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Warmth and movement is key. Model and dancer Mimi Elashiry opens up about her journey with her cycle from then to now. We spoke periods and performance, on syncing up with friends and how opening up about periods and moon time with other women has made her more in-tune and aware of her cycle.

Do you remember the first time you got your period?

I was in primary school, it must have been Year 5 or 6 and I can just remember being really confused. I think I called my mum and said “what’s happening?!” That’s pretty much all I can remember.

Were periods talked about openly when you were growing up?

For me personally, it just wasn’t a topic that was really spoken about. I probably didn’t speak much about it with my family either, I just kept it to myself. Not because it wasn’t acceptable – but mostly because for years and years I never experienced  any emotional rollercoaster, PMS or pain symptoms – it was just this thing that came and went and didn’t affect me. But then it started to affect me. In the last 5 years, I've started to get really emotional. Every second or third day of my moon time is really painful for some reason. I don’t know why? 

Do you speak freely about your cycle now? 

Now I talk about it with my girlfriends because we're all going through the same thing. And it’s nice to be able to bounce things around, and know that we’re not crazy, it’s happening to everyone!

How do you practise self-care when you're on your period?

A hot bath or a hot water bottle. Sometimes I get my favourite wool pashmina and wrap it around my waist and tie it in a knot so it’s really cosy and warm. I feel warmth helps a lot. And as difficult as it is sometimes, just get moving, move around, dance around, go exercise – it just gets everything moving and makes everything feel better. 

Do you feel your period affects your dancing or performance?

I’ve always had to do modelling and dancing shoots when on my period. Now that I’m in tune with it, I can just get on with it.

How does your body feel throughout your cycle?

Physically before and sometimes after I get a bit of fluid retention. You know when you get that yucky full feeling in your belly, which sucks! But it always goes away and on day two I just feel so energised, vibrant, in my power and super strong.

Do you feel in tune with your cycle? 

It’s always different for me. Sometimes it just comes out of nowhere and sometimes it’s been three weeks and I’m like “It’s coming, it’s coming I feel like shit, where is it? What’s going on!?”. I’m also very impressionable. I sync up to my mum when I spend two days with her. I sync up to my sisters and my friends – as soon as I spend time with another female it changes – I don’t know why that is. It’s very sporadic (laughs).

And what about PMS, do you suffer from any period pain?

I think over the years, although it’s different every time. There is always a red flag or tell-tale signs that I know I can associate with my moon time. Whether it be a thought pattern that comes back, or a self consciousness or that feeling where you just don’t feel like you look great – that sort of yucky, full feeling. That’s when I know it’s coming.

Why do you think talking about periods openly is so important? 

Being more open and communicating about periods and moon time and cycles with the women around me who are influential or my girlfriends has actually made it easier for me to pinpoint the body and mind signals that come up around that time. I think the biggest thing that has allowed me to tune into it is the conversations I have with other women and just being able to compare and chat about it.

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If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during your period, don't just put up with it. Speak with your GP or chosen women's health practitioner to make sure everything is ok. 

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