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PMS- How Nutrition, Mindfulness & Nature can cool the beast.

It's that time of month and anyone that come remotely close to you can feel the fire in your breath. The lingering stare, the wrong words or the lack of patience for others incompentencies can create a untamed lioness within unrecognizable to even yourself. It doesn't have to be this way. Trust me I know!

Whilst I still fear the roar that can rise from the depths of my soul, I recognize that its the years of pushing it down, silencing it that drive its upwards motion each month is fighting for the recognition it deserves. The recognition of the birth-death-rebirth and the wondrous cycle the female body is capable of. Its fight for appreciation, after all that's what women want right?!

With each cycle, I've learnt to sync into my intuitive power to find the solace I need. The self-love, self-care, appreciation, gentleness that calms the beast. To sleep and rest when I feel tired and drained. To find the comfort in yoga to gently work the muscles, not a hard grind at the gym. The words we internalize; self-talk, the over thinking and analyzing. It all needs to take a rest whilst we have a bath, soothe our soul and regenerate.

A time for rest, rejuvenation and re-examining old beliefs.

In ancient times women were relegated to the " red tent". The belief that a woman was bleeding and needed rest from chores, and was cared for by elders in the tribe. Massages and bathing, gentle self care rituals were the centre of this society, not ridicule and taunting. It was celebrated by the tribes and women given the rest they needed for their bodies to function as Nature intended. Young girls not yet women joined elders whose bodies had completed the reproductive cycle to cook and clean as the men tended to their chores.

There is much we can learn from these ancient rituals of women and how they celebrated their bodies, the ways in which they interacted with other women and the community in which they thrived. Modern society has disconnected so much of our Primal Mind that we are lost in the turbulence of the stresses of the world. It is time that we re-introduce the intuitive wisdom that celebrated our bodies for the unique and the amazing things they are capable of.

With modern times and science we have further explored and expanded our knowledge into the medicinal effects of food. This stands true for the time of month that our bodies require more energy, specific nutrients and how this can ultimately effect our pain thresholds, moods and physiology.

Nutrition as cited by Hippocrates " is thy medicine". So instead of binging on the hot chips, or devouring a whole block of chocolate to only regret it later, try the following:

- Eat predominately plant based including plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

- Reduce dairy. This has inflammatory response in our bodies. Calcium can be found in broccoli, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.

- Eat fish 3-4 times a week. Omega 3 Fatty acids assist with inflammatory symptoms.

- Avoid sugar, salt and refined flours =Inflammatory

- Reduce caffeine (coffee, cola, chocolate and guarana products) to 1-2 serves a day and avoid mid way through cycle as research has shown a chemical compound increases irritability and breast tenderness.

- Dandelion root coffee is a liver detoxifier and assists in excretion of excess hormones.

- Eat small meals more frequently. This will ensure that blood sugar levels are steady and reduce cravings and mood changes.

- Eat nuts and seeds. This delivers magnesium, vitamin 's for nervous system.

So whilst we can have the Nutrition nailed, a little Mindfulness can go a long way to breaking the cycle of outburst, irritability and depressive symptoms often associated with PMS.

We often find that with the heightened hormones our emotions are magnified. This means that whatever has happened in the month before hand, that has not been emotionally dealt with will surface. Some helpful ways to approach this time of month with compassion and curiosity are as below;

- Journal you thoughts emotions and try to be objective and write what you know to be true, not just what you feel.

- If you feel explosive, remove yourself from the situation you are in. Walk outside, to your room or somewhere you can sit and be still for a moment and just breathe. If you're at work, this could be as simple as taking yourself to the loo and just regathering yourself.

-Run a bath. Add Epsom salts to relieve tenderness, fatigue, anxiety, cramping and nervous tension. Try geranium oil to balance the hormones and assist with mood regulation.

- Meditating or Mindfulness practices bring awareness to the physical body and allow us to sync body and mind.

You may have your own approach, do what works for you. Ensure that you take the time to look after your body and mind.

For many of us, we are busy with work, family and other commitments and often find it difficult to tune in to our body's rhythms. Slowing down, listening to our body, and bringing awareness to how we feel emotionally and physically can deliver deeper insights and heightened sense of self. Its a time for self reflection, compassion and gentle stretching, yoga or walking.

Regular exercise will improve in reducing the symptoms associated with PMS by stimulating our feel good hormones. Walking in Nature will magnify these feelings in addition deliver some therapeutic benefits including improving our pain threshold. You can read my previous post here.

Group hikes are designed for like-minded women to connect and create a community of supportive and insightful women who build each other up. We are all unique, have something to offer and walking together in Nature along many of the paths the Peninsula offers is as cathartic as it is empowering.

'Turn to Nature to Nurture- Mother'

See you on the trail soon!

Amanda x

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