P.M.S. is a horrible affliction which can turn you into an evil monster for a brief period of the month. I have suffered off and on over the years and I have taken note of what I do the months that it doesn’t affect me so badly. Based on this, here are my words of advice:
Manage Your Sugar Cravings
Sugar makes it worse, believe me. Don’t completely give into the cravings but don’t deny yourself either as that can make you feel irritable too. My advice is that you avoid eating much sugar in the lead up to your period, prior to the onset of PMS. In my experience, sugar and alcohol in the lead up to your period increases your chances of having a particularly irritable time.
You need to be kind to yourself and not totally deny yourself what you want so I suggest you eat very dark chocolate, drink coffee and eat fruit instead of eating very sugary foods such as milk chocolate. It will satisfy your need for some caffeine and sugar without causing such big crashes.
A chromium supplement can help with sugar cravings so start taking this a week before you think you might get PMS. Also, include plenty of cinnamon in your food as this can help with blood sugar regulation. You can sprinkle it on your breakfast, in your coffee and try drink cinnamon tea.
It has often been suggested that women crave chocolate prior to their period because chocolate contains magnesium and many people suffer a magnesium deficiency. Many people believe it’s wise to take magnesium regardless due to it being such a common deficiency, but it’s certainly a good idea to take a good quality magnesium supplement in the build up to and during your period. I recommend Together vitamins and minerals: http://www.togetherhealth.co.uk/collections/ranges/products/magnesium
People often say that cravings are telling you what your body needs so you should just eat what it wants. This may be true but it is wise to ask yourself ‘is it likely that my highly evolved human body is really telling me that I need an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s?’. If you are craving something, it is a good idea to think about what it is you REALLY need. Your body is asking for vitamins and minerals. There is little of nutritional value in many junk foods so best to choose healthy, clean, whole foods and supplements over junk.
Be Kind to Yourself
You are hormonal. Your hormones are the reason you feel the way you do, it’s not your fault. If you’re ratty and getting annoyed or feeling tearful, then get out of your own way. It’s okay to feel like this and you don’t need to make it worse by feeling guilty or trying to do as much as you normally do. Clear your diary of unnecessary things. Ask people for some space and listen to what your body wants. You may need to up your iron intake, you may need to get some more sleep. Listen and respond with kindness and forgiveness.
Be Honest with People Around You
In Britain, it is not socially acceptable to be open with your feelings. It’s particularly not okay, in Western society, to talk about periods. Yet half of the population experience them once a month every month for a huge proportion of their lives. Why should we pretend it’s not happening? I have decided that I don’t want to put up with this anymore. If I feel terrible because of PMS, I am not the same me. I am easily annoyed by people joking especially if I’m the subject. I don’t want to banter and I probably don’t particularly want company. I often want to be alone or conversely, I want a hug, I JUST WANT A HUG!
So, I’m honest with people. Not everyone but the ones who I’m around a lot. I tell them I have PMS and I am not feeling the way I normally do. I ask them to give me some space, not to take the piss out of me today and to not feel bad if I am a little off with them. I’ll be back to normal in a day or two.
It’s a little radical in British society and many other cultures too, but try it! See what happens. When you just say what you need, you might be suprised that you actually get what you need. Okay, so some people (men) say ‘urgh! I don’t want to know THAT!’, but why should you have to hide what is a normal monthly occurrence for a woman? When you admit to yourself that you’re feeling hormonal and that you can’t do what you normally expect of yourself, then you start the process of being more forgiving of yourself…making all that hormonal emotion a lot easier to manage.