Some months, it feels like the only cure to controlling PMS is to park yourself in the center of your bed, strap on a heating pad, and avoid contact with anyone and everything. But since that’s hardly realistic and that time of the month strikes more often than you’d like, finding ways to battle your PMS symptoms so that they don’t ruin your relationships, your energy levels, or just simply your moods, can be tough.
The first thing to recognize is that despite what anyone else tells you, like a man who has never dealt with getting his period before, PMS is a real thing.
Bianca L. Rodriguez, LMFT, is a therapist who not only confirms that PMS is the real deal, she also explains that many women suffer from a severe form of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which is considered a psychological illness just like depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
Rodriguez wants women to know that PMS and PMDD can have major emotional and physical symptoms which impact work, relationships, energy levels and feelings about the self.
So how do we take control over our emotions and our bodies during that time of the month?
Track Your Periods
First, Rodriguez suggests taking a step back and getting to know your body.
“I recommend that women begin to track their periods, moods and physical symptoms in order to gain clarity on how their menstrual cycle is effecting them,” Rodriguez says. “You can do this in an app or by logging it in your planner or journal. Many of my clients have found it to be extremely helpful when they recognize the patterns of their cycle and have explanations about why they are feeling certain ways each month. It can help a woman anticipate changes in mood, plan accordingly and ultimately use various times in her cycle to her benefit.”
Plan Out Your Month Accordingly
Once you start to get to know your body and when the worst time of the month usually strikes for you, Rodriguez says it’s important to get smart about how you plan out your month so you have the right energy and mood for all of the things you’re hoping to accomplish, from nurturing relationships or scheduling in alone time.
“The week before and during menstruation, most women report a decrease in energy levels, increased irritability and/or depression,” Rodriguez says. “I recommend clients head this call by scheduling more down time to rest and restore.”
Look at Your Diet
Another thing to look at to help you conquer PMS are your eating habits. Sharla Mandere, a Certified Life Coach, says it’s extra important to keep a close eye on your diet.
“What we eat affects how we feel, which affects our emotions,” says Mandere. “Eat as clean as possible, avoid hard alcohol, drink at least 64 oz of water a day (more is even better) and eat lots of leafy green veggies. This will help balance your blood sugar, give you more energy, and avoid bloating.”
Don't Be Afraid to Talk About It
So how can doing all of this help you save your relationships? Rodriguez says be honest and open about what’s going on and how you feel with the ones you love.
“It is very beneficial for your partner to know what you experience during your cycle as this can minimize misunderstandings,” says Rodriguez. “My husband knows that I need more alone time for two weeks out of each month and if I don't get it I am more irritable and less pleasant to be around. He doesn't take it personally.”
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