10 Ways to Beat Period Blues So You Don’t Become a PMS Monster

by Michelle Yeoh
HEALTH  |  November 06, 2017
  • Feeling low and cranky?
    1 / 11 Feeling low and cranky?

    Whenever Aunt Flo’s about to make her periodical visits, it’s almost a customary practise for her to first send over her parlous partner-in-crime: PMS depression. Aggressively intrusive and spiteful, it practically checks all the boxes for being the ultimate worst guest ever.

    Seriously, we never wanted a part in any of this; on top of having to endure torment from bloating, cramping, hormonal acne and stubborn cravings (we said no to that chocolate cake already, didn’t we!), we have to additionally tend to our emotional distress as well. The cold hard truth is that there isn’t a real permanent cure for PMS, but there are however, a few ways to control our pre-menstrual mood swings before they come around to control us instead. If you’re tired of suffering from the dreaded period blues, click through to find out how you can tackle it with these 10 undemanding steps.

    All photos: www.123rf.com

    A version of this article originally appeared in www.herworldplus.com.

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  • Keep a Diary Log
    2 / 11 Keep a Diary Log

    Penning down your emotions when caught in a seemingly endless web of pessimism is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to dispelling negative thoughts. We find that most of the anxiety and negativity which invade our head space prior to getting our period are, more often than not, irrational.

    (Also Read: 8 Toxic Habits To Cut Out Of Your Life To Be Truly Happy)

    Having destructive thoughts bounce back and forth within the confined area of your consciousness can take a strain on your emotional capacity. Ergo, it would help to materialised these thoughts by putting your fears, worries and thoughts in writing in order to have a better grip on your emotions. You’ll also look back on your dairy log a few weeks later to realise that you’ve completely outgrown those mental vexations, allowing you to advance with a (as cheesy as it is) ‘This too shall pass’ mindset in such future occurrences.

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  • Keep Calm and Chow On
    3 / 11 Keep Calm and Chow On

    It’s crucial to watch the food you take in prior to the onset of your period as dietary imbalances and nutritional deficiencies may further propagate your already existing PMS symptoms. For a start, you might want to refrain from giving into temptation by hollowing out that new tub of Ben and Jerry’s. The only thing that influx of sugar is going to do is encourage bloating and give you a sugar crash after. This only serves to further irritate you and tire you out. Watch your intake of salt as well – high sodium intake can lead to water retention around your abdomen and cause breast tenderness. In short, your comfort levels are going to take a lofty plunge before hitting rock bottom.

    When hunger pangs strike, reach for calcium-rich foods like low-fat yogurt. Your body, however, won’t be able to absorb the calcium without the help of Vitamin D. So help yourself to a serving or two of fish dishes with the likes of salmon, cod or sardines in order to contribute to calcium absorption while keeping your nutrients level balanced. In fact, studies have further shown that a diet rich in Vitamin D have 40 per cent chance of reducing PMS symptoms. Foods rich in Magnesium, Zinc, or Vitamin B6 are also helpful in reducing water retention and encouraging the regulation of serotonin flow – also known as the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter which would impact your mood. These foods include chickpeas, brown rice, brazil nuts, cocoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli.

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  • Use Essential Oils
    4 / 11 Use Essential Oils

    Essential oils are popular for their uses in clearing your ever-restless mind and healing the body; unravelling even the most stubborn knots from of your tightened muscles. They’re our go-to solution for reducing mood swings and relieving fatigue or vexing body aches that come along with premenstrual depression.

    There are many ways to integrate these therapeutic drops of goodness into your lifestyle. For instance, you can simply add a few drops of essential oils to a warm bath, rub it into your temples, add small doses to medicinal teas or even utilise them in the form of inhalers and air diffusers for a soothing, spa-at-home experience. Here’s a simple run-down to determine which essential oils work best to target your specific PMS symptoms:

    Depression – Oils of clary sage, jasmine, neroli and ylang-ylang

    Mood Swings – Oils of lavender, clary sage, and ylang ylang

    Anxiety – Oils of lavender, bergamot and ylang-ylang

    Cramps – Oils of lavender, geranium, and marjoram

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  • Start Integrating Herbs into Your Diet
    5 / 11 Start Integrating Herbs into Your Diet

    The band of PMS herbal remedy ‘non-believers’ may argue that there just isn’t enough substantially conclusive scientific research behind its use in curbing PMS depression.

    (Also Read: Relieve Menstrual Problems With These Massages and Herbs)

    But we’re willing to take a chance on chasteberries for its bona fide miraculous effects per se. Of all herbal supplements affiliated with PMS symptoms, chasteberry has been known to have gained the most traction amongst scientists for its reported effectiveness in expelling breast pain. It also contains compounds which affect receptors for estrogen and dopamine – other hormones responsible for happiness.

    The herb, albeit being ‘natural’ supplement, does have side effects to take dutiful precautions against as a matter of course. Chasteberries may react with birth control pills and estrogen supplements to give you a skin rash so take these with discretion ladies!

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  • Stay Hydrated
    6 / 11 Stay Hydrated

    Keeping well hydrated with water, vegetables, and light juices can really make a difference when you’re feeling unsettled and slightly on edge. As simple as it may sound, drinking loads of water – 8 full cups or more per day – is key in cleansing vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. This ultimately allows our body to work at its most optimal state; regenerating sufficient hormones or chemicals that are used for the body to function well, and in turn, alleviating PMS symptoms. A healthy body makes a happy mind and a happy mind should kick the dreadful period blues to the curb – hopefully, for good!

    (Also Read: Follow This Water Drinking Schedule For Maximum Health Benefits)

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  • Bring Out Your Comfiest Gear
    7 / 11 Bring Out Your Comfiest Gear

    When even our own hormones turn against us, we’ve got no choice but to ensure that all other environmental factors remain in our favour. In order to frame an ideal tranquil setting or us to combat period blues effectively, we need the dress the part – in comfy sweaters or pants with elastic waistbands, that is.

    It’s nearly impossible to try and remain positive when our 6-inch heels are pinching relentlessly on our toes or when the pencil skirt is tightening in on our after-lunch guest star: the food baby. Cut yourself some slack, you’re going through enough as it is!

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  • Exercise Regularly
    8 / 11 Exercise Regularly

    When you’re approaching that time of the month, the last thing you would want to do is schelp to the gym. We know, a mid-noon nap in the comfort of your snug bed can basically seem like the be-all-end-all solution to escaping the impending doom that’s about to bestow upon you. But science says: Exercise Helps PMS. And so, to the gym it is.

    Exercising triggers a release of endorphins, which help in mood-related period issues. It also combats physical symptoms of PMS such as bloating and cramping. And besides, what better way to release all your pent-up anger, tension, depression and confusion than immersing in vigorous aerobic workouts? No? Just us? Well, you’ll still thank us later when your mood states improve after a bout of exercise. That, together with the other known benefits of exercising such as better stamina, a reduction in body weight, and lower blood pressure equals a stronger, healthier you! Psst, here are the best exercises to do when you have your period.

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  • Get Ample Rest
    9 / 11 Get Ample Rest

    Insomnia and sleep disturbances may sometimes come hand-in-hand with PMS due to the surge of estrogen levels in our bodies. And as we all know, lack of sleep directly translates the next day through our lack of energy, crankiness and fatigue. To combat this, try and make an effort to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday.

    Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room and avoid watching the TV or using the computer at least an hour before bedtime to gradually cut back on incessant brain activity before bedtime. Also, try and limit daytime naps (should you be fortunate enough to have them) to no more than 20 minutes.

    (Also Read: 8 Ways A Lack of Sleep Is Slowly Killing You)

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  • Treat Yourself!
    10 / 11 Treat Yourself!

    It’s completely okay to indulge in your cravings once in awhile – in moderation of course. We recommend turning to healthier, preservative free substitutes to feed your appetite. Say you’re craving chocolate. We recommend fixing up a cup of guilt-free hot chocolate with cocoa powder, brown sugar and warm low-fat milk. Or, head out to claim that $100 dress you’ve been eyeing for yourself. We mean, after all that you’ve gone through in dealing with the atrocity of PMS depression? All we can say is this: You deserve a medal, our fellow female comrade. Or rather, in this case, a new outfit to splurge on.

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  • Seek Medical Treatment
    11 / 11 Seek Medical Treatment

    If you have moderate to severe PMS symptoms that seem to be incurable through lifestyle changes, you might want to consider talking to your doctor for a medicinal solution. Taking prescription pain relievers and antidepressants in recommended dosages may better assist you in managing some of your symptoms.

    (Also Read: 10 Things to Know About Living With Endometriosis)

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