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Holidays and your Menstrual Cycle

Here we are in the thick of the holiday season. While I love all of the celebrating and community and joy this season brings, I’ll be honest that my period doesn’t always appreciate it. That’s because when the holidays hit, it’s easy to find myself going to bed later, eating more sugar and pastries, and not having room in my schedule for my usual exercise and meditation routines.

And yes – for better or worse – these things do impact that quality of your menstrual cycle and the symptoms you might experience in the days leading up to and during your period.

So while I don’t want to ruin the fun of this beautiful season, I do want to be honest about the impacts these little decisions can have on our bodies so that we can minimize the damage and keep our hormones happy and in check.

Let’s talk about the biggest offenders that can cause symptoms and issues.

Lack of sleep 
When you’re not getting enough sleep, you send your body into a stress state. You start producing more cortisol and adrenaline to help keep your body alert and active, and in the process divert resources away from calming, rejuvenating hormones like progesterone.

Too much food (and too much sugar)
In the 2 weeks leading up to our periods, our body is particularly sensitive to the foods we consume. If we’re overeating (and overeating carbs and sugar), we tax our digestive system which is slowed down due to the rising progesterone, and also clog up our liver, which is necessary to process and break down estrogen in our bodies to metabolites that can be excreted (as opposed to those estrogens essentially getting “stuck” in the body and misbehaving).

Over working/too much activity
Whether it’s end-of-year spreadsheets for work or for your cookie baking calendar, this tends to be a BUSY time of year. That movement creates overactive Vata dosha, which ultimately leads to a more painful, crampy period.

When you think about past holidays – do you tend to have any of these pitfalls? And if you think about past periods – do you know that any of these issues particularly lead to a painful/difficult period for you?

We don’t need to get rid of all the fun this holiday season, but it is worth going in to the holiday with open eyes and intention. Perhaps you do dedicate more priority to sleep, or food, or rest to make it a better period.

I know that reducing activity is the thing I need to do to support a happier menstrual cycle, and so I am committed to taking time to rest and continue my usual meditation routine during this holiday. What about you? Which lifestyle habit is most correlated with a happy (or unhappy) period for you? I’d be interested to hear.  

What Do You think?

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