Premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, is that really annoying moment of chaos that happens right before your period starts. It’s the mood swings, bloating, crazy food cravings, fatigue—yup, all of that can be attributed to PMS.
And honestly? That’s not even all there is. Some women experience cramps, flu-like symptoms, and other mental, emotional, and physical issues before “Aunt Flo” even arrives. Chile, it’s a straight up mess.
While we probably can’t do away with it all together, there are a few habits we can pick up that’ll alleviate the symptoms and give us a much-needed break.
Tip #1: Integrate essential oils into your daily routine.
Essential oils don’t just smell good—they have some real health benefits, too. When your PMS is especially unrelenting, essential oils are a good, fuss-free way to encourage mood regulation and alleviate cramps and body aches.
You have the option to go the aromatherapy route and place your favorite oil into a diffuser or you can try topical solutions that are safe to rub on your tummy, back, and other areas of concern.
Here a few essential oils that are ideal for your monthly PMS woes like cramps, mood swings, and other physical and emotional discomforts:
Clary Sage: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this oil is great to use on the areas that experience tenderness, soreness, and cramps. Massage a little bit directly into your trouble zones, or put a few drops into your bubble bath and soak.
Peppermint: Peppermint works best for all of those yucky stomach issues you may have, such as nausea and heartburn. While you should only ingest peppermint in edible forms like tea and cooking oil, you can still use essential oils in your diffusers and room sprays.
Ylang-Ylang: Ylang-Ylang is a good alternative for lavendar essential oil because it shares the same anti-stress properties. This essential oil works best for PMS-induced insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety.
Tip #2: Cut back on highly-processed foods.
Not eating junk food all day, everyday is pretty good advice in general, but it’s especially helpful when it comes to alleviating PMS symptoms. In fact, there’s a science to it, and it has everything to do with what certain foods do to your hormones.
“Sugary foods can help our moods temporarily and help us feel happier in the moment, but causes low progesterone overall,” According to Erika Angle, Ph.D, founder of wellness company, Ixcela.
“However, progesterone is necessary to feel calm, so [keeping progesterone levels balanced] is extremely critical in preventing negative side effects.”
So naturally, heavily processed foods with high amount of sugar and trans-fat can cause pronounced PMS symptoms, as well as inflammation.
Tip #3: Boost those endorphins during PMS and after.
Endorphins are chemical messengers that are naturally released when our bodies are trying to ward off stress of all kinds. They’re typically released during injuries, stressful periods, and when we engage in pleasurable behaviors like eating good food or exercising.
While there are obvious significant emotional and mental benefits to endorphin release, endorphins also work to relieve physical pain. In short, doing things to boost endorphins could also do a world of good for cramps.
Here are a few things you can do to boost endorphins and feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically during PMS:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
- Eat healthy, delicious snacks like dark chocolate.
- Participate in meditation or mindful resting.
- Release healthy emotions by engaging activities that make you laugh, happy cry, or feel increased excitement.
- Try physical wellness practices like acupuncture and massages.
- Get into creative arts like acting, singing, dancing, and other forms of performative arts.
Above all, getting through PMS symptoms in one piece comes down to taking good care of yourself and doing what makes you feel nourished, healthy, and cared.