Imposter Syndrome: The Hidden PMS Symptom
Updated: Jan 22, 2022
Sometimes PMS is easy to spot. It’s the breakout on your chin before your period. It’s feeling more bloated, gaining water weight, and feeling painful cramps…. And to be clear: these symptoms are not normal and can be naturally prevented and resolved, BUT… sometimes PMS is a lot sneakier than that. A few months ago, I wrote about the connection between women’s hormones and body dysmorphia, which is another hidden PMS symptom that can flare up during the luteal phase. Other PMS symptoms that I see in a lot of high-achieving women include anxiety and Imposter Syndrome-- especially in their career or relationships. Imposter Syndrome is when you feel like a fraud, like you’re not really that good, or like you don’t belong in a successful or healthy environment. Your inner critic says “they’re going to figure out you’re replaceable” or “anyone could have done what you did-- you’re not doing well enough.” This kind of PMS may never send you to the hospital, but it can definitely send you to therapy (which is an incredible and helpful resource)... The problem is that many women don’t even realize that their emotions and mindset really have to do with an imbalance in their cycle because these symptoms are so covert. We don’t just normalize women feeling bad, insecure, or beating themselves up-- we expect it. It's time to start talking about how this can be a monthly struggle for even the most amazing, hardworking, kind hearted women!
What Is “Normal”?
In a normal, healthy cycle, the week before your period should feel calm. You should not experience pain, whether physical or emotional. Emotional pain can range from full blown depression and anxiety to feeling “prissy and pissy.” When your hormones are optimal, you feel less social and bubbly (which is the way you would feel during ovulation), but you’re not having mood swings and irritability. Instead, you’ll feel chill. You’ll be interested in cultivating a calm environment. It will make you feel good to finish tasks, You’ll actually be reducing your stress instead of feeling the stress and overwhelm piling on.
Track Your Symptoms
Make notes about your mood and energy levels throughout the month. You can use The Cycle Synching Start Up Guide or include it in your daily journal, but it’s important to observe when you have high energy and a great mood vs. when you’re feeling less energy and a lower mood. If you’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome every month 1-2 weeks before your period, a good first step would be taking high pressure tasks off of your plate during that time. You might SHINE while giving a presentation or being in a big group of friends or colleagues earlier in your cycle, but it doesn’t mean you have to force yourself into situations that are currently making you feel like a failure! For many women, there is an increase in stress hormones and a reduction in happy hormones (especially serotonin) before their period. I’m one of these women and I understand how hard, frustrating, and lonely this can feel! Another huge factor is the environment. Your body will often let you know something is out of alignment before you can even fully understand it! Write down the theme of your irritability or self-criticism to see if there’s a pattern.
Support Your Cycle
In order to heal from PMS, I track and support all 4 phases of my cycle. Instead of just slathering on a face mask and hopping in the bathtub once a month for some #selfcare, I play offense for my health and support my hormones all month long. You can’t spot treat your symptoms and expect them to go away. Instead, you have to get to the underlying cause and optimize your lifestyle to balance your hormones. Here are a few things I do to support my cycle all month long:
I work on my gut health! 95% of serotonin is made in your digestive tract and gut health is necessary for metabolizing excess hormones.
I pay attention to what I’m doing when I ovulate. This is a BIG KEY for balancing your hormones! For example: I abstain from alcohol around ovulation.
I schedule certain tasks according to my hormonal cycle and even batch work or delegate according to my cycle. That means I make real progress while consciously choosing to avoid burnout!
Master Your Hormones
Working with a health coach who specializes in what you’re going through can take your health journey to the next level! A doctor looks for and treats medical conditions and a therapist helps treat mental illness and helps clients develop better cognitive and emotional skills, while a health coach works with people on cultivating their lifestyle to support reaching their optimal health goals. It's possible for you to create a team of people who support you in being your healthiest and taking your goals to new heights!
As a High-Performance Women’s Health Coach, I teach ambitious women who are suffering from PMS and burnout how to naturally balance their hormones so that they can do more of what they love and befriend their bodies while doing it. I get into the aspects of hormones that impact how you live, how you work, how you communicate, and how you feel, and I help you connect the dots between what your hormones are doing and exactly what you're experiencing. Seeking support and working with a coach is an amazing way to elevate your health and gain deeper insight what's going on behind-the-scenes with your hormones.
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