How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work
We've partnered with Libra to talk about periods so we can normalise the bloody thing.

When I was in high school, someone asked me if I “get off” while inserting a tampon.

I’m still recovering from the conversation to this day, but not about this person thinking I use sanitary products to masturbate.

The real kicker was them trying to glorify a monthly experience that, no matter which way you spin it, isn’t very enjoyable.

Sure, periods are a natural function of the human body, and the role they play for the reproductive system is undoubtedly amazing, but they really do suck – in some situations more than others. During festivals or when you’re hornier than a born-again virgin, for example, as well as when you’re at your place of work.

You really can’t escape the last one if you’re fortunate enough to have a steady, full-time job, especially given the average Australian woman will experience anywhere between 450-500 periods in their lifetime.

You might be wondering why this even requires a conversation, and I hear you, so let’s pad out why periods at work can be a real bloodbath.

How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work

You may hate everyone more than you normally do

The office is a stressful place at the best of times. You’re managing multiple personalities – regardless of manager status – and juggling a plethora of deadlines and responsibilities. But let’s add some PMS into the mix! PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is the physical and emotional symptoms you may experience in the lead up to your period leaking its way into your life for yet another month.

Everyone experiences these symptoms differently, if at all, and therefore will manage them in different ways. I have no qualification whatsoever to give advice on the topic, however, here are some things that have worked for me when wanting to rip off my colleague’s head.

  • Count back from 10 before reacting
  • Chuck an exclamation mark or emoji into your emails to minimise conflict
  • Put big-ass, visible headphones on so people are less likely to interrupt you

How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work

A sick day might be on the cards

Of all the sick days I’ve taken, roughly 75% of them have been period-pain related. If those cramps hit me in the morning, there’s no way that internal torture is subsiding in time for me to get out of bed, get ready, and get into the office by 9am. This is fine. What makes it any different to a tummy bug or flu? Nothing. You’re unfit to work.

Sick days can be taken for anything from a mental health day to gastro, many of which you don’t necessarily want to discuss with your boss, and shouldn’t have to. I, for one, don’t disclose what kind of “sick” I am when I lodge it, and I sure as hell don’t push my direct reports for information surrounding their sickness, either. That being said, many companies do require medical certificates, but as you’ve probably seen from the multiple GPs you’ve visited to accommodate this need, they also keep reasoning vague.

I’m not saying there’s taboo surrounding period conversation (I mean there is, but society as a whole is stepping forward to remove that) – I’m just saying that there’s no demand to share, if you don’t want to. Depending on your immune system and how affected by sick days you are throughout the year, it might be worth having an open and honest conversation with your boss so that they’re aware of how menstruation affects you.

How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work

The devil might hit you mid-spreadsheet

If period cramps smash me while I’m at work? Oh god forbid. It’s like someone has dived into my insides and started hacking at them with a razor. You’ll know your body well enough to know how much of a toll this is going to take on your work day and what you need to do.

If you’re now useless for the day? Again, you’re well within your rights to leave early, sick for the day, without going into detail, but you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to share the information either. Chances are your boss either experiences a similar disruption or knows someone who does – it is a natural function of the human body, after all.

How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work

You may find yourself low on supplies

How good is it when you reach in your bag for a tampon and realise you’ve run out? It’s not the most fun thing in the world to ask a colleague if they’ve got any spares, followed by the weirdly secret pass-the-parcel vibe of the exchange. I could go on about how it’s 2019 and wild that we’re still being incognito about the fact half the population bleeds from their vaginas every month, but we have other fish to fry here.

It’s worth talking to your office manager about having sanitary supplies available in the bathrooms, which could even order cases from Libra’s website. Always remember that you’re not the only one who cops the monthly waterfall from the devil, and just because you’re the one making the request, it doesn’t mean there isn’t 70 other people who are wanting the exact same solution.

How To Handle The Flood Of Emotions & Blood When You Cop Your Period At Work

Besides, at this age, no one in the bathroom is going to mistake the tampons for teeny tiny dildos now, are they?

Image: Younger