If you haven’t picked up on last week’s article, make sure you take a peek, because I shined a light on one of the most under looked factors for mental health struggles in women. Spoiler alert: our menstrual cycle.
Today I want to show you, with real-life examples, what happens to our mental health when we ignore our cycles and our natural rhythms. Plus, how the consequences of this behavior are deeply connected with lower quality of life, poor performance, and a prognosis of anxiety, depression, and negative rumination.
Why you should care about healing hormonal imbalances instead of normalizing them
The consistent repetitive action of not being attentive to our menstrual cycle needs, and choosing to continue with actions that don’t support the ebbs and flows of our hormone fluctuations, start showing up as hormonal imbalances in women.
In the beginning, these imbalances can look like this:
- a little more fatigue as we’re getting closer to our periods,
- cramps that are light but still annoying,
- some irritability and lack of focus,
- and perhaps a pimple here and there.
Doesn’t look like anything major right?
But as life progresses, and as we normalize these symptoms, the hormonal imbalances don’t simply disappear or stay static.
Have you ever heard of the phrase:
“One rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel”?
That’s what happens when one small problem in your body goes unseen.
The downfall of normalizing pain
This is why it’s so crucial, that as a society we stop normalizing pain.
It’s scary how comfortable we’ve gotten at normalizing women’s suffering.
So, I want you to start interpreting your symptoms, as loud messages your body wants you to hear.
All your body is trying to tell you is that something is wrong.
Symptoms shouldn’t be feared. They should be welcomed and appreciated. Because when you became aware something is off, you can then intentionally start looking for a suitable solution.
I personally have the practice of thanking my body when it shows me an uncomfortable feeling. Without uncomfortable symptoms, we would never be able to stop the problem in time.
Unfortunately, because the normalization of pain is so ingrained in our culture, we brush these messages aside and our bodies get into a chaotic mess we didn’t ask for.
When it rains it pours
Here’s how hormonal imbalances can, directly and indirectly, start affecting your quality of living and result in different mental health struggles:
Physically, women with hormonal imbalances may experience irregular periods, heavy bleeding, cramps, fatigue, acne, weight gain, hair loss, and mood swings. They may also experience hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, affecting their sexual health, confidence, and love for their bodies. Most women also experience a loss of libido which only emphasizes their feelings of low self-esteem.
Mentally, women with hormonal imbalances may experience anxiety, depression, and irritability. They may also have trouble concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions, which can affect their work and personal life.
Emotionally, women with hormonal imbalances may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and hopeless. They may feel like they have lost control over their bodies and their lives, and that their bodies are at war with them. This can affect their relationships with their partners, family, and friends, leading to social isolation and loneliness sometimes.
At work, women with hormonal imbalances may struggle to concentrate, stay focused, and manage their time effectively. They may also have trouble managing their emotions, leading to conflicts with colleagues and superiors. This can affect their job performance, career growth, and belief in themselves.
At home, women with hormonal imbalances may struggle to manage their household responsibilities. Making meals, keeping the house tidy, and taking care of the kids can feel overwhelming and exhausting. This can lead to feelings of disconnection from their partners and family members, leading to feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
At the gym
At the gym, women with hormonal imbalances may struggle to maintain a regular exercise routine due to fatigue and lack of motivation. They may also experience difficulty losing weight or building muscle, which can affect their self-esteem and self-worth. This can lead to feelings of sadness, frustration, and hopelessness.
On vacation, women with hormonal imbalances may struggle to enjoy themselves fully due to physical discomfort and emotional distress. They may also feel self-conscious about their appearance and hesitant to participate in activities they would otherwise enjoy.
How to make sure your mental health is strong every year that goes by
Here’s the moral of the story:
Something as simple as cramping while you’re on your period, should never be normalized and left unfixed. Because when we do that, it can quickly escalate to deep-rooted systemic hormone imbalances, that can alter women’s life experiences in a devastating way.
No matter what the symptom is, resolve it as soon as you start feeling it.
A woman’s mental health is directly related to her understanding of her body, her understanding of natural female biology, and her understanding of her menstrual cycle.
It is also directly correlated with how well you can take care of yourself based on those factors.
With that being said, the journey of self-discovery of your female body is not meant to be quick and easy. It’s a slow, life-long progress that you will embark on.
But every year of that journey, the fruits will be plenty and sweet, not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually.
You will get to know yourself deeply. Bring forward parts of yourself you didn’t even know were there. Connect back to the magic of the feminine energy we’ve suppressed for millennia. And you will attract people who elevate you and support you.
Believe it or not, this plays a huge role in your body’s capability of healing from:
- hormonal imbalances that are giving you nightmare headaches, PMS, and depression
- systemic inflammation that is aging you fast and keeping your brain numb and slow
- unprocessed trauma stuck in the body, indirectly affecting your sleep, digestion, and immune function, all of which play an important role in keeping your hormones balanced.
Give yourself permission
If all this sounds overwhelming, I get it.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start.
There’s a lot to learn and a lot to implement.
So give yourself a permission slip to ask for help! (I know…we’re terrible at doing it).
Get support from a professional, a coach, or a specialist, that can guide you with the exact steps you can take while removing overwhelm off your plate.
Nothing feels better than feeling supported in your day-to-day, knowing that at any moment you can ask for help when challenges come up!
The added benefit of asking for help and feeling supported is that it lowers your stress hormone – cortisol – which is one of the reasons why you could be having irregular and painful periods. So do yourself a double favor 😉
Needing to prove that you can do everything yourself, is only a societal construct, put in place to keep you small and easily manipulated by outside values that do not serve your greatest self. Never forget that!
Dr. Maria Tedim – Your go-to doc for happy hormones