Scene: You head into the office and prepare yourself for the long day of work ahead. But the second you walk through the front door, your heartbeat fancies itself a dangerous djembe drum beat. You rub your hands against the front of your pants to wipe off the pooling sweat. When you finally sit down at your desk, overwhelming anxiety confuses you — why now? Then, you look over at the tampon sticking out of your purse and remember — oh, yeah. Ugh.
Periods tend to bring women their own unique set of symptoms that range from headaches to uncontrollable cramping. But one side effect you might not have known about is that the menstrual cycle has a way of producing anxiety spikes, too.
And while unexpected feelings of panic set off alarm bells, anxiety is a common side effect that simply has become a part of our monthly gifts. How generous of Mother Nature, right?
But don’t panic — literally. Here’s a look at quick and easy ways you can deal with period-induced anxiety, no stress necessary.
Give Your Mind Some Extra TLC
Breathe in to a count of three. Now breathe out. No, those guided meditations aren’t silly. Quite the contrary, taking a breather may be all it takes to calm your mind down.
Research studies show that yoga does an excellent job of reducing your stress response, making it easier for your body to relax and unwind. As an added bonus, the deep breaths slow down your fast-beating heart and give you a second to regroup your thoughts. You can sort of freeze time for a second, and sometimes, that’s all it takes
In fact, there are yoga poses specially crafted to help you ease your anxiety. And you don’t have to be a pro or incredibly flexible, either. Simply set aside a few minutes to stop panic attacks during your period in their track and give your emotions the added attention they need. Keep at it — practice may kick your body into an automatic coping routine.
Seek Out Herbal Remedies
If you’re hesitant to try anti-depressants to control anxiety or panic, you’ll be happy to know that relief isn’t always found in the form of a prescription bottle. In fact, many people enjoy positive results when seeking out herbal and natural remedies instead.
Nature is full of plants and flowers that boast many health benefits with no catch included. Herbs make up a significant percentage of modern medicines, and natural working remedies really live in your back yard — or you can use your green thumb to plant some. Several herbs that effectively treat anxiety include chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and kava.
When panic seems imminent, brew up a fresh pot of tea with herbs. With your delicious and relaxing cup of tea in one hand and a guilty-pleasure book in the other, you can help your mind successfully unwind.
Keep a Journal of Mood Changes
You may have tossed your diary under your bed years ago in high school — you never liked stupid Bobby Jr. and his stupid face, anyhow — but now it’s time to take it out of the dark. Leave your childhood crushes there, though.
But you don’t have to gush over your daily routine or dreams in this journal — you merely have to take note of your menstrual cycle symptoms and irregularities instead. When you start a mood journal, you can process your emotions easier while tracking when you can expect your feelings to take an unusual dip.
Plus, it’s always great to write your feelings down on paper — regardless of whether you’re on your period or not. Journaling can help you experience more clarity about your emotions that help you regain your sense of power and strength.
Hit the Gym
Feeling panic in the middle of your period? Grab your favorite pair of yoga pants and take a drive over to your nearest gym.
If you’ve heard any superstitious beliefs about menstruation, you’re all too familiar with the mentality that a woman on her period shouldn’t overdo herself. Lying around with Netflix and a big old bucket of ice cream sounds like heaven, but your butt and mood suffer. Being on your period is actually no different than any other day — so why put your exercise regime on pause?
When your body is under stress, it’s lacking those “feel-good” chemicals responsible for keeping you content and at ease. Because exercise releases endorphins and other positive chemicals, it reduces your likelihood of experiencing panic attacks during your period.
In fact, a bit of exercise can help you effectively reduce cramping, too. Who likes feeling punched in the gut while freaking out? No one. A positive mood and less pain? Count us in!
While your menstrual cycle can cause psychological effects that leave you stressed out and on edge, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through this anxious cycle without relief. Flow with Aunt Flo.