In your 20s, you’re determined to overcome aspects of your life that you wish didn’t exist. In your 40s, you learn to coexist with them.
But I don’t believe that I merely have to ‘exist together’ with the negative circumstances that surround me because ‘to coexist’ can also mean that I am living with someone or something in a peaceful and tolerant way. That’s what Im after…acceptance, tolerance and peace. Ahhh, sweet coexistence.
One of the ‘negative circumstances’ that comes to mind here is PMS. For years, I’ve tried to overcome it. To beat it. To a pulp. You can imagine how that turned out. Instead, I’ve realized that I’ve come to coexist with my PMS. I don’t love it but I’m at peace with it. Here’s how I do it:
I Track My Cycle
Tracking my cycle with a period-tracking app like Flo (yes, they exist) is a total game changer and helps me get a handle on when my PMS could be in full swing. Although I would never blame PMS for what I am feeling, I do use my tracking system to help me figure out whether or not the intensity of my feelings and emotions could be due to PMS.
If I am feeling overwhelmed, which is an intense sensation I get when I am in the throes of PMS, I look at my tracker and figure out if the weight of my overwhelmed-ness could be exacerbated by my PMS. This actually helps me feel less out-of-control. It also helps me recognize and categorize what I am experiencing. If I do think PMS is behind the rush, I don’t sweep my feelings under the rug but I don’t dwell on them either. I take a breath. I give myself a little bit of understanding. I ensure myself that it will pass and I move on with my day.
I (sort of) Limit My Caffeine Intake
When someone tells me to limit my caffeine intake I want to punch them in the face. That right there should be reason enough to cut back on the coffee, right?
I just love coffee and the truth is, the internet isn’t really sure if caffeine affects PMS or not. I do notice that when I reduce my caffeine intake two weeks before my period, it seems to take the edge off a bit. Here’s what I do…when my period arrives and the week following, I drink as much coffee as I feel necessary to help get through the day. When I get close to PMS time (here’s where that period-tracking app comes in again), I drink my morning cup and switch to green tea if I need a little boost. It’s not a perfect science but it is a way for me to enjoy my coffee without worrying about it for at least some of the month.
I Eat a Healthy Diet, 90% of the Time
Here’s what happens to me in a typical month. I feel great, I eat relatively balanced meals, I get some exercise in, I get decent rests and all is well.
This lasts for about 2 weeks and then it all goes down the drain. My sleeps get restless, I don’t feel like exercising and I get these sugar cravings that drive me up the wall. I start to feel guilty about giving in to my cravings which leads to more indulging (I’ve already ruined everything, right?) and the whole thing snowballs until I get my period and everything resets.
How do I coexist with this vicious cycle? I recognise it. I tell myself that it’s ok to eat a cookie if I am craving sugar. I actually enjoy it! The little voice in my head encourages the sugar to go to the part of my brain that it needs to go to in order to satisfy my craving. Yes, I know that sounds crazy but I also know that this is a monthly cycle and I am aware that these cravings will subside eventually. A little bit of knowledge and acceptance is sometimes all I need to have a reasonable amount of whatever it is that I’m craving and then walk away. I try to keep that 90% statistic in my head and I log my meals everyday. This keeps me accountable for the good and the bad and helps keep my nutritious to junk ratio in check.
I Take Vitamins That Work For Me
I found that taking Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B 12 on a regular basis have helped curb the intensity of my PMS. This simple act has taken years to perfect but that’s how I knew it was making a difference. At first, I would buy all of the vitamins, but I wouldn’t necessarily remember to take all of them. I noticed that during the months where I did remember to take them consistently, my PMS was less intense. Do your research here and definitely consult with your doctor before starting any vitamin regimen as my needs are sure to be different than your needs.
I’m Experimenting with CBD Oil
I started taking a daily dose of CBD oil (500 mg) 2 months ago to help with my irritability and mood swings. So far, I feel calmer and more relaxed (pretty sure it’s doing it’s job!). My last two periods actually came without me even feeling they were coming. No outburst at the kids or my (very understanding) husband for two whole cycles. I am going to continue to keep CBD oil in my PMS-coexistence arsenal.
Another great way to coexist with your PMS is to just know that they just don’t get it. It’s ok that your family and friends don’t understand your PMS. It took me almost 25 years to get this far with my own struggles with PMS, how can I expect them to understand? That’s why I never blame my PMS for any of it…the yelling, the mood swings, the fatigue. If I blame it then they will blame it and that doesn’t feel right to me. That’s why I’ve learned to coexist with it. I keep it right there next to me, peacefully, but I keep it in line and I don’t beat myself up about it anymore!
Until next time, friends, let’s coexist!
Leslie Lynn Nifoussi is a mom of two who thoroughly enjoys her assortment of jobs as a blogger, model, media host, commercial actor and beauty and fashion contributor for HSN. She’s a former small business owner and professional dancer and is eager to share her life’s experiences with you.