One of my goals of Hormonology is to show you how your period week (Week 1 of your cycle) can be good. Heck, it can be great! That’s because your estrogen starts to rise this week. And as this hormone climbs higher and higher, it boosts your mood, outlook, energy, motivation and confidence.
The crankiness associated with periods has a lot do with the pain from menstrual cramps and a dip in iron as you bleed. And both of these crankiness culprits can be remedied! For most women, cramps can be reined in with the many, many study-proven natural cramp remedies I’ve reported on. And, low iron can be reversed by simply loading up on iron-rich foods and/or taking a multivitamin with iron.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I was in the world’s lousiest mood yesterday–and I angrily blamed it on my period!
Here’s why: I had just gotten my period the day before. And I was in SUCH a foul mood–not the usual “Yay, my period’s here!” joy I usually experience. Because I wasn’t having menstrual cramps and I eat iron-rich foods and also take an iron supplement every day, I zeroed in on the first culprit that came to mind: My period. Just a general state of menstruation-ness.
Then I had to laugh at myself–because I was reverting back to that old stereotype about how all women ever created in the history of humankind become cranky b’s when on their period. Despite spending over a decade reviewing the research–and truth–about period weeks, a lifetime of listening to this myth drilled into my head from TV, movies, books and crude jokes told at parties still had it lingering in my head.
So, then I decided to take a step back and figure out if there was something else ticking me off–beside my period.
It didn’t take long to pinpoint the real problem behind my irritated mood: I’m in a lot of discomfort that’s not related in any way, shape or form to menstruation. My mouth is still sore from oral surgery I had last week. And yesterday I experienced an extremely painful flare-up in my back from two herniated discs that I aggravated by twisting and bending in an oh-so wrong way.
Just realizing what was really going on actually helped me chill out and become less irritable. And, a salt water rinse for my mouth and lying flat on an ice pack to ease my back also helped. Which further proved that my poor wrongly-accused period wasn’t at all to blame.
I’m sharing this with you today because I want you to be aware that stereotypes and myths about our period week and premenstrual week have been pounded into our heads our entire lives from a large number of sources.
But, it doesn’t make them true.
Yet, it does make us prone to automatically blaming our period and premenstrual phase for problems that aren’t at all related to them.
So, I’d like to ask you to do something the next time you feel angry, blue, sad or impatient–and you’re tempted to blame it on menstruation or being premenstrual: Try to take a step back like I did. Think about whether there’s another reason for your bad mood–maybe it’s hunger, poor sleep, stress or physical discomfort from a condition or illness you’re dealing with.
Then, once you pinpoint the problem, try to remedy it.
This way, you can prevent reinforcing negative stereotypes related to your cycle.
And, rather than believe you’re just stuck feeling a particular way because of your cycle and there’s nothing you can do about it, you can actually take action to start to feel better.
I hope this tip helps you the way it helped me!
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[Photo: Chris Vreeland]