This Too Shall Pass: Treating PMS Symptoms Naturally 

Alright, ladies, it’s that time of the month again, let the collective groans begin. Yes, I’m talking about PMS, shocker, I know. We all get it, but that doesn’t mean it needs to ruin our day, week, or even the entire month for some of us. Fortunately, there are ways that we can help reduce the symptoms and stress of dealing with PMS in natural and healing ways. 

It always feels like the beginning of a long hard battle each month when we start gearing up to deal with our PMS symptoms; it’s a bit ridiculous. All the time and energy we put into thinking about when we are getting our periods and how that will affect our activities for the month. Can I go to the beach this week? Can I schedule a bikini wax? Do I need more cover- up, for the acne, I’m bound to get? The questions and problems quite honestly, are endless. Having a period is already an inconvenience on multiple levels; we shouldn’t have to struggle any more than we need to.  

Sure, there are things we can’t change, or magically make disappear with a single downward dog or a big whiff of essential oils, but there are definitely steps and actions we can take to dramatically reduce PMS naturally.  

The Good, The Bad, And The Bloaty 

We’ve all experienced the sweat-inducing struggle of trying to squeeze into a pair of pants that fit last week and are now straining at the seams. Bloating is a losing battle that we as women are constantly fighting. This, while a minor PMS side effect, is definitely one of the most irritating ones to deal with. Fluid retention can be the result of fluctuating hormones and can leave us feeling like Violet Beauregarde, post blueberry incident. 

Snacking on bananas, tomatoes, celery and citrus fruits pre-period, can help to alleviate bloating and other symptoms. 

Coconut Oil is amazing for hormonal health. It can assist in weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. 

While eating certain foods can help to reduce or even diminish some PMS symptoms, other foods can actually aid in, or bring on more symptoms. We should try to avoid certain foods around the time of our periods, such as inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, and vegetable oils, which can actually create inflammation in the body. 

Go With The Flow 

Exercise, in general, is always a good idea, to help relieve stress and anxiety, or just to get a good sweat in. Case in point, working out not only releases pain-busting endorphins, but it also triggers serotonin (a depression and anxiety fighter), which can be a major help during times of PMS, and hormonal mood swings. However, intense exercise leading up to our periods can actually make our PMS symptoms worse. It’s actually better to practice mild forms of exercise such as yoga, swimming, or going on walks to better help alleviate our symptoms.  

Doing hip and back stretches can increase blood flow to abdominal and lower-back muscles, easing the tension that leads to cramping. It would be helpful to practice yoga stretches that help to relieve tension and get our blood moving, such as child’s pose, pigeon or happy baby during the week before our periods to avoid PMS.  

Stick It To The Man, And PMS   

Acupuncture is not a new practice by any means, but it is starting to become more mainstream as of late, even in the western medicine world. Getting stuck with a needle has never felt so good! Hear me out here guys, research shows acupuncture is very effective at treating PMS. One study found that acupuncture quelled symptoms in 78 percent of women. They believe acupuncture may increase circulation and elevate endorphins, which enhances mood and alleviates pain. Most women experience PMS relief within 24 hours after a session.  

With results such as these, it’s definitely worth checking out at least once to see if acupuncture would be a good solution for you. There are so many great acupuncture facilities around that offer great deals, such as Brooklyn Open Acupuncture in downtown Brooklyn, that operates on a sliding scale, meaning you pay between  $20-$50 for an appointment; you get to choose what you pay depending on your financial situation.   

Poppin Pills Like Candy 

Supplements are a great way to get a ton of extra nutrients and beautifying superfoods by simply adding them to a smoothie or taking them as pills with our other daily vitamins. There are so many great superfood supplements out there that can help to naturally relieve PMS symptoms; it seems silly to not take advantage of their awesome healing powers. 

  • Vitamin D– We can get our daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun, but in most places it’s hard to get enough exposure on a regular basis, which means that many of us are actually deficient in Vitamin D. Fortunately, in this case, there are many ways in which we can supplement our vitamin D intake. We can do this my taking Vitamin D supplements, or by consuming foods and other supplements that are high in vitamin D, such as cod liver oil, margarine, egg yolks and oily fish. 
  • A recent trial discovered that Vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced anxiety, irritability, and sadness in young women with associated mood disorders linked to PMS. “Researchers found that vitamin D levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. In addition, studies have shown vitamin D levels are related to anxiety and depression. Based on these observations, researchers conducted a study to assess whether Vitamin D supplementation reduces the severity of mood disorders associated with PMS in young women,” spoiler alert, it does. 
  • Maca– Maca has a history of boosting hormone production. Many women notice fewer PMS symptoms, increased fertility, and improved skin. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. As an added bonus Maca has a rich caramel taste, making it a great add-on in a sweet smoothie! 
  • Magnesium– Magnesium often contributes to better sleep (which is great for our hormones). Natural Calm is a great magnesium product to help calm and relax our bodies and often greatly helps both PMS symptoms and menstrual cramping, especially during stressful times, such as that time of the month (wink, wink.) 
  • Calcium- Calcium is a very effective supplement in helping to reduce PMS symptoms. In a recent study, researchers found that women with PMS who took a 500-milligram calcium supplement twice a day for three months had significantly reduced levels of fatigue and appetite changes. Another study revealed that taking 1200 mg of calcium a day helped reduce women’s emotional and physical PMS symptoms.  
  • Vitamin B– B Vitamins are essential to cellular functions throughout the body including metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In addition, they balance mood, reduce anxiety and soothe irritability. 

Smells Like Teen Spirit 

Essential oils are blowing up right now and for good reason. These potent little guys are natural remedy powerhouses. Essential oils have benefits ranging from cleaning products, bug repellent, anti-depressant, and yep, you guessed it PMS relief

Essential oils can be an effective natural treatment for PMS. Clary sage oilhelps to naturally balance hormones, by rubbing 2-3 drops of oil on our lower abdomen. Cypress oil can improve circulation and lessen pain from cramping by applying several drops onto our lower abdomen as well.  

Several drops of ylang-ylang oil along with lavender oil can be applied to the back of the neck to help reduce tension and stress. Peppermint oil can also be used with a warm compress to help reduce pain. 

Whichever method you choose, just remember that we are all different and some of these natural remedies may work better for you than others, but make sure to do what is best for you and your body. If you feel good and are happy with what you are doing, then that’s all that matters!

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The Healing Powers of Himalayan Salt Lamps

Himalayan Salt lamps are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Not only are they visually pleasing to look at, but they are also known to carry plenty of healing powers and health benefits, ranging from purifying the air to helping boost energy levels. With all of these amazing benefits, it’s crazy to think that all you have to do to experience these wonderful therapeutic powers is to simply plug it in.

By nature salt is hygroscopic, which means the lamps attract water molecules from the air; trapping dirt, pollen, and smoke particles, which are carried in water vapor, thus having a purifying effect on the air around it.

This purifying effect also helps in reducing allergy symptoms that are related to dust and dander, since the cause of the allergy is being eliminated in the air, the symptoms will dramatically subside.

By releasing negatively charged particles into the air the lamps can help to reduce electromagnetic radiation from household electronics, such as computers and cell phones. This means that having a lamp on your desk or near where you use your electronics frequently, is a good idea.

Speaking of electronics, research has shown that the blue light given off by phones and other electronic deceives can mess with our sleep hormones and disrupt our sleeping patterns.  Alternatively, salt lamps give off a warm orange glow similar to that of fire or candlelight, giving our eyes a rest from the harsh glow of our computers and cell phones.

  • ProTip, make sure to utilize the NighShift option on your cell phones, this will automatically switch your phone from blue to orange light, according to the rising and setting sun.

For this reason, Salt lamps are great light sources in the evening to help us relax while trying to fall asleep and can be used as a nightlight without negatively affecting our sleep.

These soothing lamps may also help boost mood and energy levels, the soft orange hues are one of the soothing colors often used for calming and to increase focus.

Using salt lamps for color therapy can help to increase energy levels, and induce a clearer mental state,  not to mention, we could all do with more beauty in our lives and there is no denying the beauty and calming effect that these lamps can have on us.

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Shopping Locally: Invigorating Espresso Scrub

I’ll admit it; I’m a die-hard coffee junkie. The smell, the taste, the color, all the possibilities, I want them all and I want them now. So, it’s only fitting that I would be in love with an espresso scrub. I received this scrub from Terra Luna Beauty, as a gift, quite some time ago, and I have loved it from the moment I saw it, I guess love at first sight is real, who would have thought.

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You’ll be begging for a coffee break with this scrub! The gritty espresso grounds are a great exfoliant and the peppermint oil is a refreshing surprise for your skin. With the harshness of the scrub the peppermint really helps to soothe your skin, along with the shea butter and Aloe Vera. This scrub is loaded with an abundance of hydrating, soothing and repairing ingredients.

  • Green tea
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Jojoba oil

Just to name a few, there are plenty more where that came from, in the small jar packed to the brim with this amazing scrub. I say small because the jar is only 9oz. However, it has lasted me forever; I have had it for almost a year now and it doesn’t even look like I made a dent. This may be because I only use the scrub on my face once a week. I’m sure if you used it more frequently or as a body scrub, you would run out much faster than me, but I have found that I love using it as a facial scrub and personally, once a week does the trick for me.

Another reason I love this scrub is because it comes from a local and ethical company. Terra Luna Beauty is a Detroit based skincare company. I love supporting my local stores, even if I don’t live there any more I know that my money is going towards a great company and I try to support local brands and companies wherever I am.

Their products are cruelty free and mindful to our bodies and our environment. All of their products are guaranteed to be:

  • Organic 
  • Cruelty-Free(certified by the Leaping Bunny Program)
  • Fair-Trade
  • Handmade
  • Paraben-Free
  • Vegan(All products are 100% plant based)

Terra Luna donates 10% of their profits to independent animal rescue programs. I love companies that give back, because then I feel like I am also helping to support those charities and programs as well by buying from a company that supports them.

This month I challenge you to find at least one locally made product, wherever you may be, that you love. It can be beauty, skincare, or even food! Anything that can help to support our local businesses, and feel free to share them with me too!

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5 Inspirational Celebrities, That Are Using Their Fame For Good

I think that we have preconceived notions of whom or what celebrities are. The truth is they are just the same as us, only their lives are put on public display at all times. They are subject to rash, snap judgments by the general public for no other reason than because we can. I think that some celebrities are idolized for trivial and materialistic reasons, but there are quite a few celebrities who use their fame and recognition to bring awareness to causes that they care about and believe in.

These are the celebrities that I look up to and admire. I respect them for using their fame to help the world or animals or hunger, whatever the cause they may care about.

I am also inspired by celebrities who are unapologetically themselves. I think we take for granted that we can be whoever we want and do whatever we want with out thousands of people judging us. Sure people still judge us, but our lives are for the most part not on public display for the whole world to see and judge.

I can admire the strength and self-confidence it takes to be who you are, eat what you want, say what you feel, wear what you want and not care what people might be thinking or saying about you. A mentality like that is something to strive for in my opinion, and everyone on this list exemplifies these traits. I am inspired by their actions and the way that they carry themselves, in business and in their everyday lives.

Nikki Reed

Nikki Reed has recently become one of my most favorite celebrities, not because of the work she has done on screen, although she is a great actress, but because of all the wonderful things that she does and represents in her everyday life. Her recurring beauty and nutrition column, Take 5 with Nikki Reed, on Elle.com, is amazing. I wish that she would post more often as I am constantly checking the site to see if she has posted anything new and I just missed it!

Nikki lives a very active and healthy lifestyle and from what I can tell is holistic in the things she eats and puts on her body. She is also an avid animal lover and advocate. She has also collaborated with Freedom of Animals to help promote their vegan and cruelty free bags, which look lovely.

Also, before I forget, I have major brow envy. She probably has some of the best eyebrows I have ever seen. I can only hope one day that my eyebrows and my lifestyle choices will look slightly similar to hers.

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Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham has been a long time favorite of mine since my days of watching back-to-back reruns of “Gilmore Girls” when I got home from school.

I have enjoyed watching the different roles she has played both on screen and off. She was amazing on “Parenthood”; I am so guilty of getting too emotionally invested in that show and crying along with her in almost every episode, like I’m sure many other fans did too.

I devoured her book “Someday, Someday, Maybe” and am anxiously awaiting the sequel, which hopefully is coming soon! I absolutely loved her writing style and the way she told her story. It made me want to try to write a book that was just as relatable and down to earth as hers was.

I have loved her commitment to the characters she has played and the way she can make you feel like you know her. I also admire her attitude and take on life. She is hilarious on twitter and in interviews; I always love seeing what she is up to next.

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell has been one of my favorite actors since I first starting watching, and instantly becoming obsessed with, Veronica Mars. I soon realized that she is a completely honest, funny and confident woman; all traits that I aim to have in my own life.

In every interview that I have seen, she seems to be so down to earth and really loves her life and what she does. She is hilarious and isn’t afraid to say and act how she really feels, even if it makes her look a bit ridiculous at times.

And I have to mention her relationship with Dax Shepard, which is something to strive towards. They seem so happy and carefree and loving and I feel like that is how a relationship should be.

Plus, PS, she is vegan and an environmental activist too!

Leighton Meester

Leighton Meester is the epitome of an indie, cool girl. She has taken the indie movie world by storm, in my mind anyway, and I have liked almost everything she has done. I think that she has really come into her own as a person and with her style since “Gossip Girl” ended. Don’t get me wrong I like “Gossip Girl;” I just like Leighton more now since the show has ended.

She is also a singer and I absolutely love her songs and her vibe. I feel like it has kind of an indie rock feel, with a bit of a folky vibe weaved into it. I went to see her perform in person and she just seemed like a very chill person. A lot of people were there because they wanted to see Blair Waldorf, but my friend and I were there to see Leighton. You could kind of tell that she wanted to be recognized for herself and not the character she played, but she was still polite and welcoming to all her GG fans.

It seems like she is completely comfortable being herself and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and that is an outlook that I am trying to adopt for myself. I love her fashion sense and her carefree attitude; she never tries to be anyone but herself and I like that about her.

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JK Rowling

All of the other celebrities that I mentioned I admire because of their lifestyle choices and their business endeavors, as well as their personal beauty and fashion styles, but I admire JK Rowling for entirely different reasons.

She is an amazing writer and a successful businesswoman, but she is also so much more than that. She is strong, independent, fearless and determined. She has taught me to never give up on my dreams.

I will leave you with the speech that J.K. Rowling gave at the Harvard commencement ceremony in 2008. It’s a bit long, but so worth it.

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Why I Use a Glass Water Bottle: Steps Toward a Zero Waste Lifestyle

I have recently become interested in the zero waste lifestyle. I just started looking into this lifestyle about a month ago when I saw a video on Refinery29 with Lauren Singer. I then proceeded to internet/YouTube stalk her life, as one does. I then found Bea Johnson and her family, who were Lauren’s inspiration. I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, featuring Bea and was inspired to start, with baby steps I must add, to become more conscious about the waste I produce in my life and the harm that it causes. I found myself making small changes to eliminate and reduce the amount of trash that I create and one of those ways is to use a glass water bottle, or reusable bottles in general.

  • Glass bottles are a natural choice for a cleaner and purer taste
  • Glass bottles are also 100% recyclable, which is great compared to some other plastic or metal bottles that cannot be fully recycled or recycled at all.
  • Glass is a better choice than metal or plastic because there is never a fear of chemical contamination leaching into our drinks
  • Glass is also much easier to clean and environmentally sound since it does not contribute to trash in our landfills.

Using a glass water bottle for water, or taking a mason jar with you to fill up with coffee or tea at your favorite local spot or any type of beverage really will save you both time and money in the long run. You can also feel good about helping the environment out as well.

I plan to slowly but surely make small changes in my everyday life to stop creating waste and contributing to landfills with unwanted trash. I think that this lifestyle seems hard, but if we take it one day at a time, one change at a time and think of all the good that you are doing by making these changes, it makes the transition much easier. I am not saying I will ever get my trash production down to as low as the women I mentioned above, but I think that striving to be better everyday and produce less trash is a great start.

I will be documenting my journey on my blog and sharing my small changes with you and hopefully inspires a few of you to start making these changes with me.

“The earth is what we all have in common” – Wendell Berry

 

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