I went to the mall this weekend, and there was a slightly frantic buzz in the air. Everyone was carrying around lists of back to school supplies, comparing prices, and loading up on deals. There were sales on notepads, pencils, jeans, tennis shoes, socks, and water bottles. It’s hard work getting ready to go back to school!
When you have PCOS, there might be some other considerations you haven’t thought about yet. Here are a few tips to make you better prepared than ever:
- Water is everything. Seriously. A huge percentage of your body is water. Water helps your entire system run better. Having PCOS means you have a chronic imbalance in your system. If you get dehydrated, you might feel weak or spacey and have a hard time thinking clearly. Get a cool looking water bottle, keep it filled, and swig it down regularly. If you don’t love water, set a reminder on your phone so you get as much as you need. Staying hydrated will also help you learn how to interpret hunger signals more accurately. A lot of times, you think you’re hungry when what you need is just water!
- A lunch box that insulates and separates so that you can have quality food every day. Packing your own lunch every day is one of the best things you can do for your PCOS. Look at bento boxes on Pinterest for inspiring ideas, or practice making some mason jar salads. Coordinate with your parents so you have good leftovers. Learn how to prepare some of your favorite foods and help with the cooking. Or keep it really simple with this PCOS-friendly formula: ¼ protein, ¼ fruit, ¼ green vegetables, ¼ other vegetables. You might include a sliced chicken breast or some freshly sliced turkey, a handful of fresh cherries or other seasonal fruit, cut up cucumbers, baby carrots, a cold cooked sweet potato, a few pieces of California roll sushi, etc. Maybe include a little treat like a piece of chocolate (not a whole candy bar!).
- Healthy snacks to keep you away from the vending machines. String cheese, raw nuts (no peanuts if your school has a ban), fresh fruit, pre-packaged dipping cups of hummus, a little package of whole grain crackers, individual cups of almond butter, etc. all make good PCOS-friendly snacks that will satisfy your hunger without jacking up your blood sugar and making you feel woozy from a sugar rush. If you have a locker, you can keep stuff like the nuts and crackers that don’t require refrigeration.
- Pack a period kit. One of the most annoying things about PCOS is the irregular periods; you never know when it’s going to hit. Be prepared with a small zippered bag packed with pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup; hand sanitizer; an extra pair of underwear and a Ziploc bag for emergencies; and some quarters for a vending machine if you need extra supplies.
- Something to take notes with at all times. Most likely, it’s your phone, but maybe it’s a cute little notepad with a built-in pencil. PCOS brain fog is real. You don’t want to forget important dates, the details of homework assignments, etc.
- A personal comfort kit. You may not be able to carry medication with you at school, but PCOS can cause food sensitivities, upset stomach, and indigestion. Mints (peppermint, specifically, like Altoids) can relieve gas and bad breath. A few pieces of candied ginger (get it at the grocery store) can relieve nausea, indigestion, and the beginnings of a headache. Include lactase pills if you’re sensitive to milk. A travel-size deodorant, along with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and maybe some of those little pre-strung dental floss devices will leave you feeling fresh and clean at all times. Sometimes just knowing that you’re covered if you start to feel uncomfortable is helpful. There’s no need to be self-conscious about stinking or having something stuck in your teeth – especially if you wear braces! Eyeglass cleaner, contact lens solution, or extra rubber bands for your braces might be other things you include.
With a little advance planning, you can take good care of your health and comfort, even when dealing with PCOS. Customize these suggestions to suit your own needs. That way, you can focus on what’s really important – school, your friends, and fun!
And make sure to join PCOS Wellness for Teens group on Facebook – a special place just for teens to learn about taking care of PCOS!