When I started my period at the age of 10 I had no idea what was happening. As a teen, my periods were terrible. My cramps were debilitating and I had periods that would sometimes last for a month with the extra perk of huge mood swings. I was miserable.
In my 20s, I lived in fear of my period. It meant I was going to rage-out and end my very off/on relationships. I would get upset about everything so it was inevitable. It also meant I’d be curled up in bed crying because I hurt so much – mentally and emotionally.
When I began my self-love journey, a lot of things I read had an emphasis on honoring your cycle and honoring your emotions during that time of the month. I found it so hard to do that. How could I honor something that felt so destructive?
I did learn to be kind to myself. To be compassionate to the things that I was experiencing. I learned how to process those heavy emotions every month and I tried to do kind things to myself. Growing older helped too, my hormones leveled out and my symptoms grew milder (thankfully).
If your period is difficult for you, I’m not going to ask you to see it as a wonderful and magical time – but I will give you 10 Self-Care Tips for PMS to make it more bearable. Reminder: All bodies are different and it’s always important to talk to a doctor.
10 Self-Care Tips for PMS
1. Eat what makes you feel good. We all know to stay away from sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. But sometimes you have to treat yourself to a cupcake or a piece of chocolate because it makes you feel good. This is not the time to guilt/shame yourself over your food choices. Good nutrition definitely helps but moderation is important too.
Definitely up your water intake!
Focus on what’s good for you, physically and mentally.
2. Heating pads and hot compresses are amazing. I have this awesome homemade heating bag full of feed corn. You put it in the microwave for a few minutes and then rest on your tummy to help ease cramps. It works for your back too! I also have a traditional heating pad that helps soothe and relax my whole body.
3. Look into eco-friendly options. There are so many out there. Tampons without plastic applicators. Period undies. Cloth washable pads.
I’ve been using a menstrual cup for years and while there’s a definite learning curve in the beginning it helps me so much. No leaks at night, less cramping, and I’m being kinder to the environment. I use the Lena Cup and out of the three brands I’ve tried, it works the best for me. (Expert tip: if it’s uncomfortable, cut the stem shorter, or cut it off completely.)
4. There’s just something super calming about tea. Maybe it’s the warmth, maybe it’s the depth of the flavors, but I love it, especially during that time of the month. Chamomile and mint are especially soothing.
5. Let your mind and body rest. You’ll probably need more sleep – make space in your day for it.
6. Be loving and kind to yourself.
7. Comfy pajamas. Wear things that make you feel comfortable. Have special period underwear that are actually nice looking (black’s not a bad idea!).
8. Hot Baths and Showers. Give yourself a nice long soak, it helps relax your whole body and it helps with cramps.
9. Gentle Yoga. I know you might not feel like moving but yoga is so helpful, especially if your body tenses up from the pain or added stress. It’s a nice way to calm your mind and body and feel better at the same time. Yoga with Adriene has a wonderful video called Yoga for Cramps and PMS and Yoga for Mood Swings. Both awesome (and gentle) videos.
10. Essential Oils! I was actually inspired to write this post because of Simply Earth’s monthly essential oil recipe month. I just recieved May’s box and it’s full of essential oils and recipes specifically for PMS.
It has lavender flowers to add to your bath, four different essential oils: Marjoram, Ladies’ Choice (clary sage, marjoram, lavender, geranium), Good Vibes (lavender, lemon, geranium, clary sage), and Tangerine. You can order your own box here. If it’s your first order, not only will you get their bonus box, but use the code DOMINEEFREE for a $40 gift card toward your next order.