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10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

Around 40 percent of women go through crippling cramps that put a break on normal functionality during their menstrual cycle.The culprit is usually increased production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that can cause intense uterine contractions. For many women, cramps and bloating are the most uncomfortable parts of a menstrual period.

Make these 10 simple lifestyle changes around that time of the month to relieve menstrual pain and have a smooth, cramp-free period.

1. Pop a calcium, vitamin D and magnesium supplement

This helps curb PMS. Calcium along with vitamin D also relaxes your muscles. During the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle, magnesium levels drop, which can contribute to water retention, cramping, headaches, and an oversensitive nervous system. Getting 320 milligrams (mg) of the mineral a day could help counter these problems.

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2. Yoga

Try this yoga pose. A couple days before the onset of your period, do the bow pose once in a day. The body’s pressure on the abdomen positively stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction, which helps to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort. Bow Pose also helps to relieve fatigue, stress, and anxiety. However, avoid this one if you have a hernia, high blood pressure or have had surgery.

3. Walking

Light aerobic exercise also helps to decrease the severity of cramps and increases your endorphin levels. Endorphins help the body cope with depression and physical pain.

4. Sleep it off

Sleeping will numb your pain and relax your body.

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5. Use a heating pad

Applying heat to your abdomen reduces muscular spasms and provides relief.

6. Take a hot shower

Taking a hot shower soothes away the pain. Also wash the genital area well with mild soap a day before your period starts even if you normally don’t douche.

7. Eat these foods

Eating calcium-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt, along with potassium-rich banana just before and at the onset of your cycle will reduce the severity of cramps and food cravings. Banana also contains serotonin, which reduces moodiness and overeating. Salmon or a handful of almonds that contain omega-3 fatty acids also provide much needed relief from cramps and food cravings.Opt for easily digestible greens that are a rich source of calcium and iron. Chicken also provides the iron that gets depleted during this period. Avoid salty foods as they cause bloating that can lead to cramps. Eliminate foods that are baked or fried.

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8. Herbs

During menstruation, the body releases the inflammatory kind of prostaglandins. Evening primrose oil contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). By interfering with the production of these prostaglandins, the GLA in evening primrose oil may help alleviate menstrual cramps. Low levels of GLA in some women during menstruation cause PMS and breast pains. Avoid if you are taking other medication, however. Other herbs like black cohosh, ginger, and sesame seeds have also proved helpful.

9. Avoid caffeine and stay hydrated

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. These stimulants will encourage your muscles to contract and cause pain. Drink warm water, coconut water or pineapple juice. Warm water is usually better for cramps, as hot liquids increase blood flow to the skin and may relax cramped muscles. Calcium-rich coconut water relieves spasms, brings relief to stomach disorders like flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting, and prevents water retention. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme that also beats bloat.

10. Get Intimate

Sex relieves menstrual cramps. Orgasm causes a surge in the calming hormone oxytocin (a natural chemical in the body that surges before and during climax) and feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, that may ease PMS.

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Of all the above, yoga is by far the most effective, followed by consuming yogurt with banana, and staying hydrated. You will be amazed at how normal your body feels. For mild cramps a heating pad is just as effective. Try what works for you and stay comfortable.

Featured photo credit: Natural ways to soothe your monthly painful cramps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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