In addition to cramps, the menstrual cycle can bring about emotional upset for some women.  What was already bothering a woman at a lower but still noticeable level throughout the month may bother her more near her period.  One of those emotionally upsetting feelings could be grief.


Grief hurts on many occasions, including anniversaries, birthdays, certain dates or months that bring memories (good and bad).  It can hurt further on the menstrual cycle.  It can hurt further when you are having maybe a week with more down time because your mind has more ‘free space’ inside, and the grief gates flood through that space that was supposed to feel ‘freeing,’ but it doesn’t.  It can hurt further when you are trying to be open to new adventures, but your body wants to use that inner opening to flood out grief instead.  It can hurt and linger further when you already struggle mentally in other ways, because it may just compound on those struggles.  Grief can feel like you can hardly ever fully relax.  Grief can feel unfair.


So to those who have experienced menstrual cycle related increased grief, mental downtime occupied by grief, anniversary anxiety that prompts grief, openings that you would have hoped would be pleasant but are instead flooded with grief, and other mental struggles, ALL at the same time, to you I say…go ahead and cry, and cry again.  Sometimes crying keeps you from holding so much in that you feel like you’re going crazy.


In addition to crying, go work out or do calming exercises like yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong; get better sleep, avoid eating things that you have noticed inflame you or aggravate your emotions, support your liver (a major organ for emotional and hormonal well-being), and try to surround yourself with people who will make you smile or laugh, if it helps. If you like heat, consider sitting outside in the sun, for hours if you have to, until things get better.  Don’t mind the sweat, just stay hydrated, and put on some sunscreen.  The sun, the outdoor air, and the rest of nature are alive, engaging, and soothing in ways that inside are not.  Inside has its perks too, but a mix of inside and outside may be what helps better.


Supplemental ways to support your emotional health at this time:

  • Liver supporting herbs, in capsule, powder or liquid forms – ex. dandelion, chicory, milk thistle. I personally like drinking them in tea form if I need more immediate emotional rest.  The bitter taste of some liver supporting herbs can sometimes change how you feel a bit more quickly.
  • If things have been getting worse over time with your menstrual cycle related emotions, it may be time for you to consider working with a Naturopathic doctor. You probably do not have to suffer as much as you are right now.  Certain NDs have a focus on hormonal health and can help balance out your hormones, leading to more emotional stability.  Certain NDs also have a focus on homeopathy and can suggest a homeopathic remedy to help balance out your emotions and your mindsets, making them more manageable.
  • Flower essences to consider:
    • Honeysuckle – letting go of the past and regret
    • White chestnut – reduce thinking the same things over and over again
    • Pine – reduce self blame and shame
    • Star of Bethlehem – for shock, even if it’s shock that happened further in the past
  • Check your iron levels. The period is a time of loosing blood and thus losing iron.  Supplementing with iron may help you perk back up with more energy.  Sometimes when you have more energy, you can also have more emotional stability.


Consider seeking out a grief-based therapist as well, and lean on the types of people, groups, or events that nourish you at this time (ex. perhaps a women’s group).  If you feel like all the emotional upset is changing you for the worse, do consider getting some help.  Perhaps also listen to calming instrumental music, or whatever music puts you in a better state.


To say ‘it will pass’ sometimes doesn’t feel like it helps when grief just started, is intense, lingers for a long time, or it increases after a time period of you thinking you were getting better.  But still notice if there has been a trend of ‘getting better’ that may have occurred overtime.  Look at where you were when it first began, and compare to where you are now.  Even if it’s a centimeter better, that’s perhaps something to feel like you can slightly rest your mind on.