One of the things that is really helpful through the menstrual cycle, and indeed for any other health related issue that needs careful scrutiny, is to keep a journal of symptoms, thoughts, feelings and experiences. Within the space of a few months this gives a clear insight into what to expect at different points in the month, and how your body "behaves" throughout the cycle.
Having a symptom journal is also most helpful for GPs to refer to in order to help with diagnosis and treatment, and they will often recommend that women spend a few months building up a journal before making a diagnosis. So better to build one in advance of an appointment at the doctor's.
In my experience, writing a journal throughout my cycle has actually contributed to a lessening of my symptoms. There is something in this about becoming more self-aware and developing greater understanding about what's going on. I also think there is something very strong and healthy about making a conscious decision to accept and observe my symptoms, rather than struggling against them, denying them and trying to get rid of them.
Journalling works in this way for me in all areas of my life. It helps keep me sane! My journal is a place for lists, reminders, rants, dreams, intentions, and wishes, as well as symptoms. It is a place for my voice and my ideas, and it is where I give myself a good talking to occasionally.
So if you're at the end of your tether with PMS, facing the menopause with trepidation or dealing with any other issue or difficulty that life might be throwing at you, grab a notebook and write it down. It helps get things back on the straight and narrow.
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