Do you feel more stressed than usual in the weeks leading up to your period? I see many patients who arrange their lives around their menstrual cycles, trying to lighten any burdens that may be placed upon them during these two weeks before their periods occur.
Stress and PMS can be a vicious cycle: PMS and its many symptoms increase stress, and stress increases the symptoms of PMS. Fortunately, there is a way to break this cycle! Below, we’ll outline a strategy to help you on those days when you feel like your life is out of control!
Start Your Month Off the Right Way
Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. This is the best time to set a plan into action. The hormonal shifts and loss of fluid that take place during menstruation can cause many women to feel extra fatigue. It is important to listen to your body at this time, and slow down when possible. You should also consider implementing the following:
Diet to Support Your Body
Choose natural, organic, whole foods that will balance your blood sugar and sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Lean protein like cage-free eggs and omega-3 rich walnuts will ensure that your body is supported by the purest sources. Choose organic, colorful vegetables and in-season fruit to dress up your meals. Avoid sugary, overly-processed foods. Though they may be exactly what you are craving, the rise and subsequent drop in your blood sugar will leave you desperate for something more substantial.
Hydrate Like a Pro
During menstruation, the average women loses between 10-35ml of fluid. Ensure that you are rehydrating your body by drinking pure, filtered water regularly. Try to drink between meals in order to allow your body to properly digest food. Avoid sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages, and thirst-quenching sports drinks, and instead opt for good old H2O. You’ll have more energy, feel more vibrant, and set your body up for success in the weeks to come.
Pick Up the Pace Mid-month
As you sail into the follicular portion of your cycle, you may experience a surge of energy. Now is a wonderful time to continue the healthy habits you started last week, and to add in some nourishing exercise. There are two different types that I recommend: aerobic exercise and mindfulness exercises.
Participating in heart-pumping aerobic exercise for 30-60 minutes at least three times per week is a great way to manage any pre-PMS anxiety. It will increase your circulation, release endorphins, and can also lower your risk for obesity, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers!
Practicing exercises that encourage mindfulness can help banish stress, anxiety, and worry. Starting this habit now while you’re still on top of your symptoms is essential. As you close in on PMS, take extra time to connect with your breath in these techniques and examine where you’re feeling stress in your body. Both yoga and meditation are excellent options to help you achieve this connection.
Be Kind to Yourself
Premenstrual syndrome typically appears anywhere from two weeks before menstruation up until the first day of your period. As you feel your hormones shift, be extra patient with yourself. Continue eating nutritious, wholesome food and staying hydrated. Incorporate mindfulness and aerobic exercise into your daily routine. If you feel like PMS is starting to make your day unmanageable, try the following strategies:
Soak in a Luxurious Bath
Relax in a tub of warm water. Throw in a handful of Epsom salt. It’s is composed of magnesium sulfate, which is easily absorbable and helps reduce inflammation. You can also add a couple drops of lavender essential oil, which can alleviate stress, help you relax, and calm your nerves.
This can be done anywhere, but is especially helpful while soaking in the bath mentioned above. Close your eyes and visualize a place where you feel completely at peace. What does this location look like? What colors do you see? Are you out in nature, or in a safe place indoors? Take note of this place, and mentally return here throughout the week when you feel overwhelmed.
Choose Herbs to Help
Choosing the right herbs can be as easy as enjoying a delicious cup of chamomile tea. Chaste berry, Lemon balm and cinnamon are also known to help calm nerves, increase circulation, and ease discomfort. Be sure to mention any herbal medications to your health practitioner, as they may interfere with supplements or medication you may currently be taking.
If you feel like PMS has caused your stress level to go through the roof, and your stress level is making your PMS symptoms more intense, these tips should help you start to take control of your life once again. For more answers on how to manage your hormones including how to eliminate PMS entirely, schedule a free consultation with me today!
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.