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To say I have a rough time before and during my period would be an understatement. I turn into a complete MONSTER- an alternate, in pain, evil, whiny version of myself that should probably hide in a closet until the whole thing is over. For everyone’s sake.
At least that’s what I should have done before I realized a little something. A few months ago I was going through another episode of horrible PMS symptoms and thought to myself, “This whole period business seems to be taking up A LOT of my life. I wonder how much time it’s taking up.” Since I don’t track my periods (oops), I did a quick Google search and realized that PMS symptoms do in fact take up A LOT of our lives, as women.
According to Healthline.com, PMS symptoms can start within 5-11 days before you start your period and can last a few days after it starts. So… basically, these annoying symptoms can affect 1/4- 1/3 of our ENTIRE MONTH, EACH MONTH. Ummmm… #ain’tnobodygottimeforthat!
As women, we’ve got to stop making our PMS symptoms excuses to have a crummy day and start taking matters into our own hands if we want to live happy lives. And that’s why I’m going to be sharing 11 of my tried-and-true methods for making your period suck less… so that your life, in general, can suck less!
11 Ways to Make Your Period Suck Less
1. Drink extra water.
Just like when you’re sick with the flu or a cold, your body needs some extra water when you’re PMSing. Your body is doing a lot of work when you’re on your period. So get your recommended daily dose of water + some extra. This will help your body work properly so that you suffer less. It’ll also reduce bloating and diarrhea, which are both common PMS symptoms that are caused by dehydration.
2. Do some light exercise daily.
I know, working out is the last thing you want to do when blood is literally flowing out of your body (or before/on your period, when you’re a moody wreck). But, some experts think doing some light workouts during your period can actually lighten your period. Even if that isn’t the case for you, working out will help you decrease moodiness and reduce the pain of cramps. A lot of things you feel even less inclined to do while you’re PMSing are beneficial for getting through it. Funny how life works, right!?
3. Take Epsom Salt baths.
The past few months, I’ve gotten into the regular habit of taking Epsom Salt baths. I can honestly say they’ve REALLY improved my quality of life! Epsom Salt baths ease stress and tension, relieve pain and muscle cramps, help muscles and nerves function properly, relieve constipation, eliminate toxins from the body, and reduce inflammation. If you ever get stressed, sick, or have any of those other symptoms, implementing Epsom Salt baths into your every day (or every other day) routine is crucial!
It’s especially beneficial when you’re PMSing and experiencing a lot of these symptoms on steroids. If you think baths are “gross,” take a 20-minute bath and then shower yourself off if you feel you need to do that in order to be clean. I promise your Epsom Salt bath will be worth it! My favorite Epsom Salts are these ones.
4. Reduce caffeine intake.
Fatigue is a common PMS symptom, so our natural instinct is to consume more caffeine during this time. But caffeine in excess can actually cause more bloating, digestive problems, mood swings, and pain. In small amounts, it can help with headaches and staying alert, but don’t go overboard or you’ll definitely be feeling even crummier.
5. Use a heating pad.
I actually didn’t start doing this until recently. But it’s been a total game changer for me! When I’m cramping, putting a heating pad on my belly REALLY helps decrease the pain and nausea. I get MAJORLY bad backaches on my period, as well, so my heating pad has also helped me endure through those. I don’t know what I would do without my heating pad now! I use this one!
6. Take Pamprin.
I’ve tried taking Ibuprofen or other non-period-specific pain meds on my period, but none of them have worked nearly as well as taking an actual PMS multi-symptom medication. Pamprin is by far my favorite PMS-specific medication because it actually works for treating my bloating, cramps, and irritability. Yes, you heard me right. My IRRITABILITY (which is very much in need of help during this time!) I also love that the pink bottle (shown below) has caffeine in it, so it doesn’t make me drowsy like a lot of other pain meds do. The last thing I need when I’m PMSing and trying to get work done is to feel crummy AND tired. No thanks!
7. Eat dark chocolate.
If you’re anything like me, it’s not unusual for you to down a complete gallon of chocolate ice-cream or an entire pan of brownies when you’re PMSing. I actually don’t crave sweets that much except for when I’m on my period. I tried to not give into the “myth” that women crave chocolate on their periods, but it turns out it’s not actually a myth and I couldn’t help myself from giving into the stereotype.
Because I know I crave chocolate when I’m PMSing, I’ve made an extra effort to have some dark chocolate stashed for that time. Dark chocolate will still satisfy your chocolate craving but it’s less fatty than “regular” chocolate. It’s also higher in serotonin (which regulates your mood) and magnesium (which fights cramps). Get chocolate that’s 60% cacao or higher to get that serotonin boost!
8. Pamper yourself.
Take time to pamper yourself. Your body is going through a lot and it needs pampering! I’ve decided to take this so seriously that I have a “mini spa night” almost every night when I’m PMSing. While I’m filling up the bathtub (with Epsom Salts, of course), I put on a face mask (and sometimes even a hair mask). Then I soak in the tub with a good book and let myself fully relax, without feeling guilty. Even if you can only do this for 20 minutes during “that time of the month,” your body and mind will thank you for those 20 minutes!
9. Drink lots of tea.
If your “go-to” liquid of choice is coffee or any other caffeinated beverage, substitute that with tea when you’re PMSing. I’m a huge fan of tea ALL the time. But I make sure to drink even more of it when I’m PMSing. Remember to keep in mind that caffeinated teas will likely make you feel worse. Stick to herbal teas, especially ginger, lemon, mint, turmeric ones, which are known to reduce feelings of nausea. Turmeric is also known to reduce feelings of depression, which is obviously extra helpful when you’re PMSing!
10. Get enough sleep.
Because your body is doing so much work when you’re PMSing, make sure you get a good 8 hours of sleep a night. You might be able to miss 8 hours of sleep on occasion when you’re not PMSing, but you’ll feel the effects more when your body is already working at full-steam all day. You might even want to go to bed an hour earlier than usual. You’ll wake up feeling less moody and more ready to take on the day!
11. Take helpful vitamins.
We all wish we were better at remembering to take our vitamins! Even if you’re like me and barely ever remember to take them, make an extra effort to when you’re PMSing. Taking Vitamins B6 and Magnesium can greatly reduce your mood swings, inflammation, and depression levels. I like to take Suzanne Somers Mood Renew natural vitamins when I’m feeling extra panicked. I also just ordered Natural Vitality Calm Supplement, which I’ve heard great things about. I haven’t tried it yet (so don’t quote me), but it’s supposed to greatly reduce anxiety levels and reduce inflammation. If you try it out, let me know how you like it!