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Not taboo – period

That dreaded “time of the month” often means dolling out extra cash to ensure comfort and sanitation. Products needed to manage menstruation and make it less terrible, such as tampons, pads and pain relief capsules, can add up in cost each month. Those who have the means to buy these seemingly accessible items, perhaps don’t think much about what it’s like for those who do not. Periods are terrible enough, even when all those products are available and affordable. But for those without the funds to purchase necessary menstruation products, it can mean health risks, missing out on day-to-day necessities, like work and school, and can result in unnecessary embarrassment.

In Toronto, pads and tampons are made available, but at a cost of $8 to $10 a box, on average. Those from low-income families or living on the streets or in shelters, are often prohibited from having access. The Period Purse, is an organization that provides purses filled with pads, tampons and menstrual wellness items to homeless and impoverished individuals across the nation in need of the items. The founder of the organization, Jana Girdauskas, shares about the reality many women face and the options they are left with.

“The reality is, many people experiencing homelessness are using newspaper or homemade tampons, or they resort to stealing,” she said. “What other choice do they have when menstrual products aren’t even a line item in the budget for our city’s shelters or drop-in centres? Any products that are available have been donated and supply can be sporadic. You might get one or two tampons for your entire cycle.”

Public restrooms make soap and toilet paper available, but there is clearly a need for pads and tampons to be as well. Heavy Flow podcast host Amanda Laird went so far as to point out that the lack of menstrual products made accessible to those who can’t afford the cost in drug stores and grocery stores, indicates who is making the decisions in Toronto and even on a global scale.

“Boys aren’t taught about menstruation in health class and it’s still such a taboo topic. Periods are just not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Laird says. “If you’ve never had a period or you don’t know anything about them you’re not going to think about how a lack of menstrual products might impact your day; about how being caught unprepared when your period starts might affect you.”

The Period Purse is holding a fundraising drive on June 8th to bring awareness to the issue while also collecting items like tampons, large purses and backpacks. Donations can be dropped off at Tokki, at 3124 Dundas St. West in Toronto.

Menstruation has somehow become a taboo topic. But why? It’s a necessary part of a cycle that prepares a woman to give new life. All are alive because of menstruation and all women need to have access to appropriate sanitary products that will allow each to live their lives without worry, fear and embarrassment.

Tips to combat those blues

Just because the weather is getting nicer doesn’t always mean a better mood and that mental health will improve.  If you are finding it rather difficult to get out of bed in the morning, let alone accomplish day to day tasks, you might have depression. And although there are several remedies to help you with your depression, there are slight changes and routines that can also assist.

Proper water intake is key to feeling better and many neglect to drink the appropriate daily amount.. Want to lose weight? Drink water. Suffer from acne? Drink water. Mad at bae? Drown him, just kidding.  In fact, it seems that not drinking enough water is the root of all problems. It can actually lead to a lot of mental and physical issues. For one thing, a lack of water intake can cause brain fog. This can prevent you from thinking clearly, not to mention leave you in a less than content mood. Of course, lack of water intake can result in dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration don’t always have to be thirst. Fatigue, headaches, and even excess body heat are all signs that you need to up your water intake. It’s not always coffee that you need to wake you up. Put down the mug and pick up a bottle of water instead. Your mind and body will thank you.

Symptoms of depression do not pertain solely to being in a bad mood. Your physical health can be a red flag too. If you find taking a nap is always on your mind, not to mention you’re struggling to break free from your sluggish and lethargic state, check your vitamin levels! Vitamin B, C, and D  and depression are very closely linked to one another. Living in Canada, almost everyone lacks Vitamin D, also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ which can leave you feeling gloomy with a lack of energy. Be sure to also check your Iron, Magnesium, B12, and Vitamin C levels as well. Not only can these vitamins and minerals help with depression, they are also essential for maintaining your overall health. Either get your intake through supplements or incorporate meals that are rich in nutrients into your diet. That poutine may taste good while you’re eating it, but it’s doing more harm than good in the long run.

It’s easy to slip into a state of withdrawal when you’re suffering from depression. All you want to do is crawl into a corner of your bedroom and watch Netflix all day. However, being a couch potato is highly counterproductive to improving your mental health. Although it makes sense to let yourself grieve and feel your emotions, it is more important to find ways to break free from the cycle. So, do yourself a favour and hop on a fitness cycle! Getting active in small ways such as taking a walk around the block or trying out something more daring like rock climbing, can be a huge step towards bettering your depression. It’s no secret that exercising releases endorphins, helping you feel good. It can encourage you to try something new, engage in more social interactions, and just have a change of pace from your everyday routine.

Ah, social media. The biggest blessing and curse the internet has to offer. Social media has become an integral part of all our lives. It helps us keep connected with Jennifer all the way in Australia while keeping us informed on Trump’s day to day shenanigans. However, it can also contribute to negativity in our lives. Unfortunately, being active on social media can lead us to compare our lives with others, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and depressed. You can be sitting at home, trying to get active and eat healthier while your classmates from high-school are posting photos of their engagement or new house. Getting caught up in other people’s lives is not only irrelevant, its detrimental to your physical and mental health. Unfollow the accounts that leave you feeling empty and start following accounts that encourage positivism and boast motivation. Better yet, put down your phone and focus on your own life

Say no. No one will be offended if you do. And if they are — good riddance. Whether it’s in your professional or personal life, politely refusing to do things can help you feel in control of the life you fear you’re losing grasp of. Unfortunately, a lot of negative feelings arise when you put yourself before others. However, changing this habit will help with your self confidence. You may just not want to go out for dinner with your friends one night and it’s next to impossible when your boss has already put so much on your plate. It’s okay. Listen to yourself. If you feel like you can’t take it anymore, step away. Thank yourself later.

Be sure to visit your doctor if your depression persists for a prolonged period of time or if you feel your symptoms worsening.