Who is the ultimate evil period monster? It's 100% my inner self-sabotaging 'I'm not good enough' story I tell myself once a month
So you are about 17ish days into your cycle and if you are like the majority of women - you start noticing some subtle to more intense shifts in how you feel, both physically and emotionally. But why?
Why do I feel so crappy around my period?
If you are anything like me, when you’re experiencing PMS you might be feeling a little blue, slightly less patient, physically ‘off’, and just mildly (majorly) deflated. A lot of these shifts in how we are feeling both mentally and physically can be attributed to the fluctuation of our hormones throughout our cycle. At various points in our cycle our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are rising and falling creating a bit of a seesaw type effect in our body’s self-regulation. In the few days to a week leading up to our period, our progesterone and estrogen levels take a nosedive. In an article by Totm, ‘The relationship between your period and your-self confidence', some symptoms of the lowered progesterone and estrogen levels can include; “water retention, acne flare up, and insomnia.'' Other symptoms that may be triggered by the drop in your hormone levels can be “cramps … fatigue… [and] a lower[ing] in your immune system, which in turn can flare-up conditions such as psoriasis or eczema”.
The article continues to explore the potential correlation between reduced levels of estrogen which may lead to a dip in serotonin. As serotonin functions in mood regulation this dip can be correlated to increased emotional sensitivity and lowered self-confidence. As we all experience PMS and our periods on a very individual level - it is not uncommon for women to experience varying degrees of lowered (or no self-confidence) during our cycles. I know that for myself, the increased water retention and brain fog that I experience during PMS doesn’t leave me feeling like my sexiest and most confident self.
That said, what are the ways in which we can support ourselves to try to counteract these hormonal and chemical shifts? How can we leverage healthier and stronger feelings of self-love and care?
In an article by Everyday Health, author Jen Sheehan states that while more research needs to be done on the link between lowered estrogen and lowered serotonin levels, that “lower serotonin levels are associated with depression, irritability, and carbohydrate cravings, all of which can be PMS symptoms”.
In our opinion, supporting ourselves really begins with understanding our bodies and what's happening. Understanding the impacts of the fluctuation of our hormones on our biochemicals - which in turn impact our mood regulation, sleep, social desires, and well-being - might be a reminder to be less hard on ourselves during PMS.
That said, what are the ways in which we can support ourselves to try to counteract these hormonal and chemical shifts? How can we leverage healthier and stronger feelings of self-love and care? This might be as simple (or challenging) as making sure we have enough sleep. The ways in which I support myself when I am not feeling my best are to go for a walk, bake something delicious, and shower myself with positive affirmations.
What is one thing that you can do for yourself the next time you find yourself being hard on yourself during PMS?
Sheehan, J. (2010). Mood Swings: PMS and Your Emotional Health. [Retrieved September 23, 2020] from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/pms/mood-swings.aspx
The relationship between your period and your self-confidence. [Retrieved September 23, 2020] from: https://www.totm.com/the-relationship-between-your-period-and-your-self-confidence/
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