Ask Charlotte: Period Anxiety

Q: Hi Charlotte, I've noticed that a week or so before my period, my anxiety seems to skyrocket and I get so bloated too. I struggle to sleep and alongside the inevitable cramps and food cravings, I feel mentally exhausted as my mind seems to be working overtime. Do you have any suggestions for how I can stay more balanced during the luteal phase of my cycle? 

Hormones play a key part in our overall health. Hormone imbalances can affect us mentally, physically and emotionally. During the latter part of your cycle, estrogen levels dip and progesterone levels continue to rise, making you feel more tired, bloated or anxious.  Use this time to practise proper self care; for some this may mean spending the weekend resting, journaling or finally watching that film you've wanted to see for ages. For others it might include some much needed meditation and an early morning yoga class. Incorporating powerful natural actives like adaptogens and essential oils can help to ease any of the emotional and physical symptoms that may arise at certain times in your cycle. Geranium essential is especially great when you need an extra boost during the third or forth week.

I find Geranium essential oil can be helpful to relieve premenstrual tension, menopause and hormonal imbalances. It's a stimulant of the adrenal cortex, which produces a number of different corticosteroid hormones.  It is very effective for bloating and swelling prior to or during the menstrual cycle. Geranium has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system and can be very useful in reducing fluid retention through its regulating action.

To ease any cramps and/or bloating run a bath and pop in a few drops of Geranium. The warm bath water will help to diffuse the oil around the bathroom, and will help to ease an anxious mind too.

You could also try incorporating adaptogens such as ashwagandha around the third week of your cycle can help your emotions feel more balanced. Adaptogenic herbs directly affect your endocrine system which is responsible for your hormones. Your cells will react by making more or less of certain hormones to balance everything.