this may well need a girl answer, but i’d been thinking of asking about it for a while now. as a woman, i have a week once a month where i know that i feel crappy because (and sometimes really only because) of my hormones. i don’t think that’s biologically reductionist – somedays, i have nothing to be ungrateful or grouchy about and i just can’t shift it, no matter how much i pray. the basic question here is how does a christian woman deal with pms? which is a pretty weird question…urm, apols.
This question is pretty well outside of my area of expertise. So, instead of just guessing, I enlisted some help. Hallie Brewer is an awesome woman of God, a front line missionary, and all around awesome person. She is also Jed Brewer’s wife. She took this one. -Matt
First of all, I’m really sorry that’s going on. I’m intimately familiar with that particular affliction – and it straight-up sucks. There’s no way around that part.
What I can tell you is that you’re absolutely right about the fact that sometimes, our hormones really do get us all out of whack. You can [intellectually] look around and say that everything is going fine, and your life has not drastically changed in the last 24 hours since you started feeling poorly. But the emotions and weird head-space that can be a product of these hormonal shifts don’t respond to logical reasoning, despite our best efforts.
So all that being said, here are a few ways that I deal with PMS and all the uncomfortable elements that go along with that time of the month.
Chocolate. Without judgment. Whatever your go-to comfort food is, whether it’s delicious cocoa-based sweets, or fruit smoothies, or French onion potato chips … a little bit of a snack that just makes you happy can actually help take the edge off. But you have to make an agreement with yourself that this chocolate bar is both appropriate and … dare I say … medicinal. Which means you do not beat yourself up for having it!
Ibuprofen (or whichever version of OTC relief works best for you). Because we have a God who loves us, has created medicinal advances that allow us to ease discomfort, and who is not looking for us to be hurting for no reason.
This third one is going to look different for everyone, but I’ve found it actually makes a huge difference in really shifting a gear on the emotions/grouchiness for me.
Get involved in something, even for an hour or two, that is about someone else.
For me, even on my worst PMS day, if I call up one of the ladies I’m working with in the inner city and tell her I’m treating her to a yummy frozen coffee and we’re going to have some girl time – I’ll find that not even half an hour into our conversation, I’ve forgotten all about how I was feeling, because we’re talking about her and how we are going to get through this next challenge in her life.
Or I will sit down and write a note to a friend who I know is going through a rough time, with the sole purpose of encouraging them, and make sure I get it in the mail the same day. Or I will go to the Bridge, where the entire service we put on is about helping people at the bottom of life move forward in their walk with God and make incredible changes in their lives – and I find that every time, I forget all about my grouchiness for awhile. I think God designed serving people that way on purpose.
But here’s an important part about this whole deal. It’s okay to have days where you just feel crummy. Even women of God have days where they’re just not Suzy Sunshine! There are two things we have to be aware of during this time of the month: 1) we need to make sure we aren’t taking how we’re feeling out on other people – and 2) we have to remember that how we’re feeling today isn’t some omen of some major issue in our life or some unexamined deep-dark-problem.
I know a lot of women who view PMS as a get-out-of-jail-free card to treat people badly. I also know a lot of Christian women who let their hormones run herd over them and convince themselves that their hormone shifts indicate some spiritual failure. Real women of God just don’t roll that way. We recognize that God designed us, hormones and all, and He understands that there are days we feel how we feel – it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, to not be able to will it away – it just means you are a woman! And you’re not on your own, darlin.