The ups and downs of our mood can seem to be a never-ending rollercoaster in our lives. To top off our already less than optimal state of mind, we often hear phrases like, “Are you on your period?” or “You must be PMSing.” Especially if we show the slightest signs of irritability.
So what’s the deal with mood swings?
If you’re living in a body that enjoys the menstrual cycle, you might already understand the fluctuations of hormones and their relationship to your mood. Put very simply, estrogen is the hormone that’s heavily linked to a better and more stable mood. When your levels are high, you’re probably feeling pretty good. When your levels are low, you’re more likely to experience feelings of irritability. In fact, people with periods are at a higher risk of developing mood disorders and depression because of these constant changes.
What if I’m feeling like this more often than not?
If you’re battling mood swings it is worth trying to figure out whether your feelings are linked to your menstrual cycle because you may be struggling with hormonal imbalance. Most of us are familiar with PMS, which occurs right before and during our periods, but there is also something called PMDD (PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). This generally happens in the week or so before your period (as estrogen is falling), and symptoms include extreme anxiety, irritability or depression that usually seems to disappear when your period arrives.
In this case, it’s a good idea to chat with your doctor and see if they can run tests on your hormone levels, or suggest solutions to help stabilize your hormone swings some. Keep in mind you’ll want to test levels across an entire cycle and not just once for a better overall picture of what’s happening in your body. It’s also worth noting that your levels are specific to you. One person’s low may be another’s high and vice versa. It’s all about finding your personal baseline and working with your doctor to optimize that.
Okay, but what if I feel down when I know my estrogen should be peaking?
If you’re in your ovulatory phase, when estrogen should be at its highest, and you still feel your mood to be less than ideal, you might want to take stock of what’s going on in your life. Are you dealing with a really stressful work situation? Are you an extrovert that’s been cooped up and in need some of socializing? Are you going through a fallout with a friend or loved one? It’s easy to forget that sometimes our surroundings and circumstances can play a big role in our mood as well.
As the holidays approach, you may be feeling some sort of way—good or bad. Perhaps you’re eager to see family and friends you haven’t been in the same room as for a long time. Or maybe your situation is a little more stressful than you’d like and you’re experiencing some anxiety. Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that these things could have an effect on your mood.
What can I do for myself?
The good news is, you don’t have to settle for a crummy mood or hormonal imbalances! We specifically formulated our enhanced multivitamin The Daily to help stabilize your mood and balance your hormones—with the added bonus of helping with your cravings and skin health! In addition to adding this to your regimen, you can also add some estrogen-boosting foods to your diet—check with your healthcare provider first to make sure this is a good step for you.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Soybeans—opt for organic if possible and if you can find sprouted tofu, that is even better.
- Flax seeds—pro tip: make sure they’re ground – otherwise your body can’t break them down and you don’t get all the healthy Omega 3 oils. Also, it’s best to buy store the extra in the fridge to keep them from spoiling.
- Fresh fruit—apricots, apples, and mangoes are some of our favorites. Avoid fruit juice, but the fiber inside whole fruit is great for you!
- Berries—strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Beware of dried cranberries though as they’re typically loaded with sugar.
- Cruciferous vegetables—cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage.
- Nuts—pistachios, walnuts, peanuts. Nuts are amazing – not only are they loaded with nutrients
While we might not be able to stop mood swings from ever sneaking upon us, we can take steps to help reduce them and make our lives a little more peaceful.