Many women will experience mood swings at some point in time and most women are more susceptible to them during their menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle changes can cause mood swings that can be hard to manage because of their unpredictability and variations in severity and frequency. Women often experience mood swings during certain phases of their menstrual cycle when hormonal levels change, affecting the chemical make-up of their brains and in extension, their moods.

Mood swings refer to drastic and sudden changes in one’s emotional state. These changes in emotions and temperament can at times take place without any justifiable reason or may be a disproportionate reaction to certain situations that are seemingly insignificant. Oftentimes, women may not know why they are sad or angry or how to react while experiencing mood swings. Many factors can interfere with a woman’s emotional well-being but it’s worth acknowledging these different triggers to better understand how to deal with menstrual cycle changes and mood swings.

During their periods, women may feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster. They must remember that they might not be able to control how they feel, but they can certainly control what they do. I am touching upon some of the emotions which a woman can experience during her periods in the following points:

1. Loneliness: Teenagers who start menstruating can often feel lonely because their periods are not very normal for them. It embarrasses them. They don’t know who to talk about it to, but they need to understand that having periods is a part of the experience of being a woman. It’s the responsibility of a mother especially to cater to this issue. Those women whose husbands or in-laws are very strict during periods can even feel isolated.

2. Anger: Learning how to deal with your periods can be tough but don’t try to bury it. Accept it instead and understand that it’s a completely normal process which will turn you into a beautiful woman.

3. Anxiety: It’s a state of uneasiness about what the near future might hold. How people will react or what will they think about your periods for instance is a cause of anxiety. If your anxiety is stopping you from being able to do normal everyday things, then do consider talking to someone about it.

Unfortunately and to my utter dismay, there isn’t an off switch for our mood swings, but there are ways to cope with them. I know it seems rather futile for me to suggest coping methods, but at least it’s a baby step in the right direction. For some, chocolate works, as clichéd as it may seem. For me, personally, music is the cure. The louder the music is, the less things I’ll hear that are likely to irritate me and of course, what always helps is a lot of ‘me-time’. I find that the more I’m alone when I’m having my mood swings, the more bearable it is, simply because when you’re out and about and moving quickly between moods, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot more things that are more likely to upset you.

Here are a few tips which can actually make you feel better and I’m writing this by gleaning from my own personal experiences:

1. Try to relax– the more you relax, the more controlled you are.

2. Treat yourself – spend half an hour in body-brushing before a shower or apply moisturizer all over your body in a mini-massage manner. Get your nails done or a facial even.

3. Eat properly – a diet of complex carbohydrates to maintain blood sugar levels, fibre to reduce bloating and even protein will help stop mood swings and cravings. Do not give in to lethargy and simply snack through your entire period, as this will make you feel much worse.

4. Stop thinking about it Worrying about it all the time will make you even more nervous and irritable. Keep yourself busy and try to take things with a grain of salt.

5. Be empathetic – Try to empathize and understand that not everyone is trying to annoy or anger you.

6. Change your pads/tampons regularly. It will make you less worried about stains, odours, cleanliness and such.

7. Let it all out! When you get to a ‘safe’ place such as your bedroom, release any of the bad emotions you’ve been hiding during the day. Crying in response to the hormonal imbalance in your body is perfectly natural and will help in relieving tension.

8. Ask for help – If any of your emotions get to the point where you feel like you can’t handle them, it’s important to ask for help and try to figure out what’s really going on.

I really hope this article helps you in dealing with mood swings during your periods.
Say “Cheers to Womanhood!”

Author : Naina Jha
She works as “Client Servicing Manager” with an advertising agency in Delhi. She has also worked with an NGO, called “Inter College Women’s Association” for 5 years and participates in various social activities.
She blogs here.
Edited by Divya Rosaline