We all have our own relationships with our menstrual cycles. Oftentimes that relationship is less than favorable.
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, can come with a slew of symptoms from cramping, to irritability, to fatigue – and more. Many menstruating people tend to loathe PMS thanks to the discomfort it brings. While it can put a damper on our daily activities, PMS also comes with its benefits.
I know it sounds a little bonkers, but hear me out, there are reasons to love PMS. Read on to find out what they are!
It Gives You Insight into Your Health
The same is true for PMS, which is part of your menstrual cycle.
If you are someone who experiences intense PMS symptoms like cramping, breakouts, and mood fluctuations, it could be indicative of a hormonal imbalance.
PMS gives you a chance to tangibly track changes in your body from month to month. You may notice differences depending on your diet, the amount of exercise you’ve gotten, stress levels, and more.
Why is this important?
It gives you real-time information about your body, how certain lifestyle choices affect it, and the ability to relay this information to your healthcare provider.
If you notice changes in your PMS symptoms, be sure to keep track of them using a cycle journal, or period tracking app.
Time to Slow Down
Our society doesn’t always give much space for downtime. Sometimes we keep zooming in go mode until suddenly our bodies force us to stop.
For many menstruating people, PMS does just that.
We might feel the pressure to keep charging on, checking off tasks on our to-do list, while our bodies are begging for a break.
While you probably can’t put off all responsibilities, try to plan ahead and find little changes that give you a chance to slow down.
How can you support this need to slow down? Can you rearrange meetings, appointments, and social gatherings? Can you avoid having big projects due around this time? Can you sleep in for ten extra minutes?
There is time for you to slow down.
A Chance for Reflection
I may be preaching to the choir here, but it’s not uncommon for intense emotions to come up in the time before your period.
PMS can shine a blaring light on insecurities, worries, unresolved traumas, pestering anxieties, and more.
This can be daunting, and enough to make anyone want to check out. It’s totally OK and normal to do that, but these intense emotions can also be a chance to reflect and heal.
The saying “the only way out is through” rings true here. Although you might not feel these emotions as deeply the rest of the month, they are there, lingering beneath the surface.
PMS gives us a chance to truly sit with these feelings, and process them if we choose to do so.
This is a good time to schedule a therapy session if that’s something you have access to. If you don’t have a therapist, there are plenty of other tools you can use to reflect and tune in like journaling, guided meditations, or talking things through with a trusted loved one.
Know that it’s ok to check out. Sometimes the best medicine is reality T.V. and ice cream straight from the container.
If your mental health during PMS feels unmanageable, it could be an indication of a more serious issue called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD.
PMDD is sometimes caused by a brain chemical imbalance, much like depression and other mental health disorders. Symptoms of PMDD include depressed mood, anger and irritability, insomnia, feeling out of control, hopelessness, and more. If you think you may have PMDD, we suggest you seek professional support versus just sitting with your emotions.
An Invitation for Self Care
Your body is working hard while you PMS. This time of the month offers you an invitation for some serious self-care – not that you needed one.
As you slow down and reflect on emotions that are coming up, how will you support yourself through the process?
Self-care can look different for everyone, and what you need may change from cycle to cycle.
Here are some of our favorite PMS self-care tools:
- Take a bath. Light a candle, grab a luxurious bath balm, throw on a face mask, and sink in. Ahhh.
- Masturbate. Solo sex can help lift your mood and may even help with cramps.
- Eat your favorite foods. Food is healing, let yourself curl up with you an uplifting movie and chow down on your favorite snacks.
PMS can be intense and you should by no means suffer through it. While it may not be your favorite time of the month, hopefully, this gave you a few reasons to love it, or at least tolerate it.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.