School and periods: it’s not a fun combination, is it? Periods aren’t enjoyable at the best of times, and when you add the stress of school … eugh.

Sometimes it can feel like everyone knows — as if they can sense that you’re on your period (like sharks, but in uniform). And what if it happens totally out of the blue? Coming on at school can feel like the ultimate cringe moment (even though it’s pretty much happened to us all), especially if you’re not prepared. Being a teenage girl sucks sometimes.

Luckily, there are some simple changes you can make to prep yourself for the old period-school combo. Check out our top tips below for surviving your period and staying confident at school.

1. Have an emergency period kit

It’s always a good idea to keep an emergency stock of period necessities somewhere safe. This is one of the easiest ways to stay prepared for your period — even if you get caught out at school, you’ll still have your period kit to hand to save the day!

First, pick your period protection: this could be pads, tampons or menstrual cups —  it’s up to you. If you haven’t started your period yet, we’d recommend using pads to start with and trying out other products when you feel more comfortable. You can also include things like painkillers to help with cramps, or spare undies if you’re worried about leaking.

Next, pick your storage location. Stash your supplies wherever you want — in your locker, your bag, your purse, your pencil case … (although this last one may be a bit of a shock to any boys borrowing a pen). It’s good to have a few different stashes to act as backups, so you know that you’ll never be short of protection.

2. Track your period

Knowing roughly when your period is going to pop up again will help you feel much more prepared for when it arrives.

There are a few different ways that you can do this. Firstly, you can use your own calendar or diary. You probably have a homework diary for keeping track of deadlines and remembering important events, so why not use it to track your period too? Don’t worry if you feel worried that someone will see — you don’t have to write ‘PERIOD DUE’ in highlighter. You can just mark with an asterisk or a little ‘p’. Simple.

To figure out when you’re next due on, you need to work out roughly how long your cycle is. This tends to be around 28 days, but can be anywhere between 21 and 35 days. You can do this by counting the time from your last period ending to when your next period arrives.

You can also use a period tracker app to work out when you’re due, to give yourself a bit of warning. There are loads to choose from that will also help you to track things like moods and symptoms too.

3. Plan your bathroom breaks

It might sound silly, but mentally mapping out when your next bathroom break is will help you to tackle that period monster!

Plan to fit your bathroom visits between classes, at break or at lunchtime. This will stop you from having to argue with teachers about leaving the classroom during a lesson, and worrying about not getting to the toilet in time.

Aim to fit one in every 2-3 hours so that you can check that you aren’t leaking and don’t need to change your pad or tampon. This is an especially good idea if you’re having a heavy flow day, or think you’re going to come on at any moment (period premonition is a thing).

4. Wear the right stuff

Wearing the right things can really help you to feel more confident and prepared for your period.

For example, you can wear dark or black trousers or skirts if you’re paranoid about leaking through your clothes and people noticing. If you have a school uniform of black trousers or skirts anyway, now is the time to be thankful that you actually have to wear one! Dark clothes mean that embarrassing stains won’t show up easily — that’s got to make you feel more comfortable about being on your period at school!

We know that leaking at school is everyone’s nightmare — which is why it’s a great idea to invest in some period-proof pants. The period panties at Knixteen are super absorbent and leak-proof — and they even have odour-crushing technology so that you don’t have to worry about any funky smells too. It’s always worth having a couple of pairs to wear so that you don’t have to obsess about checking for leaks all the time. This way, you can have a stress-free period.

It’s not fun, but knowing you’ve got the tools and the know-how will help you to feel more confident about managing your period at school. Follow these tips to stay confident and in control, even when you don’t feel like it.

 Don’t forget, you can always go to someone else for help if you’re having a period panic. You can ask your friends to borrow a pad or tampon — after all, you’d do the same for them.

If you’re too embarrassed about that, then you could also go to the school nurse. They deal with this sort of stuff all the time and they will understand. Just remember: periods are totally normal and it’s fine to talk about them.

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