Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

5 questions to turn to if you struggle with PMS

by Vivian Nunez

You may not control the symptoms, but here’s how to shift your reaction

Calm Health’s Menstruation Module walks listeners through the RAIN method (or R.A.I.N), which stands for recognize, allow, investigate, and nurture. It’s hard to pinpoint a topic that elicits more questions than PMS. Your Google history may be full of questions like “Is this normal?” and “What is happening to my body on day 23 of my cycle?” But what if we said there are other, more timely questions you can answer on your own? Questions that, when answered, may promote calm instead of anxiety.

We can hear the “SIGN ME UP” scream through our screens! Before we dive into the five questions you can ask yourself on hard days during your PMS, it’s most important to remember that you’re not on the strugg-bus alone.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, 90% of women say they struggle with PMS symptoms, ranging from headaches to bloating to mood swings.

So, while your symptoms are unique to you, your experience is really common among menstruating women.

Here are the five questions to ask yourself the next time your PMS gets you down.

Are my PMS symptoms too much to manage alone?

It’s okay if you need added support to help manage your PMS symptoms. Answering this question can be your first step in getting the right help and bringing therapists or OB/GYNs into the fold to support you.

What PMS symptoms are impacting my day?

While the phrase, “I’m just feeling PMS-y,” can be a full sentence, it may be helpful to break down what specific symptoms you’re dealing with. Finding a supportive care habit for a single symptom may be easier for you than for a whole mood.

Can I do less today to feel more comforted?

It’s normal for our emotional and physical bandwidth to fluctuate based on circumstances. Take a few minutes to audit your symptoms and to-do list for the day — can you lessen one to support the other?

Can I be kinder to myself on the hard days?

We all get wrapped up in our expectations of what our bodies and minds should be doing. It’s hard to process our sense of being when it feels like our bodies are revolting against us. If possible, jot down 2-3 ways you can be nicer to yourself during hard PMS days. Self-care rituals count, like using a heating pad, cozying up on the couch, or warm baths.

Can I remind myself that this, too, shall pass?

The one sure thing about a menstrual cycle is that it is cyclical. PMS symptoms will eventually subside and give way to the next phase of your cycle (which is its own experience, but let’s not even go there!). Instead, let’s focus on a few mantras you can add to your rotation on these hard days. “I am gentle with my body, I find comfort in taking care of myself, and I am patient with the season I am in” are all good ones to add to a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.

No matter how you choose to navigate your PMS symptoms, just remember you’re not on the journey alone. A lot of menstruating people have to readjust their to-do lists and lean on their self-care habits to manage their symptoms. Everyone’s trying their best every day.

Calm Health is a mental health wellness product. Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other disease or condition. Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a medical condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider.

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