“Self-care isn’t selfish. Let’s break the stigma and empower ourselves to live our best lives.” 

Can you tell us what you’re raising awareness for in this campaign? 
The importance of embracing our natural cycles and breaking the stigma around periods. My one message is that self-care isn’t selfish. We want to encourage everyone to feel confident and proud of their natural cycles and empower them to turn any negative feelings into a sense of empowerment. It’s important to remember that we all have our own way of experiencing our periods, and it’s okay to do what makes us feel most comfortable – whether that’s going out or staying in, eating apples or chocolate. By embracing our natural cycle, we can better understand and take care of our bodies and minds. So, whether it’s doing our makeup, our hair care routine, or simply taking a nap during your period, remember that #SelfCareIsn’tSelfish. Let’s break the stigma and empower ourselves to live our best lives. 

What has inspired you to become passionate about raising awareness on this topic? 
As the Circularity Advisor at Arkive, my goal is to fight waste in the beauty industry and to collaborate with companies with whom we can create an alliance for spreading the message: #SelfCareIsn’tSelfish.  
Let it be skin-care brands, promoting natural skin and that normal skin is not flawless, but natural. Let it be makeup brands with whom we can create awareness about makeup. It is not here to hide our imperfections, but to highlight our best features. 
And let it be brands like Yoni, with whom we can start raising awareness about self-care during our periods, embracing our natural cycle and think about our period as a natural empowering source, rather than a stigma that we have to suffer. 

Why is this important to you personally? 
As the Circularity Advisor at Arkive, my passion for this cause stems from my goal to fight waste in the beauty industry and collaborate with like-minded companies to spread the message that self care isn’t selfish. However, this cause is also deeply personal to me. During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health took a back seat to physical health, and my own periods became days to simply survive with painkillers and chocolate. I realized that I didn’t want to spend 2-3 days of every month for the next 30 years just trying to get through it. It’s time to prioritize our mental well-being as well. By embracing our natural cycles and prioritizing self-care, we can promote holistic wellness and empower ourselves to live more fulfilling lives. Menstrual equity is also a critical social justice issue that affects people all over the world, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. I am inspired to break the stigma and encourage everyone to embrace their natural cycles with confidence and pride. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge within and menstrual care right now?  
The social stigma that surrounds menstruation and the lack of education and access to menstrual products. Especially in low-income communities. It can be addressed by educating people about menstrual health and hygiene, promoting menstrual equity, and providing access to affordable and sustainable menstrual products. Next to this, also promoting the message that self care Isn’t selfish.  

What is one myth or misconception about menstruation that you most want to dispel? 
That periods are dirty or shameful. This is simply not true. Menstruation is a natural and necessary biological process that affects half of the world’s population. It’s time to break the stigma and start talking about periods openly and without shame. 

What do you hope to achieve with your work regarding these topics?  
In the short term, I hope to raise awareness about the importance of self-care and embracing our natural cycles. In the long term, I hope to contribute to a world where menstrual equity is achieved, and everyone has access to safe, affordable, and sustainable menstrual products. 

What is an important lesson you’ve learned on your journey so far?  
That creating meaningful and lasting change is a gradual process. It requires persistence, effort, and dedication. Collaborating with others who share the same vision can also help to bring about change. Additionally, I have discovered the importance of tailoring our message to various communication styles to ensure that everyone can relate to and benefit from our cause. 

What advice would you give to people who want to work on prioritizing self care especially during their menstruation? 
It is crucial to attend to your physical, mental, and emotional needs and to recognize that your period is a natural and empowering aspect of your life. This involves accepting any discomfort or negative emotions as part of the process, which can serve as a coping mechanism and lead to acceptance and appreciation. 

What advice would you give to people who want to contribute to ending the stigma?    
My advice would be to educate yourself about menstrual health and hygiene, support organizations working towards menstrual equity, and advocate for better access to menstrual products. Work towards achievable goals. It’s important to take concrete actions and make a tangible impact, rather than getting bogged down by the scale of the problem. 

Can you recommend something that people can do to help your mission?  
One way to help our mission is to support organizations that are working towards menstrual equity, such as Yoni or The Period Purse. You can also read books like Period Power by Nadya Okamoto or The Bloody Truth by Mariette Pathy Allen to learn more about the history and social implications of menstruation. Next to this, you can also follow Arkive.nl and read tips for self-care and acceptance. 

Why do you think it’s important that people like you are heard and amplified? 
It’s important that people like me are heard and amplified because we have the power to break down barriers and bring about positive change. By speaking out and sharing our stories, we can inspire others to do the same and create a more equitable world for all. And why can’t we talk about periods?  

Want to connect with Sara Devenyi? Reach @sara.devenyi on Instagram. 

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