What is PMS?
PMS stands for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. PMS is the abbreviation used to categorise common symptoms experienced by menstruators in the luteal (AKA premenstrual) phase. These symptoms usually show up a week or so before your period starts, and they tend to disappear after your period.
Your natural hormones have a lot to answer for when it comes to the ups and downs you experience week to week. How you feel during your period is quite different to how you feel one week later. How you feel when you’re premenstrual is very different again.
You can balance your stress and anxiety by taking time to relax. If you understand how you usually feel when you’re premenstrual you can plan ahead and carve out some “me-time”. A little self-care can go a long way.
Here are some of my favourite ways to de-stress before your period.
When you’re PMS-ing you might get stressed out more easily than usual. Set some healthy boundaries around what you are and aren’t willing to accept in your life right now. Speaking to the people in your life to let them know how you’re feeling can be really beneficial.
If you feel like you’ve got too much on your plate already, say no to new commitments. You don’t have to come up with excuses, a simple “no, I can’t do that right now” is sufficient. If you’re struggling with stress, reschedule plans that you don’t feel like facing at the moment.
It’s okay to want some alone time when you’re premenstrual. A soak in the tub to relax is a great idea. Put on some relaxing music and shut the world out for a little while.
Submerging yourself in water helps to calm the nervous system which can reduce stress and improve your mood. A warm bath can also help with increasing your serotonin levels which are linked with happiness and wellbeing.
Meditation For Stress & Anxiety
Meditation has become more and more popular recently. Although you might think meditation is only for buddhist monks, meditation is simply about clearing your mind and calming your body. You don’t have to sit for hours, just a few minutes of silent practise every day can be really beneficial.
There are a bunch of meditation apps out there and you can also listen to guided meditations for anxiety on Youtube. I am currently using Balance app www.balanceapp.com which has a range of meditation practises with different goals. You can use them to de-stress, gain focus or wind down.
Taking the easy route when your focus is lacking can help to take off some of the stress. You might not have the concentration for cooking a 12 course meal at the end of a long day at work. Taking some shortcuts is fine.
Taking the easy route when you’re stressed does not make you lazy. You don’t have to push yourself to give 110% all of the time. Work smarter not harder.
If you’re trying to be productive and struggling with a lack of focus, it makes sense to remove distractions. Having loud music on or trying to have conversations while you’re busy can lead to you making mistakes. This will only increase your stress levels further.
Setting some boundaries and not allowing yourself to be interrupted will help. This is beneficial whether you’re trying to work or whether you’re trying to relax. Switch your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or aeroplane mode. Nobody wants to be answering texts while they’re trying to enjoy a hot bath.
If you know you’re more likely to be stressed out during your premenstrual phase, you can plan ahead. Get high intensity work done earlier in your cycle when you’re less likely to get stressed about it. Your ovulation phase is ideal for this.
This is called cycle syncing. Essentially, it means working with your hormonal ups and downs to best optimise your time, energy and efforts. This is the most useful tool you have when it comes to taking the stress out of your cycle.