“I Try to Be Kinder to My Body”: Athlete Olivia Vivian Opens Up About Managing Her Period

Instagram / @oliviavivian

Welcome to POPSUGAR Uninhibited, a space where anyone with a period can come for advice, recommendations and support. Here, we’ll tackle topics like PMS, sustainability, post-partum periods and bring you first-person experiences in our period diaries. We also want to raise awareness around period poverty, with the aim to ignite change with the help of our launch partner Modibodi and charity partner Share the Dignity. You can find all of the stories here

While getting your period is completely natural, it’s no secret that it can make your week difficult. For some, they have to deal with painful cramps and backaches, while others may not have any symptoms at all, but bleeding for five days is still an uncomfortable sensation nonetheless.

In 2018, Western Sydney University conducted a study found that 40 per cent of participants had taken time off work or university due to debilitating period symptoms. And those who hadn’t admitted to being unable to concentrate when working.

Olivia Vivian is an Australian gymnast and Modibodi ambassador, who has previously competed in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the television show Australian Ninja Warrior, and is now opening up the conversation on periods and how she makes it through the week when on her period.

“I won’t lie, when I’m on my period it makes life a lot harder! The cramps, the bloating, the achy back and I feel extra fatigued and grumpy during my period,” Vivian told POPSUGAR Australia. “On those days I try to remind myself that I’m human, this is normal and if I feel like that whole block of chocolate then I’m going to eat that whole block of chocolate.”

Starting gymnastics at eight years old, the sport is a part of Vivian’s lifestyle, and from what we’ve seen on her Instagram, the 32-year-old seems to defy gravity with her incredible form and strength. But regardless of how much your body can handle, getting your period can drain you, physically and mentally.

“I do try to be kinder to my body and my mind and listen to it rather than try to push extra hard at training. I won’t stop movement or workouts altogether because I still believe we as humans were born to move and it’s important for our health, but I might substitute some workout for yoga, stretching or swimming,” she said.

As a Modibodi ambassador, Vivian is striving to destigmatise the topic of periods by openly discussing it. “I believe I’m lucky in the sense that I had a mum that normalised it and showed me the best ways to insert a tampon even before I got my period. But when I first got my period, I was with my dad and I won’t lie, it was nerve-racking telling him what had happened when I first looked down and saw blood on my undies,” she said.

“I think it’s best to remind all young girls that your period is nothing to be ashamed of, embarrassed or scared of. It’s completely normal and you’ll feel more in control and supported if you can talk to other women or even men about it.”

As a religious tampon user, Vivian wasn’t too sure about trying Modibodi underwear at first, as she didn’t know what to expect. But now, she’s never looking back.

“I was happy with my regular routine and the use of tampons and I always assumed reusable briefs would leak and look or feel like a nappy. But I set a goal this year to try things that are more sustainable for the planet so I reluctantly agreed to try them. Just try. Turns out they were nothing like I thought. They are so comfortable, thin and work like magic!

“I’m still so blown away with Modibodi, they’ve changed my life for the better and I can’t recommend them enough for everyone!”

Vivian leads an intense lifestyle, so it’s important for her to feel her best even when on her period. But even the strongest people know when to take it easy, so if there’s anything to take away from her story it’s to be kind to your body.

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