How To have HAPPY periods during lockdown

We’re in lockdown. We can’t see our loved ones. All our plans have been cancelled. Things are not so easily available, we are still trying to have a home routine and be healthy. Things are unpredictable right now, but one thing most women can rely on is they will get their damn period.

Nope, no break from our monthly cycle even during this worldwide crisis. Let’s see how you can sail through this in spite of other factors we are trying to deal with. If you plan carefully, this will be one worry less.  Self-care at this time is even more important.

We need to make sure we have the happiest period possible. So not only is the availability of menstrual products an issue particularly as many people have stockpiled with not much left on the shelves, you may not get your favourite brand that easily, but also how can you deal with PMS during this time?

Many women suffer from menstrual issues (including but not limited to PMS/PMT, dysmenorrhoea and irregular periods) and struggle to determine a cause or reason for what they are experiencing.

Whether it’s pain, irregularity, mood instability or other physical/mental symptoms, menstrual issues can be an indication of a number of imbalances within the body.

Ayurvedic tradition believes that the accumulation of toxins and subsequent blockage of circulation plays a major role in menstruation issues.

In Ayurveda, the type of symptoms a woman experiences before/during or after menstruation depends on the type of dosha imbalance present.

  • Vata imbalance may cause anxiety, insomnia, headaches, painful periods or a scanty menstrual flow
  • Pitta imbalance may cause acne/skin irritation, excessive bleeding and irritability
  • Kapha imbalance may cause feelings of depression, heaviness in the body, lethargy or skipped periods

Symptoms for PMS can vary, from being pretty non-existent to being so debilitating that one can hardly get up. There may be variations in your usual symptom as an upheaval, change in routine, stress can have a significant effect on your periods. Your body may well behave differently during the lockdown as nothing, unfortunately, feels normal at the moment. Your symptoms may be worse or less,, your flow may be heavier or lighter, period pain may be greater.

What can you practically do to cope with your periods during the lockdown

  1. Pain relief may not be readily available if you run out of your usual supplies, you can’t just run around looking for your favourite pain relief medication. So you may find useful to get back to basics and use what you have at home. Applying heat to the tummy area can help relax the muscles and ease your symptoms. Use a hot water bottle or a hot towel. A warm bath can be particularly helpful.

Use the power of massage to gently ease away the pain. In Ayurveda, coconut oil considered a cooling oil can help ease your symptoms. Even massaging this into your scalp can help with PMS headaches as some women experience headaches as part of their PMS symptoms.

2. Meditation – can help you to focus away from your pain. Not only that, but most of us also associate PMS with mood swings, anxiety, depression irritability. In fact, a whole range of mental symptoms, meditation can help you through these symptoms. During this unprecedented time, our mental symptoms can be exacerbated, because of lockdown, social distancing, you may be in self-isolation, so our usual support systems are not in place.  This can help us to manage the stress. Set aside minutes every day to focus on your mental wellbeing. Just being aware and feeling empowered to manage your symptoms can be a step in the right direction.

3. Breathing – the simple power of breathing can ease pain, irritability, grumpiness mood swings -all characteristic of PMS. Taking slow deep breaths and focusing on your breathing can be useful to manage all the symptoms of PMS. DM me for an information sheet on breathing techniques for well being.

4. Going out for one form of exercise is acceptable at the moment during this lockdown, following social distancing guidelines. With gyms closed, it is even more important to use this to do your favourite exercise which will release endorphins which will not only help with the mental symptoms of PMS but also help with easing the pain. Gentle exercise is the key here. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends exercise for treating PMS, before resorting to painkillers. Walking and just observing nature can help you to switch away from your periods. Why not try an online yoga class. Yoga has been found to help many of the symptoms of PMS.

5. Make sure you have enough sleep during your periods. Have a regular sleep routine which in turn will help to reduce the severity of your symptoms. Things always seem worse when we haven’t slept well. Don’t use the lockdown period to sleep too late or sleep in too late in the mornings which can make you feel sluggish and lethargic and not help your symptoms.

6. Eat well, by that I mean healthily during your period and in fact, during the lockdown period .it is very easy to snack and lose track of quantities. Salty foods can increase bloatedness during your period. Too much caffeine can make you even more irritable and affect your mood swings.

During your period, it’s normal to crave weird things. Maybe you need chocolate, or chips, or huge amounts of bread. Normally, this is totally fine, but if your diet is already up in the air because of lockdown, your PMS cravings on top might make you feel bloated, nauseous and generally a bit rough. The odd caving here and there is fine .

A good diet can help with your symptoms and give you more energy to help see you through this time

  • Make sure to include anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) in your diet by eating more wild fish like sardines, herring, and wild salmon. Krill is also another excellent source. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats including flax, hemp, pumpkin and chia seeds and walnuts.
  • Consume beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, which provide lignans, phytoestrogens, and fibre to help with estrogen balance.
  • Include cruciferous vegetables in your meals such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which can help with liver detoxification and estrogen metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6 has been found to be beneficial in PMS . Dietary sources of B6 include: meat, poultry, leafy greens, cauliflower, sweet potato, potato, sunflower seeds, bananas, pineapples, avocados

7. Be positive. Think about how you are in a good place and have the ability to not only get through this worrying time, but also come out better and stronger.

Sushma Bhanot

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