.
A 2008 survey suggests this may help ease stress, too. The researchers found that people who experienced financial stress and shame were more likely to experience mental health problems. Because menstruation can unfortunately be a source of shame for some people, it makes sense that relieving the financial stress surrounding it might help improve mental health.
Your period can be less clinical, and more whimsical.
The thing about disposable pads and tampons is that they’re boring to look at -- clinical, sterile, and functional. When you enter the world of reusables, you’ll be able to choose patterns and colours that make you feel happy. If you’re experiencing a tough period, it’s nice to grab a fun printed pad or a cute set of undies to brighten your day.
You’ll feel more connected with your body when using reusable menstrual products.
Disposable products are designed to be changed as quickly and easily as possible. But when using reusables, you’ll have to spend a bit more time with your body while changing. A menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina where it collects menstrual flow. When it’s full, it must be carefully removed, emptied, and cleaned. Reusable pads and undies need a quick rinse plus a run through the washer.
Whatever reusable product you’re using, you’ll be interacting with your period in a more intimate way. These rituals can help you connect with your body and flow, and to recognize if you need some extra self-care. This can all play a role in a healthy lifestyle that supports your mental wellbeing.
You’ll have more control over your period.
Many people who experience mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, report feeling a lack of control over their lives. Using reusable menstrual products can help you to feel more in control, because reusable products come in a range of options to meet your specific needs.
Period underwear come in a variety of styles, and can do a lot for your well-being, from affirming your gender to simply helping you get a good night’s sleep. Pads can be lightweight or heavy-duty. Choosing products that work well for your body can empower you to feel more in control over how you experience your period, and this can benefit your mental wellbeing.
Options like a menstrual cup can make it easier to exercise.
Many mental illnesses appear to benefit from exercise. But when you’re on your period, you may experience anxiety about using the right products to protect yourself discreetly during exercise. Many cup users rave about their experience when it comes to exercising on their period. Not only are menstrual cups secure, long-lasting, and comfortable, they’re also completely invisible under tight athletic clothing. Score!
Reusables make everything simpler.
Minimalists and simple living types tend to be attracted to the idea of reusable menstrual products, and it’s easy to see why. You may only need a menstrual cup and a few cloth pantiliners or pairs of period undies to cover all your menstruation needs.
This means no more decision fatigue at the drugstore or even in your own bathroom. You know your reusables have got your back. Some people think a simpler lifestyle can help support your mental health, so why not simplify your period?
Laura Tennant is a Toronto freelance health writer. She loves using her writing to help others make better-informed choices about their health and wellbeing. When she’s not writing, she’s tending her houseplants, working out at the gym, or having a good laugh.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash