In my last post Homeschooling & Hormones 1, I shared about the stranger that seemed to have taken over my body. If you suffer with some of the symptoms that I mentioned in the last post, don’t give up. There IS hope for you and your hormones.
I want to reassure you first of all that you’re not losing your grip on sanity, and you’re not just lacking in discipline or will to overcome it. Often, just knowing more about hormone imbalance helps to relieve the fears and despair it causes you to feel.
DO YOU HAVE PMS OR SOME HORMONE DISORDER?
A lot of women are suffering from PMS, peri-menopause, or menopausal symptoms and don’t know it. Perhaps they have a mild form of it for just a few days each month. Others may have a severe form that lasts longer, and makes them wonder, “What is wrong with me?!”
A hormonal disorder has a wide variety of emotional and physical symptoms. If PMS is to blame, these symptoms occur at the same phase of each menstrual cycle. The most common symptoms are irritability, tension, headaches, depression, fatigue, crying for no reason, forgetfulness, and cravings for sweet or salty food.
Maybe you just read that list, and said “Help me! I’ve got all those symptoms! I’m struggling, and don’t know what to do.”
The first thing I want you to realize is that you CAN help yourself. No matter what type of disorder you have, there are things you can do to make it easier, and to balance things.
Hormones can disrupt your homeschooling and bring you to the verge of giving up, so you want to do what you can to help yourself.
1. Chart your symptoms.
Charting your symptoms will help you determine if you have PMS, or a different from of hormone disorder. With PMS your symptoms will usually be at the same point in your cycle each month. If you see a regular pattern, you can prepare before it comes.
I used to have severe PMS. After charting my symptoms, I learned to plan my school schedule based on my cycle. There was one week each month where I really struggled to stay calm, I had migraines, was fatigued, and very irritable. I purposely planned that as a very light week, where the kids could do most things on their own. That gave me time to rest more, and also kept my frustration level a bit lower. The less stress you having during PMS, the better!
Plan easy meals, use educational DVDs, relax and read good books, and take naps. I realized that I couldn’t handle the normal routine of school during my bad week, and adjusted accordingly. That’s one of the beauties of homeschooling! We can make it fit our family’s needs.
2. Educate yourself!
Go to the library and get some books on PMS, peri-menopause, or menopause–whichever you may be dealing with. Knowledge is understanding. Even though you still have the same symptoms to deal with, when you know there is a physical, chemical cause in your body it makes it a little easier to deal with.
3. Watch your diet.
Maybe times hormone disorders can be made better or worse by the foods we eat. For example, with PMS you want to avoid salt, caffeine, and sugar. If you have high estrogen, you want to stay away from soy products.
4. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise has been proven to alleviate many of the symptoms that come with hormone issues.
5. Take supplements.
There are many products you can purchase online that will help to balance your hormones. Some I’ve used which helped with my symptoms are Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, and Change-O-Life. There are many others — do a little research before making purchases.
6. Talk to someone who understands.
That may be hard, because unless you’ve lived through the hormone ups and downs, you have no way of fully understanding what it’s like. Very few people realize how serious it can be, and often they tend to make light of it.
The LAST THING you need at this time is to be told, “Get yourself together, and quit making such a big deal of it!” or some other similar type of statement. So find someone who can listen, encourage, and comfort you through your struggles.
7. If needed, see a doctor who specializes in bio-identical hormones.
If your case is severe, and the suggested ideas aren’t enough, DON’T DESPAIR! You don’t have to live with depression, severe mood swings, irritablity, etc.
There are many doctors now who will test your hormone levels, and give you natural hormone (bio-identical) supplements to take in the form of pills, or cream.
Wherever you fall in the area of symptoms, whether it’s mild or severe, DO SOMETHING TO HELP YOURSELF, and remind yourself daily that there IS hope!
In my next post, I’ll look at the guilt and depression you may be feeling. (I’m just a bad Christian, bad mom, etc.)