Whether you’re dealing with a work bully or just have way too many things on your to-do list, sometimes a stressful day at the office is unavoidable. But even though we’d love to think a relaxing bubble bath and a big glass of wine can cure even the toughest of days, a stressful work life can actually be dangerous to your overall health (which is crazy, considering that most women choose stress over settling for less).
Along with stomach knots and a serious lack of sleep, a stressful day at the office could actually be causing your period to freak out, according to Maegan Boutot from Clue.
What do we mean by making your period “freak out?” Well, for one thing, researchers have proven that a stressful time at work can actually affect the length of your period. For example, one study surveyed female nurses and found associations between high stress and longer cycles. The researchers also found an association between high stress and anovulation (AKA not ovulating on your period).
A second study suggests that employees who have little control over key decision-making and experience a large amount of stress often have shorter cycles. “These studies may have found different results because the stress of study participants may not have been equal,” Maegan says. “Differences in the level and length of stress exposure could cause people’s bodies to respond in different ways.”
Unfortunately, a stressful work day isn’t the only thing tampering with the length of your period. “Dysmenorrhea (AKA painful menstruation) has been linked to working in jobs that are low control, are insecure and have low coworker support,” Maegan says. While it may take a month or so for the side effects to kick in, a stressful office culture can seriously affect your menstrual cycle.
The good news is that most of these issues can be completely cured by learning to manage your stress better. Whether it’s taking a weekly fitness class, revamping your diet or chatting with friends and family on the reg, even the smallest additions to our self-care routines can help minimize our stress and chill out our periods.