I've said it before. Many times. But donating blood is awesome. And I've got it down to a science. Here's my recipe for success...
1) Dinner the night before. Lots and lots of spinach, beans, etc. Get that iron level up! Trent made this Indian-inspired creation with a whole bag of frozen spinach, a giant can of kidney beans, lots of spices and paneer cheese. Perfect.
2) Drink lots of water. More than you'd think. Juice, water, tea, anything.
3) Exercise. I donated in the morning, which was a first for me, but still made it over to the gym beforehand to lift weights for about 30 minutes. Even that quick workout made the whole thing go so much easier.
4) During the donation. Laugh, talk, sing, shake your feet. I find when I get silent, I tend to tighten my muscles and breath more shallow. Bad news. Chat with the person taking your blood, sing along to the music, laugh with the volunteers. They know what you are going through, they won't think you are a nutter. Juice is better than soda for sipping, at least for me.
5) Afterward. Drink lots, but don't eat too much at the recovery table. Sometimes the blood required for digesting food is enough to make me dizzy. Stick with juice and candy. But do eat a good, protein packed meal a few hours later (I had black beans with a veggie patty and sweet potato).
Feel good about yourself and the people (babies for me!) that you are helping. Wear your arm bandage with pride and bug your co-workers to try to donate. And of course, eat some skittles.