Do you feel very elated and happy one minute? Sad, anxious and irritable in the another minute? You have bouts of feeling emotionally stable in between and all this happens in one single day!
You have cravings for sugar and carbs. Find it challenging to suppress your cravings or you give into that craving and feel guilty after.
Most of us agree that we go through so many changes mentally and emotionally in the days leading up to our periods and during our period days every month.
Wondering why this happens to you? Why do you ride this emotional roller coaster every few weeks?
2 hormones in your body called estrogen and progesterone put you on this emotional roller coaster every month. These hormones not only determine when you get your period, they also dictate your mood. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop slowly as you move towards the first day of your period. Drop in estrogen and progesterone reduces the amount of happy hormones called Serotonin in the body. This makes one feel anxious and weepy.
Less estrogen= Less Serotonin = Sad person
Less Progesterone=Less Serotonin = Sad person
Feel like you are a victim of this every month? How are you going to deal with this for the rest of your fertile years?!
Don’t worry! There are always ways to cope with these mood changes. Below are some dietary and lifestyle tips to cope with period mood swings. You can consciously apply these tips to help you sail through these days smoothly.
Make sure you get at least7 to 8 hours of sleep. Sleeping is essential to keep extreme hormone fluctuations in check/ balance hormones. Lack of sleep can add to your already existing irritation, anxiety and mood swings before and during periods.
How can you get enough sleep?
Practice sleep hygiene- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Plan your work day around your sleep hours.
Eat an early and light dinner/ make sure there is a minimum of 3 hours between dinner and sleep
Sleep in a cool dark room
Stay away from blue light of electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed.
Exercise does great things for the body and mind. Incorporate some form of movement in your everyday routine. This will help the brain make more happy hormone Serotonin which has a positive effect on mood.
Many people are under the misconception that exercise worsens period pain. But that’s not true! Exercising and movement will stretch your muscles and also improve blood flow to the pelvic area to reduce cramping and soothe the pain.
What kind of exercise?
At least 30 mins of walking, running or jogging can help the body make happy hormones.
Too tired / weak to do any intense activity?
If you can’t do any intense sports or running, consider less intense forms of exercise like simple stretching, yoga and walking. Walk or do a few stretches at home if you don’t feel like stepping out. Just make sure you don’t sit in one spot all day.
3)De-stress by meditating
It is one of the best ways to release pain. There are so many proven benefits about how it can refresh the mind, calm a person down, help deal with anxiety and depression.
You must be thinking. How can I calm down when the inside of my uterus is being teared down all day! How can I focus when pain is consuming me all day?You can begin with baby steps.
How can you meditate?
You can sit against a wall to support your back, sit on a chair or even lie down on a couch or bed. Pick a position you are comfortable in. Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply. Do this repeatedly. Meditation does not always have to be in silence. You can also light some incense, scented candles or play some calming music to help. You don’t have to spend an hour on it. Set aside 5 mins of your time, At least, once or twice a day for it.
One does not notice instant results. It can take a little practice and time. But it is definitely beneficial in the long run.
Last but not the least
4)CONSUME MOOD BOOSTING FOODS.
Did you know that your digestive system and brain are connected?
Yes. The kind of food one consumes impacts one’s mental health and mood.
Healthy wholesome food = More good bacteria in the digestive system (gut)= better mood. Bacteria can send messages to your brain. They tell the brain to make more happy or mood boosting hormones.
Too much of junk food = Bad bacteria= Bad mood
What foods to include?
Eat Vitamin D rich foods –Include foods like salmon, eggs, mushrooms and cheese. Expose your self to sunlight everyday.
Limit intake of alcohol and don’t consume it right before bed.Alcohol can disrupt sleep to add to your mood swings.
Include Magnesium rich foods-Leafy greens have a special components which balance hormones to keep mood swings in check.
Consume B Vitamin rich foods-Snack on nuts and sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds in the diet. Vitamin B6 helps the body make more Serotonin and Dopamine which are feel good hormones. Including these foods in your daily cereal, porridge, rotis or upma will help reduce mood swings. Pumpkin, flax and sunflower seeds help balance and optimize estrogen and progesterone hormones thus relieving symptoms due to hormonal imbalance.
5)How do you deal with sugar cravings?
The sugar rush from too much of chips, sugary chocolate and pizzas satisfy you temporarily. It causes a spike in energy followed by a crash. This can worsen your mood.
Dark chocolate contains higher % of cacao compared to sweeter chocolate which means it is more potent in dealing with mood swings. Dark chocolate contains cacao which helps increase serotonin levels to drive those period blues away. It can also satisfy sweet tooth cravings and hunger pangs.
Download a period tracking application to on your phone to help monitor your cycles and mood swings. This way you can prepare well in advance for your period days. You can also plan your work days and other activities to make your period days less stressful.
Phew!! Isn’t it an emotional and mental battle every month? By following some of the above tips consciously for few months you will notice your mood swings reduce and your hormones balance out in response to it.
You can check out&Me Period Chocolates. Each bite of &Me Period chocolate has Magnesium and dark cocoa (that balances serotonin dips), Ashwagandha (that brings calmness), Stevia (that satisfy sugar cravings without the sugar rush), and 12 micronutrients (that replenish energy loss).