Guest Blog by Sara Avant Stover
Pesticides in your food, working long hours, stifling your emotions, air pollution: what do all of these things have in common? They all contribute to you health (or, I should say, ill-health) as a woman.
Infertility rates, the early onset of menopause, irregular menstruation, and cancers of the breasts and reproductive system are consistently on the rise. Never before in history has the collective fate of women’s health been so precarious.
But there’s hope.
The answers dangle all around us. We just need to reach for them.
So, today, I’ll tackle one aspect of women’s health: Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, also known as PMS. The reason why I’m choosing to talk is that I feel that it is the first domino that goes down before the rest of them tumble. Another way that you can think of PMS is as a warning bell.
What I mean by that is if you experience PMS symptoms, that’s a clear message from your body that your hormones are out of balance. PMS is the first signal. And you better listen to it!
During an ideal month—when you’re exercising, resting, eating well, being creative, and expressing your emotions—you won’t have any PMS. That’s right: zero. Zilch.
Now, I don’t mean that your life needs to be perfect. Ups and downs are inevitable. But how you relate to the tragedies and the triumphs does matter.
When you DO have PMS (think cramps, bloating, migraines, lower back pain, food cravings, breast tenderness, irritability, and moodiness) your periods will be off –and, down the road, so will your whole hormonal system at large. One day this could exacerbate menopause or lead to more serious problems.
So what to do?
Well, I’m a big fan of simplicity. My own journey to healing (I’m only teaching this stuff from experience friends), I’ve found that LESS is MORE.
So, if you want to take your health into your own hands, here are 8 easy ways to get started right now:
1. Breathe Deeply. When you’re under stress or rushing around, most likely you’re also holding your breath. Get into the habit of pausing throughout the day to check in with your breath. Take deep, full breaths. Let your belly be soft and full.
2. Get Moving. How often do we hear that we need to exercise? It’s true! You have to get in motion, get circulation and energy flowing. Stagnant energy creates illness. If it’s hard for you to get motivated by yourself, get together with a friend, hire a trainer, take a class, get an exercise CD or video. But do it!
3. Step into the Light. Get outside into the sun—preferably during non-peak hours (before10am or after 2pm). It’s been proven that sunlight helps to harmonize your hormones and relieve PMS. Enjoy time in Nature. She has a lot to teach us about being simple.
4. Supplement. If your hormones need more support, take “Vitex” (also known as “Chaste Berry”) . It’s an herb to gently harmonize the female hormonal system. I take it and swear by it. Try ¼ tsp. of the liquid extract first thing in the morning for 1-3 months to get back on track.
5. Eat Clean & Green. You are what you eat, ladies! Load up your diet with dark, green leafy vegetables (I try to eat something green with EVERY meal), whole grains, fresh fruits, legumes, and healthy fats and oils. Cut out all the “white stuff”—white sugar, white flour, and, in my opinion, dairy (at least most of it). Not to mention lots and lots of water. Invest in yourself and buy organic. It costs more, but remember, food is your medicine. If you want your body to be healthy, you can’t be putting poisons (pesticides) in it 3X/day!
6. Remember Cycles. This is a big one—and an important part of what I teach. You have to let your body and moods move through their natural cycles. Rest at night and be active during the day. Rest during menstruation and be active at other times of the month. Being the energizer bunny is the direct route to burn out. Take time to notice the moon and look at the stars.
7. Express Yourself. Your reproductive organs, at whatever age you’re at, are your “Creative Organs.” Write in your journal. Let yourself create! Write, paint, dance, sing, collage, sew, speak your mind and your feelings. Remember what you loved to do as a child and do it! Keeping it inside only puts a lid on your femininity. It gets trapped and stifled—and then no wonder problems arise.
8. Turn Yourself Upside Down. Yoga does amazing things for your hormones—and your overall health—as a woman. I swear by it. Yoga poses remind your body how it was designed to move and flow—and getting upside down every now and again is one of the very best to regulate your hormone.
I hope these help!
And if you’d like more support, I offer a free Yoga for PMS practice CD. It’s a complete 60 minute audio yoga class where I guide you through the postures and breathing practices that will help you to eradicate your PMS—and future feminine woes– with yoga.
You can get your complimentary copy here.
Do you have any PMS tips or advice for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome? I welcome your thoughts and comments below!
Sara Avant Stover, Founder and Director of The Way of the Happy Woman™, helps modern women balance their femininity with their busy lives to connect with true and lasting personal happiness through yoga, meditation, and balanced living. She leads retreats, trainings, and workshops around the world that inspire women to live their truth and their passions with confidence and authenticity. For more free articles, videos, and resources for women, please visit her website