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Managing PMS: Lifestyle Changes

Coping with PMS takes energy. But PMS symptoms can make you feel like you don’t have the strength to cope. The key is to work helpful strategies into your daily life. Be active during the day and get enough sleep at night. Take time to relax. And don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Being active

  • Activity raises the amount of oxygen in your body. This makes you feel better and gives you more energy. Exercise may also raise serotonin levels. For best results:

    • Try aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or yoga.

    • Exercise for 30 minutes, most days of the week. If this seems like too much, start with 10 minutes a day and work your way up.

    • Find ways to fit activity into your day. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

      Woman jogging outdoors.

Sleeping well

When you’re tired, PMS symptoms can be harder to cope with. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep a night. To sleep better:

  • Follow a routine before bed. For instance, brush your teeth, read for half an hour, and turn out the lights at 10 p.m. every night.

  • Pull down window shades and keep pets out of the bedroom. If you’re a light sleeper, try wearing earplugs and an eye mask to block out noise and light.

Taking time to relax

Being relaxed can give you the energy to deal with life’s ups and downs. This makes even PMS symptoms easier to cope with. Learn to relax through simple techniques you can do anytime, anywhere. If you think you’re too busy, start with just 5 minutes a day. Try:

  • Taking in a slow, deep breath through your nose. Hold it for 5 counts, then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this 3 times.

  • Picturing yourself in a peaceful place, such as the countryside. Explore with your mind. Hear birds. Smell freshly cut grass. Enjoy a mental vacation.

  • Stretching to relax muscles and reduce aches. (If you have back problems, ask your healthcare provider about stretches that are safe for you.)

Finding support

You don’t have to deal with PMS alone. To help you cope:

  • Talk with family and friends. Let them know how they can help when you’re dealing with PMS symptoms.

  • Chat with female friends. Support each other. You may learn some new coping strategies.

  • Join a support group for women with PMS. Or try a stress management group. Ask your healthcare provider for resources.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2022
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