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The PMSing Plan

I have a plan. A PMSing plan. It's written on a piece of lined paper, and I put it on my recipe stand in the kitchen. Once a month, or every three weeks, as if often the case these days, I put it in front of my recipes and follow it. 

A friend suggested I share this for the sake of other women. So here you go, other-premenstrual-syndrome-suffering women!

The moment I sense the oncoming symptoms of premenstrual syndrome—irritability, fatigue, and depression—I pull out the plan and let my husband know that the plan is in effect. The plan has a list of things I'm allow and not allowed to do. I've listed them below along with the reasons.

NO

1) Schooling: because I instigated this plan during COVID-19, I was in charge of making sure the children did their online school. School was a frequent source of frustration for me. The children required constant monitoring while baby brother got into mischief, and the work assigned to my children seemed nonessential to their education. All of this was a bad combination for a time when my energy and nerves were already frayed. I think the children even sensed this. They could moan and groan about the difficulty of an assignment, and I would give in because I also thought the assignment was stupid.

2) Problem Solving: this included making decisions about anything that under normal circumstances might stress me out such as: vacation planning, formulating tactful replies to e-mails, attending meetings where I know I won't agree with the people, planning parties, reading deep books, listening to alternative viewpoints on the news or podcasts, deciding if the children should be allowed to do anything new be it using their toys in new ways, going to new places, or interacting with new friends. Can you tell "new" things stress me out?

3) Repairing Things: be it the kitchen sink, the computer, or a relationship. During this time I have no patience for failure or unexpected difficulties. Broken things will just have to stay broken for a few days.

4) Meals from Scratch: meals from scratch take a long time full of interruptions from my children. Interruptions cause my heart rate to increase at a rate of 10 beats per interruption. (Actually, I just made that up). So all plans for homemade hummus, chicken pot pie, or cookies will just have to wait. Instead I try to do simple meals: sandwiches, freezer meals, leftovers, or snacks.

5) Analytical Blogging: whenever I try to analyze when PMSing, which is like every 10 minutes, I feel hopelessly lost and confused, as if my brain were stuck in a maze. I've found it best not to analyze why my children are behaving as they do or why so and so bugs me so much. In case you're wondering, this isn't an analytical blog. But the one before this was, and no, I was not PMSing then.

6) Texting and Facebook: I try to limit my texting and facebook time to once a day. This is necessary because when I'm depressed or fatigued I frequently reach for the phone to instantly soothe my irritability. It's a quick fix that leaves me in a worse state than it found me. Facebook and texting also require a fair amount of restraint, tact, and strength, which I have not.

7) Talking About Myself: I have yet to successfully follow this rule, but any attempt to follow it is better than abandoning the idea altogether because otherwise, I complain and gripe an inordinate amount. I found myself complaining to my friends about things that weren't actually problems and then afterwards wondering why I said what I said. Best to ask questions of others and practice listening during this time. I found that this actually improved my mood quite a bit.

And now on to the allowable things. 

YES!

1) Reading Fun Novels: anything transportive or that slows me down

2) Writing Poetry & Novels: I discovered the creative part of my brain, unlike the analytical part, was still alive and well during this time. The creative process also helped me forget my "misery".

3) Phone Calls: So long as I stuck to the rule about not talking about myself, phone calls are essential. They help me not wallow in self-pity and to remember that other people besides myself exist.

4) Watch Movies: AFV is usually the best. There's nothing like seeing other people suffering to cure myself of the ho-hums. 

5) Physical Exercise: including walks, Youtube yoga videos, and jumping rope with the children

6) Scrub, Clean, or Dig: I think this is good because it's physically exerting while accomplishing something. It's making order out of chaos. Being outside to dig or weed or take out the trash is highly therapeutic too.

7) Organize: Organizing and throwing things out makes me happy. I suggest you find your happy activity that isn't stressful.

8) Do Puzzles: Again, it's making order out of chaos. It slows down my racing mind and gives me something to think about other than my poor self and the troubles I'm having, which will be nonexistent in three days. Hmmm... I'm noticing a theme here. Anything that helps me take my mind of my temporary troubles is good.

There you have it. I highly recommend making your own plan.

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