PMS – (not so) welcome back!!

Confession time. I was an out-and-out cow this weekend. Completely, and for no apparent reason.

All weekend I was cranky, picking at my husband, yelling at my kids, calling myself fat and doubting my own ability to do absolutely everything. I felt like I could barely cook breakfast successfully, let alone run a household, build my business and raise two daughters. Everything was just SO. FREAKING. HARD!

Of course I knew what the problem was. PMS. The monthly nemesis of so many women. My old frienemy!

I knew my period was coming. Intellectually, I knew what the problem was, all weekend I kept telling myself – “chill honey, it’s just PMS!” but that wasn’t enough to break me out of my funk. “Shut your stupid face!”, my old frienemy would spit back. “I’m allowed to be grumpy and I’m going to be grumpy dammit!”. It’s amazing how all notion of common sense and the best intentions of mindfulness and gratitude are no match for a wildly out of control hormone disruption!

This little bout of pre-menstrual funk took me by surprise to be honest. I actually haven’t had PMS for probably the past year, not since I really started cleaning up my act, lifestyle and nutrition-wise. But there was a time, not that long ago, when hormonal fluctuations were a regular problem in my life. Not only at that time of month, but also around ovulation. So every fortnight I was riding an emotional roller coaster for four of five days at a time.

What it boiled down to was, that for every 28 days, I felt like shit for about 10 of them. On those 10 days I was, quite frankly, a moody cow and a not very nice person to be around. It didn’t meld well for a harmonious household, it put an awful strain on my relationships with my hubby and daughters, and it certainly was’t the fun, carefree life I was used to living. Needless to say, I was pretty concerned and knew I had to do something about it – and pretty fast.

So I cleaned up my act. I took a good hard look at my lifestyle and here’s what I found:

* I was eating crap – way too much sugar in particular- hello insulin spikes and the resultant hormonal interplay.

* I wasn’t moving enough – movement is a huge stress reliever for me, plus less movement meant I wasn’t getting outdoors as much.

* I had a terrible sleep routine – late nights and not enough hours of sleep in general.

* I had a shitty mindset – oh woe is me, poor me, nothing goes right, blah, blah, blah.

This is all the stuff I worked ridiculously hard on back then to turn it all around. And it really worked, because pretty much since that time I haven’t had a single bout of PMS – until this month.

Why now? Well, when I look back on the past couple of months, guess what I realised? Yep. I’d let all of the things slip again. It’s been a rough few months, my beautiful Pa passed away, we’ve had teething, sick and eczema-ridden kidlets and several work stresses – plus – it’s winter (read: lack of Vitamin D!). I’m not listing those as excuses, I’m listing them as background. I’m taking full responsibility for dropping the ball in terms of my own health and wellbeing.

And this bout of PMS? Well it’s been a good wake up call. Because I don’t want to be PMS-Sarah for even two days out of the month, and I’m certainly not planning on letting her take hold and be in control of 10 days per month again!

So many of us just write our PMS off as something we have no control over, it’s just another thing adding stress to our lives. But I now know that my PMS is actually a symptom of stress, not a cause. It’s one of my body’s warning signals that something isn’t quite right. I’ve also learned I need to pay attention to my body when it talks to me! Before it starts screaming and throwing hissy fits!

So it’s time to re-group, re-focus and take control of my wellbeing again. How so?? Stay tuned and I’ll explain my action plan in the next few blog posts.

Until next time,

Be well.

Sarah xx

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

Something interesting happened today at one of my worksites. One of the staff, a Kenyan man, was showing a video on his phone of children dancing in a Kenyan village (much like this video I found on youtube!). The staff members watching the video were absolutely transfixed, astounded at the way these kids could MOVE! With such ease, lightness, freedom and spirit. The general chatter was something along the lines of: “I could never get my body to work like that”.

Why not? Where have we, in the western world, got it so wrong, that the notion of being able to control our bodies to move beautifully and intricately is so lost?

Our bodies are designed to move.

The human body is an absolutely amazing construction. Just think for a moment about the more than 600 muscles, 200 bones and 200 joints that work together to form the human anatomy. Not to mention the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and neural pathways that work in concert to operate this brilliant structure.

A creation this beautiful, capable and complex was not created to sit behind a desk all day. Or to slouch on the sofa with an iPad in hand. It was designed to move. To run, jump, crouch, leap, tumble, stroll, dodge, amble, skip, hop, sashay, jostle, climb, crawl.

It was designed to move. To dance.

It was not so long ago that our silver screen heroes were people like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, now it’s the Kardashians. Not so long ago that young people would congregate at public halls to dance the night away, now we meet at restaurants and take pictures of our food.

With our current lifestyles being ruled by seats and screens, it’s no wonder we’ve lost touch with our ability to move. That we no longer feel confident to command and control our bodies to move at our will. We live in a time where it’s reinforced to us that we are at the mercy of our bodies – through injury, illness, sickness, weight. And that our bodies are at the mercy of society, of our environment.

Kids know how to move. When do we lose this knowledge?
Kids know how to move. When do we lose this knowledge?

From the moment we start school we’re plonked in a chair and told to sit still for several hours a day. Fast forward 12 years later and we move to an office cubicle, where we’re expected to do the exact same thing. Where we email a colleague three offices away to save ourselves from the hassle of getting up and walking.

Have we, as a society, really lost our ability to move?

Or have we lost our belief in our right to move?

Want to regain control of your body?

Get up and move.