Would Time Off Work Help With PMS?

Periods

This week a rather strange story caught my eye in the news, and no doubt you have seen it as well. A company in Bristol is planning to create a ‘period policy’ designed to allow women to take time off during their period, without being stigmatized.

I really can’t fault the intention, which seems to come from a place of good will and wanting to create a happy, healthy, creative and efficient working environment. Company Director Bex Baxter told The Guardian newspaper that the idea is to: “synchronize work with the body’s natural cycles” after years of seeing women bent over double in pain at work but not going home because they don’t classify themselves as ‘ill’.

On a personal note I am undecided what I think about this; would you really want to put it out there that you’re on your period? It’s certainly not something you shouldn’t talk about, I’m a huge advocate of talking about anything and everything, but your body’s cycle is very personal, and taking time out because of it really puts it on display. All I can really say is ‘oh wow, the world is changing.’

What this does raise however is a wider discussion about women’s hormones and how we look after ourselves. In my work with preconception and helping women to prepare for pregnancy, the idea of looking after your body is vital. That includes nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, managing stress and rest, all of which are ongoing and evolving experiences and learning curves.

What we’re really talking about when we think of the unpleasant elements of our periods is PMS, and how that affects you is determined by hormone levels, including but not exclusive to, oestrogen.

Lots of things impact your hormone levels, and equally lots of things can help to balance them out, such as supplements, herbs like chaste berry and superfoods like Maca Root, or phytoestrogens (plant derived xenoestrogens that mimic oestrogen in people).

Rest and limiting stress play an important part in this process as well, and so the postulation that time at home when you have your period may be of help is certainly not incorrect. Having time to nurture yourself, exercise, and let your body relax is highly recommended, but the key is understanding your body, being in tune with it and then being able to look after it accordingly.

The big thing for all of us is having the information and knowledge to be able to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Crucially, all of us are different and have different experiences with PMS. Some are affected all the time and others not at all, so in my experience, getting that knowledge is about 70% of the battle, and it’s what I aim to provide women (especially those trying to get pregnant ) with on my Thrive Fertility Retreat. The rest is implementing that knowledge, and again it’s something I help clients with on a regular basis. It’s not just one week in the month, it’s about wider lifestyle choices; knowing your body and know what works for you.

If I have one piece of advice though if you’re struggling, it’s don’t just keep going, going, going; take time to nurture yourself, you deserve it!

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