As well as tracking your cycle and slowing things down just before your period, here’s some general self care and coping tips to help kick PMS to the curb.
The food we eat helps us regulate our bodily functions, and one of those functions is the transport of certain hormones. Eating well throughout the month is one of the best and healthiest ways to curb PMS symptoms.
Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins like Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium can affect hormones and make symptoms associated with PMS, worse. Likewise, although you might find yourself craving those sweet, carby meals and snacks - but overloading on sugar can also worsen PMS symptoms.
Exercise can help alleviate PMS symptoms. Especially aerobic exercise. If you’re not an avid exerciser, don’t be put off - you don’t have to join a gym or take up running. Exercise should be available in some form to everyone. Experiment to find one that works for you.
From walking, jogging, skipping (jump rope) and swimming to local classes like yoga, pilates and spinning - there’s lots to choose from. Even just switching up your route to work to incorporate 30 minutes walking each day could make a noticeable difference.
PMS can affect our body clocks, making it more difficult to sleep even if we’re feeling lethargic. To try and counter this, tune out for as long as possible before bedtime. Try putting your phone away (staring at your phone before bed can make it harder to fall asleep), dimming the lights and doing something you find relaxing before shutting your eyes for the night.
Ensure the room you’re sleeping in is ventilated (opening the window for a short period of time each day can help to increase oxygen levels in the room) and make your bed as comfortable as possible.
Essential oils like lavender can also help aid sleep, so popping a few drops on your pillowcase might help you drift off.
Stress has a habit of making any symptom worse, including those of PMS. Some people find massage, yoga and meditation really help.
Don’t feel guilty about saying “no”. Although it’s a good time to take stock, It might help to try and avoid having any big or important discussions around this time.
Studies have shown smoking can make PMS symptoms worse, so, apart from the fact it can cause cancer - another pretty good reason to stop!
If your PMS really has you at the end of your tether, you might want to speak to a healthcare professional to see if specific treatments are worth looking into. As well as lifestyle and habit changes your doctor can suggest things such as hormonal medicines, cognitive behavioural therapy or antidepressants to help beat those monthly blues.
For more in depth info on tackling PMS, PMDD and mental health - stay tuned. We’re on a mission to arm you with the facts you need to feel on top of your menstrual health for your whole cycle, every cycle.