I’ve had several friends and clients this week talk about PMS and realized I wanted to update you with my thoughts on PMS. I first wrote this post in 2015 and have since wanted to come back and update it. Bring it to the front of the blog again.
PMS often feels like a rollercoaster, doesn’t it?
I’m fine. I’m doomed. I’m fine. I’m doomed. I’m fine. I’m doomed.
If you don’t have PMS. God bless you. That’s incredible. This post probably won’t be helpful for you.
If you do, get ready to feel HEARD. UNDERSTOOD. Save this post to come back to!
Getting to Know YOUR PMS
I’ve been tracking my period for about 4 years now and have noted many signs and symptoms that occur throughout the month. Many of my clients have also noticed these same patterns.
We’re going to chat through PMS based on a 28-34 day cycle (which is considered normal by most physicians). My cycle tends to be about 32 days on the dot.
Why is it good to know your symptoms?
So you don’t have to go through a monthly wave of “Oh my gosh… my life is no good. I am no good. Everything is wrong. Everything I do is wrong. I must change everything!”
And instead, you can embrace and love on yourself: “This week tends to be pretty hard for me. I tend to think I need to change everything in my life, but this will pass. I am probably OK.”
A naturopath once told me: “When you have PMS, everything in your life can look EXACTLY the same, you just have less tolerance for everything.”
This so resonated with me. So, it’s not that everything needs to change, it’s just that I/you have a little less patience for everything.
The day before I start my period, I notice that I feel extra moody, emotional and sensitive to everything. The, I could cry at the drop of a hat feeling. I tend to feel like everything in life is kind of “bleh.”
Things don’t feel GREAT. I feel more “lack” in my life. I feel more frustration. I feel more need to control and “do better.”
Thankfully, I’ve recognized that this is PMS visiting, so I no longer believe these stories or thoughts. Rather, I stay the course. I trust that I’m probably okay, doing my best, and I have loads and loads and loads of grace for myself.
I give myself permission to not make any huge life altering decisions this week.
Now, let’s look at each week.
Week 1 (Day 1-7)
Day 1 is the day you start your period. On this day I tend to experience feeling tired, crampy, and irritability. However, I also tend to feel a sense of relief because I know that my PMS symptoms will be over shortly.
Day 2 is the hardest day for me physically. This is the day that I just want to check out and lay in bed. I experience cramps (I kindly refer to these cramps as sinus headaches in my female parts – anyone agree that this is what it feels like?).
Days 3-7 are when my PMS symptoms begin to dissipate day by day. As a reminder, this is 3-7 days after I’ve started my period. With each day that passes, I begin to feel better.
Week 2 (Day 8-14)
This week is when I tend to feel my very best. My mood is elevated, my body image is naturally more positive, and I am more content in relationships, my job, and life. Things are going well! I’m basically on cloud 9. Life is great.
Week 3 (Day 15-21)
The beginning of week 3 is still pretty good. Life is well.
Around days 20-21, I experience a dip in my mood for a couple of days. This doesn’t last long… Let’s call this the “little dipper” just for fun.
Week 4 (Day 22-28)
THIS week is probably the most important week for us girls to notice how we feel and practice a lot of self care and positive talk.
Week 4 is when we tend to have lower self-esteem and body-talk issues. You may feel like you are not doing a good job with whatever you’re working on, you may have feelings of doubt, and overall feelings of dissatisfaction.
I notice that during this time I tend to feel like something in my life needs to change.
We tend to think things like “I REALLY am gaining weight this time. This is it, here I go, I’ll be heavier from here on out. This is real. It’s not PMS this time. Oh no!”
Here’s what I’ve learned about this week.
Because these thoughts are coming from a time where we have verrrrrrry looooow happy hormones (aka, we feel very dissatisfied even if our lives are exactly the same as they normally are), this is not the time to make a big change (especially not a diet).
This will pass and you will be so happy that you didn’t spend the time and energy to make a HUGE change that in the end will not bring you satisfaction.
What to Do
Here’s my advice for week 4, The PMS WEEK.
Have a notecard, journal or a section in your notes app on your iPhone starting at the end of week 3 and continuing through week 4.
Write down any negative thoughts that you have during this time. Write down the thought word for word. Are you feeling unsatisfied with your job, or a relationship? Do you think you are gaining weight or look horrible in an outfit you normally like? Write it down!
During the next month, see if you experience these same thoughts again. If so, you know that these are PMS symptoms “talking” and not your actual permanent situation.
Writing these thoughts down will allow you to read on paper each month exactly what you experience when you have PMS. You’ll begin to see a pattern and be able to DETACH from seeing your feelings as total and complete truths.
When you KNOW you’re PMSing (somehow we never fully believe that we are) you can find more effective ways to deal during this time. You can remember not to make any big changes during week 4 if this resonates with you like it does for me.
I hope this breakdown is helpful for you! PMS has a nasty way of making us feel less than great. Remember, these feelings are temporary, and they will go away.
If you have any questions or want to discuss this further, free to leave a comment below or email me. Also, I know some of you have a wealth of knowledge on how to deal with PMS, so feel free to share your tips & tricks in the comment section as well.