If you’re like any woman ever, you’ve had your share of period troubles. PMS, cramps, unpredictable bowel movements, titties that just wouldn’t calm their titties, fatigue… I could write this entire post about the struggles of having Aunt Flo come to town. Here are some real things you can do, today, to help you survive shark week.
PMS, cramps, headaches and breast tenderness are for real. They can be caused by extreme stress & repressed emotion. For real. These symptoms show up when Qi stagnates in the body and becomes, well, a bundle of frustration. Top ways to treat yo self if this is your period nightmare:
- Physical Activity.💃 Moving our body is so important for moving our Qi. My favorite ways to do this are by walking (outside, in the sun), mindful stretching (yoga & dance), and short bursts of cardio (think 15 minutes or less).
- Meditation. 🧘♂️It is truly easier than you think. Taking 5 minutes every night before you go to bed is SO doable. You can download free apps all over the place. Oak is my favorite. Most fitness trackers will also include their own versions of guided meditation. Why be still with our thoughts and present with our breath? Meditation lowers anxiety, cycles of overthinking and raises our baseline sense of well – being. * Side note * A little-known fact about Acupuncture is that it doesn’t actually add very much Qi. It re-arranges the Qi you already have. One of the best ways to increase your Qi is by maintaining a mindfulness practice! Pretty, cool, huh?
- Food.🌮🍟🍔🍕 You knew I was coming to this, right? Fatty (the bad fat), greasy, fried foods are gonna stop your Qi in its tracks. Drinking or eating late at night or right before you sleep is also a pretty huge Qi stagnator. Slowing down on these habits, especially in the luteal phase of your cycle (around day 16 until your period starts) will have amazing effects on your period.
The foods you want to add to your diet to keep your Qi grooving have a pungent taste. We’re talking spices like cardamom, cumin, fennel, ginger & black pepper. Raw foods like sprouted grains, beans & seeds and of course vegetables and fruits are so crucial. Add some lemon or orange peel to your water or tea. If you want to get the big guns out, I like high quality supplements of spirulina or chlorophyll.
- Regular acts of the sexual nature.💖🖤💖 I absolutely love this tip because it doesn’t sound like something you’d read in Self Magazine. Getting physical, down & dirty, birds & bees type stuff also moves the heck out of your Qi. Sex releases stagnation and improves mood and feelings of contentment. Everything in moderation, though. Excessive sexual activity can also deplete your Qi.
If your troubles are more on the acne, fatigue, bloating or digestive end of the spectrum, let’s talk about ways to combat having to wear sweatpants for 5 days out of the month.
- I’m gonna start with food, cuz this is most likely your issue. 2 words here. Processed food. Sorry, but those doritos are doing more than leaving a film on your fingers.😭 They are also leaving a film on your insides. (woah, I got preachy there – sorry). Foods high in sugar or dairy are also going to be your enemies. These foods cause what we call damp in your body. That is exactly what it sounds like … sluggish, heavy, thick, foggy… and this causes those digestive symptoms you experience.
*Disclaimer* You may be thinking, I have damp symptoms, but I have a pretty clean diet!! That is totally a thing. Some people unfortunately are more prone to carrying damp around with them, and that’s when herbs & acupuncture are essential. I also want to throw out the possibility of food intolerance, but that’s a post for another day.
I want you to know there’s a ton of hope. By eating high quality whole foods that are warming in nature, you can fight this battle – and win. Try some pumpkin seeds or celery as a snack. Chamomile tea does wonders for the soul and for drying damp. Warming foods like ginger, black pepper, or lamb are also really nice to support your digestive system. Vegan cheese is really not that bad. Maybe substitute it for a day or two and see what you think!
- Avoiding being cold. ❄☃This one is really really big. Here’s why. Cold constricts, cold slows, and cold congeals, it’s so hard on your body! Actively bundling up in the winter (scarf, hat, gloves), keeping socks on, drinking tea, having that heating pad by your bedside… are all such important ways to combat the chill.
I want to tell you that painful periods are not something you need to suffer through. You should not have to miss work, cancel plans, or have to stay in bed when your period comes. I keep hearing my patients tell me that they’ve been told it’s normal to have period cramps, PMS, or that birth control is the only way to manage symptoms. There are other options. If you’re feeling ready to explore those other options or if you have questions, please feel free to email me!
Holistic Health. Whole You.