If you were to track your anxiety, you might find that the increased times follow a somewhat monthly pattern. While this may sound strange, anxiety, along with a lot of other symptoms, can rise and fall with the hormonal changes of your period. Let’s dive into anxiety and your menstrual cycle!
What are the menstrual cycle phases?
To understand your period symptoms, it’s important for you to know the different phases of your cycle, and what role they play in your body. You may be surprised to learn that your menstrual cycle is not just one week of blood flow. It is a complex, month-long cycle that includes four main phases. As you learn how your cycle flows and how your body responds, you will be able to understand your emotions in a whole new way, which is so helpful in managing anxiety.
During menstruation, your progesterone decreases, which causes the uterus lining to shed. This is sometimes known as the “Winter” phase of your cycle, which makes sense because your energy is low and all you probably want to do is curl up inside with a blanket and a cup of tea. This phase is a great time to process, think, and invest in yourself a little. Do things that make you feel cozy, happy and safe.
Your body will start to experience a rise in testosterone and estrogen, so you’ll probably feel some extra energy and positive thoughts will start to flow! This phase — we’ll call it “Spring” — is a great time to get lots of work done, and complete social activities while you have the energy! During this phase, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH, is also rising to prepare your uterus for a new potential pregnancy.
Ah, ovulation… the “Summer” of the month! Expect maximum energy and confidence because your estrogen and testosterone levels have been rising to this point. This is a great time to act on planning, schedule meetings, flirt with your guy… and have some fun! Because as soon as ovulation occurs, your energy will start to slow down again and the cozy mood will take over.
Assuming that pregnancy did not occur after ovulation, the next phase is your Luteal Phase… or “autumn.” This phase can involve some bloating, cravings, and anxiety. What you can do, though, is focus on eating healthy foods, grabbing an herbal tea instead of sugar- and caffeine-packed latte, and get as much sleep as possible. If that anxiety rises, take the opportunity to remind yourself that this is a phase and it’s okay to feel a little low. It can be comforting to know that your hormones are speaking, and allow them to tell you to take it easy and chill. There’s nothing wrong with stepping back from high-impact activities and social engagements when your energy is low.
Do diet and exercise affect anxiety?
What you eat and whether you’re regularly exercising or not also can play a big role in aiding or alleviating anxiety. Taking natural supplements can help in boosting your mood such as vitamin B for energy and vitamin C for an immune booster. Recent studies have shown that turmeric is also a powerhouse for all kinds of health benefits including anxiety. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies will aid in less bloating and sluggishness too!
How to cope with anxiety during your menstrual cycle
- Try yoga or mediation.
- Even being outside in nature has shown effectiveness in grounding and calming oneself. We recently talked about 10 Ways to Get Outside this year!
- Positivity. Surrounding yourself with positive people counteract the stress and anxiety hormones.
- Getting enough sleep is of the utmost importance. Sometimes it’s hard to sleep during our periods because of the imbalance of hormones.
- Journal, journal, journal. Even if you aren’t typically someone to write down your thoughts, getting them on paper is super effective in alieving your mind.
While your menstrual cycle can impact the level of anxiety you experience, there can sometimes be a much deeper cause. We want to encourage you to seek out counseling, surround yourself with encouraging people + positivity.
Have you thought about using a menstrual cup? Women who are switching say that they have made their lives better and they aren’t going back! Once a menstrual cup is in place, it can safely be left for up to 12 hours without the worry about infection. If it’s placed properly, you won’t be able to feel it at all and you’re able to go about your life, worry-free. Sounds great, right? One less thing to worry about during our periods!
This content was originally written on October 7, 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.