Sharing tips on premenstrual syndrome self-care and how to have happier and more balanced days leading up to your cycle.
Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? I hope you’re enjoying the morning. I’m going to take a hot yoga class and then catch up on some admin stuff around here.
Today, I wanted to dive into a topic that’s all too familiar to many of us: premenstrual syndrome (PMS). We’ll explore what it is, why it happens, and most importantly, how you can embrace self-care to make your pre-period days happier and healthier.
Premenstrual Syndrome Self-Care
As women, we know that our menstrual cycle can be both a source of empowerment and, at times, a bit of a challenge. The days leading up to our period can often feel like an emotional and physical rollercoaster. You might find yourself wondering, “Is there a way to make this time more comfortable?” The answer is a resounding yes!
PMS is incredibly common, affecting millions of women worldwide. It’s not just about a little moodiness; it can get pretty disruptive and uncomfortable. You might experience mood swings, bloating, irritability, and those delightful cravings for chocolate and chips. Trust me; you’re not alone. At the same time, it’s important to remember that while these symptoms are common, they’re not *normal.* Your body WANTS to be in balance, and there are ways to make your cycle less of an emotional and physical event.
What Is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
PMS is a set of symptoms that typically occurs in the days leading up to your period. It’s like a not-so-pleasant reminder that Aunt Flo is on her way. These symptoms are linked to hormonal fluctuations, primarily involving estrogen and progesterone.
Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms
Let’s break it down with a quick list of common PMS symptoms:
Mood swings that can make you feel all over the place: elated, melancholy, sad, crying, irritable, anxious, and moody
Bloating that makes stretchy pants the only enjoyable wardrobe choice
Food cravings that lead to intense love affairs with chocolate, chips, fried foods, and ice cream
(PS the best dessert in Tucson is at Vivace!)
Irritability and moodiness
6 PMS Self-Care Tips
Now, the exciting part – how to conquer these PMS blues with some self-care strategies. *Please note that this post is not medical advice. If you have horrible PMS, reach out to your health care provider. Also, do not accept birth control as a band-aid solution. Seek out the root causes as to why you’re feeling this way!
Let’s get into it:
1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Cycle (and Give Yourself Grace)
One of the most powerful tools you have in your PMS-fighting arsenal is knowledge. Understanding your menstrual cycle, including when to expect PMS symptoms, can be a game-changer. Start tracking your cycles on a calendar or using one of the many period-tracking apps available. This awareness can help you prepare for the days when PMS is most likely to rear its head. Check out this post on Fertility Awareness Method here!
But here’s the key: be gentle with yourself. It’s entirely okay to have off days. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling a little different or needing extra self-care during this time. Also, use this time for nourishing foods, extra rest days, and the things that make you feel good.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Food can be your best friend or your worst enemy during PMS. Many of us experience cravings for salty, sweet, or carb-heavy treats. While it’s okay to indulge your cravings in moderation, focus on maintaining a balanced diet. Incorporate protein and healthy fats into your meals to stabilize blood sugar levels and ease cravings.
Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish, along with healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and olive oil, can help keep those hunger-driven mood swings at bay. And yes, you can still enjoy a bit of dark chocolate – it’s known to boost serotonin levels and improve mood.
3. Stay Active (Even When You’d Rather Curl Up)
It’s tempting to skip your workout during PMS, especially when you’re dealing with fatigue, cramps, or mood swings. However, regular exercise can be a powerful tool in your PMS-fighting toolkit. Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that can help lift your mood.
You don’t need to engage in intense workouts – even a brisk walk or a gentle yoga session can work wonders. The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. So, grab your comfy workout gear and remind yourself that you’ll feel better afterward.
4. Prioritize Sleep (and Invest in Your Sleep Sanctuary)
Adequate sleep is a non-negotiable when it comes to managing PMS symptoms. Poor sleep can exacerbate mood swings, fatigue, and irritability. It can also decrease insulin sensitivity, which is a bummer when we’re craving sweets and sugar! Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to rest: keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and quality pillows to support your slumber.
Establish a bedtime routine that signals to your body that it’s time to wind down. This can include gentle stretching, reading a book, or sipping herbal tea or a golden milk latte. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, especially in the days leading up to your period.
5. Reduce Stress (and Find Your Zen Zone)
Stress and PMS often go hand in hand, creating a not-so-harmonious symphony of discomfort. While we can’t always eliminate stress entirely, we can manage it more effectively. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, or practicing yoga can help calm your mind and reduce stress.
You might also explore mindfulness or journaling to gain insights into your emotional state during PMS. Identifying triggers and patterns can empower you to navigate stress more skillfully. And remember, it’s okay to say no to additional commitments or responsibilities during this time. Your well-being comes first.
6. Try Alternative Remedies (with Professional Guidance)
If you find that your PMS symptoms are significantly impacting your quality of life, consider exploring alternative remedies with the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some women find relief through supplements like vitamin B6, DIM, and herbal supplements for PMS.
Vitamin B6, for instance, may help reduce mood swings and breast tenderness associated with PMS. DIM can help the body process estrogen effectively, which can reduce the estrogen dominance symptoms that are linked to PMS. Sweet potatoes are a natural source of progesterone, which can be especially calming and balancing during the second half of our cycle.
However, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your routine. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that these remedies are safe and appropriate for your unique needs.
Remember, self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity for your mental and physical well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed, and always listen to your body.
For more self-care inspiration, check out my previous post on self care and learn how to eat for your menstrual cycle in this post.
I hope this post was helpful for you! If you’re looking for natural ways to balance your cycle, and want to work with a practitioner to find root causes and get you feeling amazing, join me in Vitality for a combination of self-paced learning, and individual testing and action plans. All of the details are here!