By Dr. Shawna Darou, ND
I’m always so excited to speak with people who are on the same wavelength, and also on a mission to reframe negative cultural connotations about our menstrual cycles. I truly believe that tracking your cycles and understanding your own patterns through the month is an incredibly empowering practice.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Christina Bjorndal about women’s mental health and hormones. Dr. Chris is a fellow naturopathic doctor and author of “Beyond the Label – 10 steps to improve your mental health with naturopathic medicine.” She made a comment about reframing, and re-naming your PMS week as “Kindness Week,” and that really hit home for me.
What is Kindness Week?
“Kindness Week” is the week before your period, and during this time you need to do a little more self-care and take time for extra rest. It also means that this is the week you practice saying no to some of the requests that come in, and this is especially true for people-pleasers, or those of us with issues with boundaries. Many women say yes, when they really mean no, but how do you know if this applies to you? Dr. Chris’ advice is to make your yeses “Hell Yes!”, and if they’re not then learn to say no.
So many of us are stretched thin and carrying too many plates: work, businesses, children, families, spouses, households… and when you’re over-committed you’re more prone to get irritable and resentful at this time. If you disown your own needs, PMS may intensify and cause havoc in your life.
Some practices you can start right now
You can shift your PMS into “Kindness Week” quite simply. Here are some practices you can begin right now:
- Start tracking your cycle so you can learn your own patterns, and know when your ‘kindness week’ will be coming.
- Clear your calendar that week. What can you delegate? What can you let go of?
- Plan for something kind and nurturing: take a bath in the evening, read a good book, schedule a massage, or go to a yoga class.
- Acknowledge your need for extra rest: take power naps, go to bed earlier, reduce the intensity of your workouts.
- Bottom line: make self-care your top priority for the week.
What happens when you treat yourself with kindness
When you treat yourself with kindness during your premenstrual week, you’ll be stretched less, you’ll be less irritable and you won’t be as pressed for time. Many of the symptoms that we associate with PMS are simply your body’s request to slow down. Can you imagine how your month would transform if you simply listened to this request instead of plowing through?
My challenge to you is to claim your Kindness Week: carve out some extra space, get the extra rest that you crave, and let go of a few of the plates you’re holding up during this week. Your body will truly thank you.