There’s so much to love about being a woman. Now, in my mid-30s, I’ve gotten so much better at embracing all the feminine bad-assery that exists inside me. Sure, not every day is rainbows and butterflies, but progress, not perfection, right?
There is, however, this one thing that I wish we could do something about — PMS.
I recently read that something like 85 percent of women experience symptoms of PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. The uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as cramps and bloating, are bad enough. Then, once a month, it’s like the same hormones that make us such awesome wonder women turn into a lethal cocktail and take us on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
A small percentage of women may experience symptoms so severe that medical intervention is warranted. But, fortunately for most of us, dealing with the irritability and mood swings associated with PMS doesn’t have to be so frustrating and complicated. There are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you maintain a more positive vibe. The best part is that these are all things that will benefit your entire life, no matter the time of the month.
As with most things, a little self-care goes a long way.
How to Deal With PMS
- Get moving. The same aerobic exercise that lifts your spirits when you’re feeling down can work wonders when it comes to the emotional symptoms of PMS. Maybe it’s the release of those feel-good endorphins, but something about getting your heart pumping can really send the anxiety and sadness packing. Try it out. Pick something you love and do it for 30 minutes or so. Nothing like a good sweat session to clear out the funk.
- Eat smarter. Blood sugar spikes can worsen the symptoms. To help keep your levels steady, try eating smaller but more frequent meals and limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume in the weeks before your period. Alcohol and caffeine can also intensify the emotional symptoms of PMS. Caffeine has been shown to increase feelings of anxiety as well as lead to difficulty sleeping, and alcohol acts as a depressant. Avoiding or limiting foods and beverages containing sugar, alcohol and caffeine (yes, even chocolate) as much as possible can help keep your emotions and moods in check.
- Stop stressing. I know, easier said than done. But it’s an important life skill to be able to find things that help you decompress and de-stress. Obviously, physical activity (see above) is one fabulous way but really anything that helps you relax and unwind is helpful. Yoga, meditation, conscious deep breathing, massage and bubble baths are some of my stress-relieving BFFs. But even something simple like giving yourself a pedicure, journaling, reading or coloring can help take the edge off. Get out into nature. Play with your kids. The options are truly endless. If it makes you feel good, consider this your free pass to do it. Cut yourself some slack once a month and you might be surprised how much better you feel.
How do you deal with the emotional symptoms of PMS? —Alison