Why Traveling May Give You Irregular Periods
We totally get it: On a trip, you don’t want to even think about getting your period, let alone talk about periods. You can track your cycle a million times to know exactly when to anticipate it, but unfortunately, you still can’t will it to arrive on schedule (if only!). During your travels, you may notice that your period starts to fall out of sync, make you feel sick, or even disappear altogether for the month. Doctors say it’s common to have early, late, or even missed periods while you travel, especially if you’re traveling internationally or through a different time zone. We chatted with some experts to discover why your vacation plans may naturally mess with your cycle.
Why It Happens
The major players here are hormones, explains Joshua Klein, chief medical officer and reproductive endocrinologist at Extend Fertility in New York City. Your whole menstrual cycle depends on them to stay regular, to ovulate, and then to either prepare for pregnancy or release the egg during menstruation. “While many hormones are involved in the control of your menstrual cycle, two important ones are known to be directly related to travel and stress: cortisol and melatonin. Changes in sleep schedules, like early flights, time zone changes, and added stress can have some effect on these hormone levels,” Klein says.
A change in the levels of melatonin (the hormone that regulates your sleep schedule) or cortisol, the classic stress hormone, can alter ovulation, according to Klein, which then disrupts your period’s normal schedule. While yes, you may be on vacation and relaxing more than you might be if you were back at the daily grind at home, there are still stressors present that affect your body’s natural rhythms. You could also be traveling for business, which likely brings additional stress. “Anything that throws your body out of its normal routine can cause ‘stress,’ which can trigger hormonal changes. This can include travel anxiety, a change in sleep schedule, or a shift in eating habits — all things that often accompany travel,” he says.
Your birth control can also have an effect on your cycle’s timing. For example, if you’re on the pill and used to taking it at a certain time at home, but had a late, leisurely dinner or didn’t head back to your hotel room all day, this can make a difference. “Taking it at the same time that you take your pills at home will keep things regular,” says physician Sophia Yen, founder of Pandia Health, a birth control delivery service. Or, try a different form of contraception if you’ll be traveling more frequently to be safe. “Going on methods that last longer than one day will also help make it more regular, such as a ring, which you only have to worry about inserting once a month; a patch, which you apply once a week; or an IUD, which is inserted every five years,” Yen adds.
What to Do About It
There may be natural ways you can help your body stay on track, says holistic fertility specialist Aumatma Shah. First, diet is a huge factor in maintaining your hormonal balance. “Avoid sugar and excessively processed carbs, as well as meats that are high in excess hormones,” she recommends. And though it’s a challenge, especially when you’re in a different time zone (or just want to eat a ginormous brunch in the middle of the afternoon), keeping your meal schedule as close to regular as possible helps your body more than you realize. “Maintaining steady blood sugar and insulin levels will support healthy hormones and steady menstruation,” Shah says.
And while you may have brutal jet lag or want to stay out all night enjoying your cruise ship’s parties, sticking to your sleep routine is what keeps your melatonin levels in check in order for your period to arrive on time. As always, sleep is not just about quantity, but quality. “Make sure that sleep is rejuvenating: at least seven to eight hours, where you feel rested in the morning,” Shah advises. The other important piece of the puzzle is stress; keeping those levels low by using tools like meditation on the go or even a quick yoga class in the airport help keep cortisol down and allow all the phases of your cycle to take place as usual (here are some more stress relievers to get you through any travel-related crisis).
Here’s why you shouldn’t panic: If your period only turns up late or skips once, it’ll likely get back on schedule when you return home, Klein says. If there’s a possibility you may be pregnant, definitely start by taking an at-home test. But if there’s no shot you are, chalk it up to the whirlwind of traveling. However, once you’re back in your regular environment and routine, if you still notice spotting or irregularity, or miss more than two periods after returning, Klein advises following up with your OB/GYN to be sure you’re healthy. In the meantime, try not to worry too much about your period and go with the flow on your adventure.
Have you skipped your period on vacay but got back on track after? Talk to us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com