If you’re a woman in her childbearing years and you have your ovaries then you likely get what I call “the dip” once a month. This is the true pre-menstrual blues, and if you suffer from it I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce its impact.
What is The Dip?
The Dip occurs about 7 to 10 days before your period starts (or for me it’s 18 days into my cycle). It’s when your hormone levels change based on the fact that your body realizes you are not pregnant this month. One hormone increases while another dips and that is why I call it the Dip.
You feel tired, cranky, and hopeless. Day to day things feel overwhelming. You don’t have the energy to pick yourself up. You just want to crawl back into bed and cry over how difficult your life is (even if there are no real big problems.) It’s like you suddenly are seeing the world through darker glasses. It eventually passes but who wants to experience that on a monthly basis?
This Dip has bothered me quite a lot for the last 5 to 7 years. I think I’ve probably always had it but was so busy in my corporate job, so chronically overworked, and exhausted that the Dip was just another tired day. Plus I think the Dip get stronger around age 40. But over the last couple years I’ve not wanted to accept it. I wanted to find a fix, a remedy – something to keep me on a stable emotional level I would call normal.
Things You Can Try Too
I tried Sam – e. That seemed to work okay. It helped a little. It took the edge off. A year later my primary care physician recommended I try Prozac for one to two weeks out of each month of my cycle. This worked pretty well, except I would often miss the timing and therefore would still feel the Dip day. Seeing as the dip is mainly bad for just 1 to 2 days I wanted to find a better solution. I also wanted to find a natural solution.
Then I heard of by vitex (agnus castus) and turmeric. Vitex is an herb that has been used for 100’s of years by women. It regulates female hormones and keeps the Dip from being overly pronounced. It helps with mood, bloating, and regularity of your cycle. It can also help with fertility.
Turmeric is a spice that is a top five superfood that has recently been found in a study to be as effective as Prozac for treating depression. This is exciting because turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb that has many health benefits. And now they know it can also treat depression.
I’ve switched to this combination over the last four months of vitex and turmeric. It seems to be working. They still feel the Dip happen but it passes more quickly and it’s strength is muted. The Dip passes quickly usually just one day and I no longer experience the blues during that time. Also the days of my. Are less bothersome the symptoms are not completely alleviated but noticeably better, similar to the results of using Prozac.
Other Natural Treatments For PMS
1. Rest. (insert link here) Make sure you get enough rest in the form of sleep, nutritious food, and breaks during your workday.
2. Exercise. You may not feel like exercising during your. But it will increase your endorphins which will be a counterbalance to your blue feelings. Just get out there and do it and feel the joy of moving your body. You won’t regret.
3. Go Easy On Yourself. These are days to give yourself a break. What the house go. Let your ambition and drive take a break during this time. Take things as slow as you need to. Meditate. Take a long hot bath or shower. Preempt conflicts by kindly letting family know that you need a little space and kindness today.
4. Listen To Music To Change Your Mood And Increase Endorphins. Dance and sing a little. Ease into it if you don’t feel like it, but give it a shot. It will likely make you feel better to let some music wash over your soul.
5. Have Sex. With or without someone, this will increase your endorphins and make you feel good and release some tension you may have.
6. Release Your Story. Let go of the tale of woe coursing through your mind. You are under no obligation to hold onto it, to nurture it, and grow it. Instead release it a balloon into the sky. Let it float up and away until it disappears. In its absence build a kind of mantra of some sort:
I am okay.
Today I rest.
I’m making progress even when it’s hard to see.
All is okay.
The world will continue just fine while I take it slow today.
7. Caffeine. I don’t normally recommend caffeine but a small bit can give you just the own view need for stamina. Sip it over the course of the day and pace yourself. Stop drinking by around 2 PM so you can sleep well at night. (Or conversely you may also want to try taking a break from caffeine if it makes you edgy.)
Finding a way to ride the Dip instead of fighting it is a work in progress each month. I will continue to search for ways to minimize the difficulties of female hormone fluctuations and will share them with you here if and when I discover more solutions.
The Silver Lining of PMS
I need to remember to that there is value in our difficulties. When we are brought to our knees by physical, emotional, or other speed bumps, we grow our compassion capacity for others who are suffering. If we never suffered how could we find the humility to understand the suffering of others? And also, these emotional times that we women experience can be quite joyful as well – as it amplifies not only are difficult emotions but also our joyous ones. I must remember to embrace this as a gift during this time each month.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you handle the Dip in your life either in the comments below or on your favorite social network.
Wishing you balanced hormone levels and lots of happiness
Thanks for reading!photo credits: Left, Middle, Right