Now that we have taken the time to discuss the impact of Saturn return throughout our 20's and early 30's, it's time to shed light on what could possibly occur as your hormones and menstrual period alternates. A lot of us women are suffering with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which, according to WomensHealth.gov, is "a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts."
Trust, I know from my own personal experience that these times can be challenging. The pain and tears that you feel go far beyond getting emotional while you're watching a drama series on Netflix. During the PMDD phase, you may feel like you're the only one but keep in mind that you aren't alone. Here are a few natural ways to alleviate PMDD and improve your symptoms.
1.Prepare for Your Period
Experiencing anxiety and crying hysterically just days before your period can be very tough. The last thing that you want to do in the midst of anxiety is rush and get prepared for your period once it arrives. The best way to stay in control of PMDD is to think ahead and be prepared. The first step would be to make your life easier by using a period tracker or downloading a period app that best suits you.
For example, the Flo App not only tracks your period, it explains your bodily functions before, during, and after your period. There are also surveys and articles that you can utilize to help you better understand your menstrual cycle. The anxiety and depression that you may feel before your period can catch you by surprise, so be proactive and go shopping to grab all of your pads, tampons, snacks, and aspirin before your cycle begins.
2.Eating Healthy Foods
During your menstrual cycle, a major way to combat PMDD is to eat healthy food before and during your cycle. Try not to let your cravings get the best of you. Avoid salty foods, spicy foods, red meat, coffee, sugar, and alcohol. Focus on high energy foods such as fruit, green vegetables, chicken, fish, beans, and nuts. If you would like something sweet to eat, treat yourself to dark chocolate or your favorite yogurt. PMDD can be exhausting and draining, so you want to watch your intake of unhealthy foods. Boost your energy with healthy foods and so that you can feel better about yourself.
3.Focus on Breathing
When PMDD hits you, things can get real. At times you can feel the frustration and anxiety approaching and at other times, it comes and goes sporadically. Whenever the tears start rolling uncontrollably, stop everything, have a seat, and focus on breathing. By focusing on breathing, you will lower your anxiety, release toxins, and calm your mind. Don't rush the process. Allow yourself to breathe and remember that it's not you, it's your emotions running through you.
4.Nature Meditation Music
You can fight through PMDD through music. Relax and calm your mind overnight or during your weekend by sleeping to meditation music. Nature sounds or sleep meditation helps to reduce stress, fall asleep faster, and sleep more deeply. Take your dreams to another place and ease your mind.
5.Spend More Time With Loved Ones
PMDD causes high mood swings, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness. It is very easy to get overwhelmed with your emotions and feel that you aren't deserving of love and support. You may feel as though you would rather be alone but in actuality, this is the time that you need to surround yourself by loved ones. Plan an outing or set aside time to spend with your family and friends. Try to be around the people that bring you joy and laughter. It is hard in the beginning but as time progresses, you won't regret it.
6.Talk About It
The hardest thing to do as you're going through PMDD is to discuss it, especially at a time when you don't fully understand your irritability. In order to open up about PMDD with others, you must first own it and be shameless. I'll never forget when I first started sharing my symptoms with my friends and feeling so embarrassed about it. Later, I came to find out they were also experiencing PMDD and had never discussed it.
Educate yourself and educate others about PMDD. People will get a chance to know you better and learn how to assist you with navigating through your anxiety. The people around you deserve to know, especially if you have a significant other or have a roommate. It's not easy but you can get through it together as a unit.
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Featured image by Shutterstock.
- PMS and PMDD | Cleveland Clinic ›
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Different from PMS? - Mayo Clinic ›
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder “PMDD” - National University of ... ›
- PMS & PMDD ›
- 8 Natural Ways to Treat PMS and PMDD ›
- PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Symptoms and Treatment ›
- 18 Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) Symptoms & Remedies ›
- 12 PMDD natural treatment options ›
- Treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder - Harvard Health ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The face of tennis is changing, and it’s about time. Over the years, if you were asked to name any Black tennis player, two would come to mind: Serena and Venus Williams — and rightfully so. But as new tennis sensations like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka rise to fame for their athleticism and tenacity, it’s clear that there’s a new era of tennis taking shape to bring forth a fresh take on representation and reclamation on the courts.
For that reason alone, there’s no better time than now for Black Girl Tennis Club co-founders Virginia Thornton and Kimberly Selden to lead the charge of making tennis more accessible to Black women and girls so the next Serena and Coco can emerge.
What began as your everyday lunch chat between friends to discuss their mutual dream of owning a boutique hotel turned into a proposition to start a tennis club together. With Virginia being a tennis player since adolescence and Kimberly entering the sport as a hobby in her adult life, the two jumped at the idea of making a space where Black women could discover a new hobby and not feel like the “only one” on the tennis court.
“The club kind of started for selfish reasons, but not in a bad way,” Virginia tells xoNecole. “We realized that there was actually a need for this.”
Kimberly adds, “Now we're literally disrupting a whole industry. We didn't plan it, but it felt divine; like we were called to do this. Black Girls Tennis Club has been a catalyst for personal growth in all areas of life, and we would have never anticipated that.”
Since establishing the Black Girl Tennis Club in 2022, the two have made it their mission to cultivate a space for “Joy Equity and Radical Wellness.” Their platform serves as a means to inform, inspire, motivate, and reshape the narrative around Black women and girls in the tennis world while highlighting the transformative power of sports and play for liberation.
With approximately 78% of tennis players being white and only 6.8% being Black, and the average cost of a private tennis lesson being $60 per hour, racial and economic disparities within the sport are vast. To help close this gap, the two founders have banded together to develop free tennis instruction clinics for girls aged 8-18 and local tennis events that bring adult offerings through programs like the Self Love Tennis Club and Cardio Tennis Classes to HBCU campuses in Virginia.
Both Virginia and Kimberly understand the power of their mission and believe that they were brought on each other’s path to execute it together. “It’s the power of alignment,” Kimberly says. “I think when you're doing the right thing and you're obedient, and answer the call, that’s when things start to happen, and the universe conspires to make them happen.”
We caught up with the founders to discuss their mission, the importance of representation, and how they plan to disrupt the tennis industry one court at a time.
xoNecole: Could you talk a little more about your CARE pillars with change, access, representation and exposure?
Kimberly Selden: As we started to do the work, we saw that there were so many equity issues. Although we knew from our own personal experiences that there are barriers to tennis being an expensive sport, we just acknowledged it as the culture of tennis. Because it's predominantly white, that transfers over to the fashion, the dynamics on the court, the attitudes, and the mindset. And so we knew this required a culture shift for us to ever really feel comfortable.
We were exposing kids to tennis, and then after the clinics, they're like, "Okay, now what?" It's still expensive, and they still may or may not have had access to it if they're not with us. We don't want to just pop in like, "Hey, here's a clinic, bye!" So, the culture change is just a reflection of what our existence looks like. Access is about being able to access the sport through courts, programs, or a coach. Representation is that we can't believe it until we see it.
Granted, there are a lot of pro Black women tennis players taking off, and we love that. But we think about media representation as well [as] representation within the USCA, in the boardrooms, and the people that are making the rules around the game.
xoN: Why do you all think it’s important for Black women and girls to reclaim their space on the tennis court?
Virginia Thornton: It's rare, at least in my world, where you're in a space and see nothing but women who look like you. But it makes me feel great when I can be my authentic self, especially on a tennis court. Just shedding all the weight of pretending to be anything else. You feel at home when you're around nothing but Black women. Even small things like seeing a young Black girl being okay with how God made them is amazing.
KS: [In] the Atlanta clinics we did, everyone was crying. It's just clear how desperately we need it. Connection is the key to a long life. So many of us — especially from the pandemic and working from home — are isolated. With every clinic, it's just fun to be there, and it just fills you up. I think people need hobbies. I think a lot of people, especially people in big cities, feel that way and were confronted with that during the pandemic.
xoN: How did sports play a role in helping you two find your voice and confidence both on and off the court?
VT: I think what people don't realize is that tennis is such a mental sport. You could be a 4.0 player and have a bad mental day, and you will play like you've never picked up a racquet before. So, the mental piece is super important. For me, it's like ‘you against you,’ even though you are playing somebody.
If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court. I had an issue on the court where I have a habit of saying, "Sorry," — I think a lot of Black women do, honestly. Then I realized that they wouldn't say sorry or they’d use my kindness as weakness. I've learned a lesson in that because everything translates on and off the court.
"If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court."
KS: It's easy for me to do things that I'm good at, but it's not easy for me to do things that I'm not good at. Tennis is still challenging for me, but it pushes me. It’s a reality check for me; I know when things are aligned, and when they're not. It feels like a big metaphor for me because it's pushing me to do something that's uncomfortable and makes me work for myself more.
xoN: What do you hope the long-term impact of Black Girl Tennis Club will be?
VS: We want to have a space for people who might be workaholics or might be going through depression. It's always great to have a hobby, whether that's knitting, sewing, or what have you. For me and Kimberly, it’s about creating hobbies for Black women and girls but also knowing that it’s okay to not be amazing at it. You don't have to be amazing at tennis; you could hit around the court, and that's okay.
The next Serena or Venus might come from Black Girls Tennis Club.
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