Dealing with Pre Menstrual Syndrome the Right Way.
Gone are the days when females play the single role of mother. Today we are very often pressured into numerous roles that can take their tole on the body, effecting our health and ultimately our natural cycles.
I used to suffer from the occasional week or two of PMS, some months being worse than others. However as I have taken on the challenge of super mum, householder and breadwinner this lift time I have found that it sometimes isn’t easy achieving daily goals. So my idea behind writing this article is to help PMS suffer’s find a way of coping, Oh! and please let’s not forget the men on the other side of all this. I hope it aids in helping you all understand your magnificent Moon Goddess ( slightly better ) as she moves through her cycle and maybe even taking time to share the following practices with her too, well it’s worth a try don’t you think?.
I feel enormous empathy for any woman who suffers from this monthly dis-ease and I’m sure you would agree, it is dis-ease right? So I would like to share the routes I have taken to gain a better understanding and awareness of the syndrome itself. It is important to know how to care for your body, mentally and physically by nurturing yourself with good foods, exercise and a daily amount of relaxation. There are certain foods that can help and there are certain foods that can hinder recovery from PMS. I truly believe that finding a balance is the key to help you live a healthy happy and productive life which benefits you and the whole family.
Post Menstrual Syndrome is a common complaint amongst a large percentage of woman. It’s serverity varies from person to person and from month to month. It ‘s not only caused by an imbalance in hormones but can also be due to stress, poor diet and a busy lifestyle.
Emotionally and Physically
- Mood Swings
- Poor concentration
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Back pain
During the monthly cycle a woman’s mood changes approximately every 2 -3 days. One day she may find that she feels full of enthusiasm and is keen to communicate and socialise. Another day she may feel compassionate and giving. At other times she may experience feelings of insecurity and negativity. A positive way to recognise these inner cycles is to keep a daily journal and allow yourself to express your deepest thoughts and feelings while you write. As the months pass a pattern will being to form and an awareness of the body’s inner rhythms will reveal itself. This is a good way to help explain why certain feelings are predominant at a certain time in the menstrual cycle.
In todays society woman often find that they have little time for themselves. They are often expected to play many different roles each day such as mother, housekeeper and full time worker to name just a few. It is so important to take a little time each day to nourish individual needs, feeding the soul with nurturing activities such as massage, a walk in the park or a weekly Yoga class. These kind of activities are positive for the whole being and will help to relax the body on a mental and physical level while naturally heightening the spirits.
Foods to Avoid.
Specific symptoms that can occur through a female’s monthly cycle can be magnified by certain foods. To keep the hormones balanced and mood steady the following foods should be omitted or considerably reduced ( sorry girls!! ) To see satisfactory results reducing these foods should become a permanent part of the PMS sufferer’s lifestyle.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars. These raise the blood sugar level causing it to peak and then drop. They also agitate the functions of the body and are a strong factor for the majority of the physical and emotional symptoms mentioned.
So What’s Good to Eat?
It is important to eat fresh natural whole foods which contain plenty of Prana or life force. By this i mean foods that taste good when eaten and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. These include fruits, vegetables and whole wheat products with no refined additives. It is also important to drink plenty of water and herbal teas to keep the internal system cleansed and hydrated.
Potent Foods for the Ladies.
- Tumeric – wonderful for healing and to help mobilise those joints and muscles.
- Yogurt – assists digestion and can also be used as a douche.
- Ginger – reduces menstrual cramps.
- Sesame oil – aids menstruation.
- Mangoes – help to correct cycle irregularities.
- Eggplant – energises the entire system and regulates menstrual flow.
- Rice bran syrup – rich in all ‘ B ‘ vitamins which are a great for helping to regulate mood. ( This has got to be a winner. )
- Raw almond oil – keeps cholestrol levels low, reduces body fat, cleanses toxins, makes skin healthy and is a rich source of protein.
- Almonds ( peeled ) – five almonds a day are high in protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin ‘ E ‘, zinc and selenium.
- Green chillies – counter constipation and are high in vitamin ‘ C ‘.
- Wheat berries – cleanse the intestinal tract and are nourishing.
To reduce PMS discomfort it’s worth while including foods high in vitamin ‘ B ‘ especially B6, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids which can also be taken as supplements.
Yoga Posture and Meditation to Improve PMS.
Yoga is a wonderful way to bring clarity and focus to the mind and the body. By spending as little 30 minutes a day balancing the body and mind this can help to improve the lifestyle of anyone suffering from chronic accute symptoms of PMS.
I have included a simple meditation to help bring serenity to a negative state of mind that can often occur during the female monthly cycle. This meditation will help to deal with emotions such as anger, anxiety and agitation so don’t just save it for the PMS, practice it throughout the month. During this meditation the breath shouldn’t be held if suffering from any heart condition, abnormal breathing difficulties or during pregnancy. If concerned then please consult a doctor before beginning the practice.
How to Begin.
To start the meditation practice sit cross legged or kneeling on a cushion or a mat, if this isn’t comfortable then sitting on a chair is a great alternative. Rest the backs of the hands on the knees with the palms facing upwards. Begin to lengthen the spine, visualising space developing between each vertebrae on the inhalation and relaxing the breath on the exhalation.
- Inhale for five seconds
- Hold for five seconds
- Exhale for five seconds
Breathe through the nose, remembering that when this meditation is practiced it is important not to force the breath. Start with 3 minutes a day and work up to 31 at a slow steady pace adding one minute a day. When the practice is complete relax in shavasana with the eyes closed.
There are a number of poses in Yoga that can help balance the female menstrual cycle, however some of them aren’t suitable for the week during menstruation, Plough pose ( Halasana ) is one of those. The Plough helps to balance the body and assist the flow of energy especially in the spinal column. Plough can help to reduce tension in the back and the reproductive organs, while at the same time stimulating digestion and elimination.
Find a comfortable place to lie down that’s not too hard on the back. Either on a Yoga mat or a soft floor to help cushion the spine. Resting the arms by the sides of the body with the palms facing down, push on the palms and raise the legs over the head in an inverted position aiming to touch the toes on the floor behind the head. Try not to worry if this doesn’t happen straight away, it takes time for the body to get used to this kind of stretch, with regular practice the spine will lengthen and the toes will eventually touch the floor. Assisting the stretch by placing the hands on the back may also help too. If the toes do touch the floor behind the head, walk the feet gently backwards until the shoulders take the majority of the body weight and the chin is tucked in tight towards the chest. In the Plough pose the breath will naturally become shallow. Breath deeply and focus on a long slow breath which is a fantastic way to help strengthen the lungs.
To release Plough place the hands back on the floor, palms on the ground and begin to slowly uncurl the back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time, allowing the legs to follow. To relax the spine tuck the knees into the chest creating a small ball with the body. Rocking from side to side will give the back a gentle massage.
Forward Bend with Leg Extension.
Sitting on the heels extend the left leg straight along the ground. Bending forward place the forehead on the floor with both arms along the sides of the body, palms facing upwards. Relax the muscles and relax the breath. This position can be held up to 3 minutes on each side. Rising up on an inhale, bring both legs back to the starting position then sitting on the heels take a few breaths and repeat on the other side. This pose is a meditation in itself so relax and enjoy.
Back Platform Pose.
Sit straight with the legs stretched out in front and place the hands on the ground either side of the body. Push on the palms and lift the hips off the floor until a platform shape is formed, keep the abdomen flat. Raise the head looking forward while keeping the legs straight, hold for 3 minutes. This pose helps to to release anxiety and tension while strengthening the lower back and hips, a fantastic all rounder.
Throughout the physical and mental changes that occur when suffering from PMS, take time to commit to a healthier lifestyle and one of the main aspects to consider is Balance.
Give Yourself the Love You Deserve.
- Be patient with yourself.
- Allow yourself time out to be who you are.
- Listen to the body from the inside out.
- Accept yourself.
- Nurture the body’s needs physically, emotionally and spiritually through good nutrition and diet.
- Create and use a variety of media such as painting, writing or sewing to enhance self expression.
- Embrace love and support from others.
- Keep smiling.