Stomach cramps, sore breasts, mood swings, headaches, difficulty sleeping... PMS has many painful and annoying symptoms. So, what can you do to help you get through it?
When you’re pre-menstrual and feeling rubbish, your exercise routine might not be a priority. But it can actually make a big difference.
Running, cycling or training at the KBPT studio stimulates your circulation, which could help to reduce water retention and stomach cramps. Equally importantly, aerobic exercise boosts those all-important endorphins – they don’t just help to make you feel happier, they’re natural painkillers too!
Shorter bursts of exercise – around 30 minutes – are recommended in the days leading up to your period. And, if you’re feeling particularly tired, a low intensity workout like a yoga session or a simple walk might be the best option.
Beat the cravings
Desperate for chocolate, crisps or ice cream? Food cravings are a common symptom of PMS because of all the hormonal changes that are going on – in fact, one study found that 97% of women experience them.
Eating carbohydrates raises our serotonin levels, which can make us feel better, but try to go for complex carbs and starchy vegetables, like brown rice and sweet potatoes rather than white bread and pasta. It’s also helpful to reduce your fat, salt and sugar intake and cut back on coffee and alcohol.
Other food tips? Bananas, salmon, chicken, almonds – they’re all good choices at this time of the month. Lots of us at KBPT love a protein smoothie and they’re a great way to start the day when you have PMS because they help to stabilise your blood sugars.
Be kind to yourself
If you experience PMS, make sure you take a moment to look after you! Step back from your busy day-to-day life and try to do one or all of the following:
Take a warm bath or snuggle up with a hot water bottle to relieve stomach cramps
Stay hydrated – warm water or a herbal tea might help to relax your stomach muscles
Slow down and breathe... there are lots of meditation and mindfulness apps to help you
Go for a massage to help reduce bloating, irritability and cramps
Get lots of sleep – you probably feel exhausted so go to bed early if you can...