What can you do to help relieve PMS symptoms? The swollen breasts and bellies. Tears. Raging words erupting from tight throats—the ones we wish we could take back, but can’t. Ugh, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)! In today’s article, Sara Avant Stover shares a fresh perspective and approach to managing your “cycle.”
The good girl, the thin girl, the well-behaved girl, the healthy girl, the nice girl. These personas fade when the wheel of our monthly cycles dip into the Dark Side. In their places emerge: the bitch, the witch, the demanding, hysterical, vulnerable, insecure and immature you.
She lives inside all of us. And she needs her time in the spotlight, just as much as any of our other inner selves do. The more that we deny and suppress these shadowy parts, the more they threaten to sabotage the very fruits that we work so hard to cultivate the rest of the month.
This is why we need a whole new perspective and approach around our cycles. We must stop viewing them as some arbitrary bodily nuisance that is unrelated to our pursuits of health, happiness, and feminine power.
Here are some practical, everyday ways to tap into the power of your PMS:
• Put your PMS week on your calendar.
This is your most sensitive time of the month. Act accordingly! Notify your family, close friends, and colleagues. Schedule yourself more lightly. Book a massage at this time each month. Say “No,” a lot. Get more sleep. Meditate. Pay attention to your dreams and intuition. Exercise in a way that’s deeply nourishing—walks and yoga. Prioritize your inner world, and the lost feminine art of being.
Important note: These teaching apply to women of all ages—even if you have stopped menstruating, or are in peri- or post-menopause. In that case, mark the week prior to the new moon on your calendar. That is your equivalent to the PMS week—your time to re-evalute, slow down, and listen more closely to your inner world.
• Listen to the messages from the Dark Side.
Our “unconscious,” symbolically represented through the moon, darkness, and water, communicates with us more strongly at this time of the month (think tears and swollen body tissues). In this realm, our Feminine Prowess speaks through our bodies. Notice the unique ways that your body is asking you to slow down and listen to her.
• Find the medicine in the symptom.
Make a list of all the ways that you experience PMS—and what you get irritated and upset by during this time. Don’t act on these scenarios quite yet. The action week will come after your period. For now, just use this time to listen and discern. Next to each symptom, write down what you believe its medicine is. What do each of these irritants have to teach you?
• Create a new plan for the month ahead.
Based on what you are noticing, what shifts can you make in the month ahead? How can you reduce stress (the main cause of PMS) and take better care of your body? How can you honor your feelings? To whom do you need to speak your truth and build better boundaries? What do you need to let go of? In what ways do you long to explore express your creativity and passion?
• Mother yourself well.
As women we have the power to listen, learn, revamp, and grow each and every month. Some months will be more stressful than others. That’s okay. Remember, this isn’t about being perfect, it’s about slowing down enough to listen to our bodies, our heart’s longings, and our emotions. Be a good mother to yourself—embrace your process with unconditional love. Each month we have the chance to begin again.
Rather than shrouding our feminine cycles in secrecy and shame, we must learn to decipher the mysterious messages that they deliver through our bodies each month. In so doing, we partner with them to reroute their potentially destructive energy into the very fuel we’ve been seeking outside of ourselves to create truer, less perfect, messier, more human, and, ultimately beautiful, expressions of ourselves.
Sara Avant Stover is a yogini, teacher of feminine spirituality and empowerment, best-selling author, and High Priestess at The Way of the Happy Woman. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, and went on to teach thousands of women in over a dozen countries. The creator of The SHE Leadership & Lifestyle Retreat, Reversing Our ‘Curse’, and The Global Red Tent, Sara has also been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Newsweek, Natural Health, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Join Sara & The Way of the Happy Woman for a free 28-day online immersion, “I Heart My Moon Cycle,” to learn more about how to harness and celebrate the power of women’s cycles– at any age.