We all have been going through phases of alternating un-lockdown and lockdown in with the CoVID pandemic spreading across the country. The uncertainty around the pandemic has been a source of stress to people.
Adapting to the new changes and restrictions has caused many women to feel overwhelmed. This has added to the mental and physical burden of working from home, managing children, chores, finances and getting used to the new normal way of living in this world.
The new normal has affected the mental and physical health of women negatively.
According to a mini poll conducted by &Me many women have expressed concerns about a change or irregularity or halt in their menstrual cycle.
How is the pandemic caused lockdown affecting women’s menstrual cycle?!
Hormones are messengers in our body that help different organs communicate with each other so that the body can function smoothly.
The hormones must be produced in the right quantities at the right time for the body to function efficiently and stay healthy.
These hormones regulate the timing and flow of your period cycle every month and working of your reproductive system.
Science has shown that there is a link between the mental health/ stress, hormones and the female reproductive system. Hormone levels in our body can go awry under constant stress, sadness, anger and depression.
Stress causes the body to produce a messenger called Cortisol or the stress hormone.
This hormone sends a message to the female reproductive system and tells it to produce less quantities of other hormones (estrogen and progesterone) required for your monthly period cycle.
This causes the female reproductive system to shut down or go awry causing women to have irregular, delayed or no period at all for the month.
People are being forced to stay at home in confined spaces and have less movement or little to no physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle, sitting in front of a laptop screen all day with work, stress eating unhealthy food can cause a hormonal imbalance which can in turn affect the female reproductive system.
Circadian rhythm/ sleep wake cycles – Body clock
One has less exposure to natural sunlight when staying locked in and confined at home. The body clock relies on exposure to natural sunlight. It helps regulate your sleep patterns.
In addition to stress, less exposure to natural sunlight is a factor that reduces sleep quality and duration. This can cause hormonal imbalance and reduce the ability of the reproductive system to function smoothly.
Can you understand the domino effect that stress and lifestyle habits during lockdown have on your hormones and period cycle?
We are just 5 months into the CoVID19 world. We are going to continue to face these stresses for a long time to come or till we adapt to this way of living in the world. How can we not let it affect hormones and menstrual health in the long run?
Find ways to destress
Exercise – It will help handle stress by releasing endorphins/ happy hormones and can also balance hormones.
Try to do yoga or workout at home.
If you don’t have the time for it, take micro breaks/ few minutes from work, pace in your room or balcony. This will get your blood circulation going and will oxygenate your brain to boost your mood.
Meditate - 5 to 10 mins of deep breathing will calm you down and uplift your mood.
Talk to a mental health professional/ a loved one to hear out your worries and help you destress.
Expose yourself to natural light every few hours throughout the day. Leave your windows and curtains open and let in natural light during the day. This can help set your body clock right.
Have a routine to sleep – Have a fixed time for sleep in addition to work and meals. Make you get a minimum of 7 hours of deep sleep in the night.
Share household chores – Don’t stretch yourself too thin to stress yourself out mentally and physically. Get family members involved to help you with household chores or work.
If you are living alone, don’t be too hard on yourself to keep things in order all the time. Cut yourself some slack.
Eat healthy food – Diet goes a long way in balancing hormones, boosting energy and mood. Stress might cause you to crave for unhealthy snacks or foods. They are unhealthy, increase calories, weight gain and offer less satiation. It is okay to indulge in it once in a while.
As far as possible try to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Sometimes it can be difficult to whip up a healthy meal when dealing with all the demands for work and at home. You can try &Me’s delicious Choco almond protein shake which is the perfect blend of Ayurvedic herbs and nutrients needed to meet the unique health needs of women.
These ingredients reduce stress, balance hormones, keep your energy level up, provide strength, relieve stress and also boost immunity. It contains pea protein which offers satiation making you feel less hungry between meals. All while meeting 30% of RDA nutrient requirements for women.