4 super-easy ways to have a happier period week

My Hormonology

4 super-easy ways to have a happier period week

redumbrella1I love love love my period week–my Week 1.

That’s because very shortly after I get my period, I feel a rising estrogen whoosh of energy. The grey cloud from my premenstrual week lifts, ushering in sunshine and rainbows. And I immediately remember where I left my keys that I totally misplaced when estrogen was dropping like a rock–and taking my memory with it–just days before.

But, not everyone is as lucky as I am to be this incredibly sensitive to a slight rise in estrogen.

Take Monica, a Hormonology newsletter subscriber. Yesterday, she wrote to me telling me her Week 1 wasn’t so awesome. “In my experience, the first week of my cycle is just a little better than the 4th week.”

That’s a bummer. Because she’s completely missing out on a whole week of rising estrogen greatness.

But, Monica isn’t alone. I’ve heard from a bunch of readers who feel cheated out of the rising estrogen boost in mood, energy and mental clarity. That all these hormonal benefits don’t kick in till late in their Week 1 or, worse, until Week 2 starts.

If your Week 1 rising estrogen awesomeness is also slow to kick in–or you simply want to help usher it in sooner–I have a recommendation: 

If you can, take an iron supplement daily if you aren’t already taking one. (15 mg. for ages 14 to 18; 18 mg. for ages 19 to 50)

Menstruation can sap your body’s iron stores–and research shows even a mild dip in this key mineral can cause a drop in energy, brain skills and mood, blunting the positive effects of your rising estrogen.

Now, if you’re taking an iron supplement and still not seeing a difference, you may be taking your iron at the “wrong” time.

Iron is a really finicky mineral and some foods and supplements can block its absorption. And some others can actually help you absorb more. So, check out this fact sheet for how to take iron correctly.

Often, simply taking iron for a full cycle (and every day thereafter) can help you get that rising estrogen oomph sooner in your Week 1.

Here are 3 other ways you can help jumpstart the rising estrogen love in your Week 1:

1. Nix menstrual cramp pain: Whether you’ve got mild cramps or real doozies, don’t just put up with them. Research proves that pain triggers certain changes in the brain and body that drag down your mood, energy and cognitive skills, which can stop you from experiencing rising estrogen’s beneficial effects. So, either take your usual pain meds or check out my posts on natural pain remedies. I’ve written about approximately a gazillion of these–all with research that prove they work.

2. Exercise: Sure, it takes time and effort and you can get a bit sweaty. But, exercise is such an effective way to shake off the premenstrual Week 4 cobwebs–giving you a powerful boost to your mood, energy and brain skills–that I just have to recommend it. Besides, it doesn’t have to be boring. Everything from hopping on a bike to an intense game of badminton can churn out the mood-lifting endorphins and prompt the boost in blood circulation that makes you feel all-over awesome.

3. Do mood-lifting activities: This may sound like an obvious suggestion–one that doesn’t even involve hormones. But, just hear me out: One of the many great things about rising estrogen is that it triggers a higher production of mood-lifting brain chemicals whenever you do something you enjoy–say, lunching with a pal, doing a hobby or shopping. This means that doing a fun activity in your Week 1 has an even bigger happiness-enhancing effect than it would have if you did it in your premenstrual Week 4. So, if you’re huddling inside your menstrual hut during your period and not doing a favorite pastime, you’re missing out on this chance to capitalize on rising estrogen to get a double-dose of joy and pep!

I hope these suggestions help you have a better period week. Let me know if they worked for you!

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