Share PMS self-care tips and how to have happier, more balanced days before your cycle.
Hello friends! How is the day so far? I hope you are enjoying your morning. I’m going to take a hot yoga class and then catch up on some admin stuff here.
Today, I wanted to dive into a topic that is very 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 days leading up to your period happier and healthier.
Premenstrual Syndrome Self Care
As women, we know that our menstrual cycle can be both empowering and, at times, a bit of a challenge. The days leading up to our period can often feel like an emotional and physical roller coaster. You may be wondering, “Is there a way to make this moment more comfortable?” The answer is a resounding yes!
PMS is incredibly common, affecting the daily lives of millions of women worldwide. It’s not just a little moodiness. it can become quite annoying and uncomfortable. You may experience one of the many symptoms of PMS, including mood swings, bloating, irritability and those delightful chocolate and crisp cravings. Trust me; you are not alone. At the same time, it’s important to remember that while these side effects 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 usually occur 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 associated with hormonal fluctuations, mainly involving estrogen and progesterone.
Some women also experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a much more severe type of PMS.
Premenstrual syndrome symptoms
There are many symptoms of PMS, including:
Mood swings that can make you feel all over the place: excited, depressed, sad, tearful, irritable, anxious, and moody
Puffiness that makes elastic pants the only enjoyable wardrobe choice
Food cravings leading to intense love affairs with chocolate, crisps, fried foods and ice cream
Irritability and moodiness
(PS the best dessert in Tucson is at Vivace!)
8 PMS Self Care Tips
Now, the exciting part – how to conquer those PMS blues with a few self-care strategies. *Please note that this post does not constitute medical advice. If you have horrible PMS or even symptoms you’d rather live without, talk to your healthcare provider. Also, don’t accept birth control as a band-aid solution. Look for the root causes of why you feel this way!
Fortunately, there are several ways to find some relief during this uncomfortable time of the month. Let’s get into it:
1. Get to know your circle (and give yourself some grace)
One of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal to combat PMS is knowledge. Understanding your menstrual cycle, including when to expect PMS symptoms, can be a game changer. Start tracking your cycles in 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 the Fertility Awareness Method here!
But here’s the key: be kind to yourself. It’s totally okay to have days off. Don’t beat yourself up because you feel a little different or need extra self-care during this time. Also, use this time for nutritious foods, extra rest days, and things that make you feel good.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Food can be your best friend or worst enemy during PMS. Many of us feel cravings for salty, sweet or carbohydrate-rich treats. While it’s okay to indulge in cravings in moderation, it’s especially important to eat a balanced diet that includes protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain your energy level, 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-induced mood swings at bay. And yes, you can still enjoy some 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 experiencing fatigue, cramps, or mood swings. However, regular exercise can be a powerful tool in your PMS-fighting toolbox. Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that can help lift your mood.
You don’t have to do vigorous workouts – even a brisk walk or a gentle yoga session can do 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 afterwards.
4. Drink plenty of fluids
Proper hydration is important whether you have PMS or not. But it’s important when you’re hoping for some relief from pesky PMS symptoms. When you drink enough water, your body is better equipped to fight fatigue and dehydration while supporting optimal digestion and hormone regulation. Many health professionals recommend the standard eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, but how much water your body needs varies from person to person, and you usually need even more when you’re on your period.
5. Prioritize sleep (and invest in your sleep shelter)
Adequate sleep is non-negotiable when it comes to managing PMS symptoms. Poor sleep can worsen mood swings, fatigue and irritability. It can also reduce insulin sensitivity, which is scary when we crave sweets and sugar! Make sure your sleeping environment is conducive to rest: keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and quality pillows to support your sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine that signals to your body that it’s time to relax. This can include gentle stretching, reading a book or drinking 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.
6. Reduce stress (and find your Zen zone)
Anxiety and PMS often go hand in hand, creating a not-so-harmonious symphony of discomfort. While we can’t always eliminate stress completely, we can manage it more effectively. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga practice can help calm your mind and reduce stress.
You can also explore mindfulness or journaling to gain insight into your emotional state during PMS. Identifying triggers and patterns can enable 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.
7. Try alternative therapies (with professional guidance)
If you find that your PMS symptoms are significantly affecting your quality of life, consider exploring alternative treatments with the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some women find relief through supplements such as vitamin B6, DIM, calcium and magnesium, as well as herbal supplements for PMS.
Vitamin supplements such as vitamin B6For example, it can relieve PMS symptoms such as mood swings and breast tenderness. DIM can help the body process estrogen effectively, which can reduce the symptoms of estrogen dominance associated with 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 is important to consult your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your routine. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure these treatments are safe and appropriate for your unique needs.
Remember, self-care is not a luxury. it is a necessity for your mental and physical well-being. Don’t hesitate to ask for support when needed and always listen to your body.
8. Track your PMS symptoms in a diary
Keeping track of PMS symptoms in a diary makes it easier to identify which symptoms you struggle with the most. Tracking your symptoms can also help you identify potential triggers so you and your doctor can figure out what solution will work best for you. Health professionals recommend that you record the following information:
- Your symptoms
- The severity of your symptoms
- How long do your symptoms last?
- Whether or not your symptoms respond to a treatment
- At what point during your cycle do your symptoms appear?
You may need to try different things to treat PMS. Some things you try may work and some may not. Tracking your symptoms can help you find the treatments that work best for you.
For more self-care inspiration, check out my previous self-care post 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 professional to get to the root causes and make you feel amazing, join me at Vitality for a combination of self-study and one-on-one testing and action plans. All the details are here!