When monthly period cramping, moodiness, and fatigue hit, it’s tempting to pop a pain reliever, down some caffeine, and keep powering through your day.
But numbing the discomfort or giving yourself an artificial energy boost won’t address the underlying causes of your symptoms. According to Nancy Lonsdorf, an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner and the author of The Ageless Woman: Natural Health and Beauty After 40 with Maharishi Ayurveda, premenstrual syndrome is an invitation to bring your body back into balance.
“PMS is not a disease; it’s just a sign of an imbalance,” Lonsdorf says. “If you have PMS, it’s a signal that your diet and lifestyle are disturbing your natural equilibrium.”
Not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, stress, and lack of exercise can burden a body already dealing with monthly hormonal fluctuations. Lonsdorf suggests cutting down on sweets and caffeine as your cycle progresses, allowing yourself to sleep a bit more on the first days of menstruation, and doing gentle exercise, including yoga, all month long. “Most women can manage PMS with natural approaches,” she says.