Selbstliebe, schlechte Laune und Depression vor Periode

About nasty Haralds and self-love

By Susan Reznik (text) & Silja Elsener (illustration)

There are days when I actually think I'm pretty okay the way I am. But there are also days when I really find myself just terrible in all respects. Especially the days before my period.

Not that I wouldn't otherwise be an absolute expert at it, yes, sometimes I'm a real master of self-hatred. But mostly this condition accumulates the week before my period. Then this feeling sometimes intensifies to the max. Most of the time, the feeling is divided into 'too little': not enough beautiful, not talented enough, not likeable enough, not enough good friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter, not enough good person. Or in 'too much': too much for others, taking up too much space, too much weight, not being able to do too much, too many construction sites. After that I get my period and that feeling settles back into an “actually I'm pretty okay” state.


Rollercoaster of hormones

While these moments always feel like I'm the only person in the world who feels this way before their period, many menstruating people go through these conditions before their period. This state of self-loathing is inflicted on us by a rollercoaster of hormones in the time leading up to our next menstrual period. This can be explained scientifically as follows: While the hormone estrogen ensures peak form before ovulation, the estrogen level drops in the second half of the cycle and the hormone progesterone rises. The fact that we have to struggle with depressive moods before our period, in some cases even up to two weeks before the onset of menstruation, has something to do with neurotransmitters in our brain that are out of balance. Why some menstruators react so much more sensitively than others has not yet been researched.

Sure, it doesn't sound particularly romantic and spiritually enriching right now to reflect on the fact that we humans, in addition to all our being, are "only" a biological cell cluster with many complex processes that are influenced, among other things, by the release and absence of certain hormones will. But sometimes this thought can also help when nothing seems to be going right and we fill our own existence to the core with mean claims and thoughts about ourselves.


Radical Self Care

So what helps against these feelings? Radical Self Care. “Oh, good old self-love. If it were that easy,” you might be thinking right now. Yes, I know it sounds like a truism and unfortunately, based on my own experience, it is more difficult to implement than I thought. Pimples, water retention and any bloating make us feel like an immobile potato, our breasts hurt and then there is the hormonal roller coaster. Pretty nasty that all these symptoms after the second half of the cycle make self-care and self-love even more difficult for us.

Personally, I find it helpful, in moments like this, when I fall into this maelstrom and seem to drown in the whirlpool of negative thoughts, to realize that although I can and should trust my intuition, I often don't have to trust my thoughts. Because in fact you certainly have a lot of beautiful, creative, enriching and important thoughts in your head. But also those who lie to you pretty nasty and enjoy humiliating you.


My Harold

Think of these mean, hardened, prickly beliefs and thoughts as tiny, toxic slime-soaked, hideous, barbed monsters. Everyone should imagine the color and shape themselves. It's best if we give them a name. Mine is called Harold. (Sorry to all the Haralds who found themselves on this blog. I'm sure you're very kind and sweet.) In any case, this Harald is a fat liar! He is a liar, darling! Harald wants you to be mean to yourself. Because Harald feeds on your insecurities and the more you listen to Harald, the bigger he gets and the more Harald babies he gives birth to (yes, Harald can reproduce himself). Of course, they find even more of your insecurities and whisper even more meanness in your ear.

So how do we deal with this Harald and his babies? By ignoring them? Goes very bad. They're stubborn, with their barbs. Maybe by hearing them but trying not to believe them? This is often difficult for us too. What helps us personally best against our Haralds during these days:

  • Doing yoga with Adriene

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing

  • Fumigating our room with sandalwood
    The balsamic scent cleans the air and not only drives away all evil from our room, but also all evil thoughts from our heads.

  • Go jogging with the Nike+ Run Club App x Headspace

  • Turn on your favorite music and dance around the room in your underwear.
    Gives us a free feeling and releases endorphins. It works. For real!

  • Drink tea and take quiet time for ourselves

  • Write our thoughts out of your head
    A good trick: without thinking, just write down on paper or on the computer whatever is going through your head. Then burn or extinguish again and thereby create a bit of air in the head and drive away a few Haralds at the same time.

  • Work out with martial arts
    In this way we release pent-up frustrations and tensions and recharge our batteries.

  • Doing a moving meditation with Gabrielle Roth

  • Go for long walks
    We take the time to clear our heads and get moving. We prefer to walk through the forest, listen to the birds whistling and breathe in the fresh forest air.

  • Eating ice cream until you drop , preferably this one from Alnatura

  • Meet favorite people
    This is how we distract ourselves from our negative spiral and realize that we are liked, even if we can hardly stand ourselves right now.

  • Deep relaxation thanks to Yoga Nidra

  • Buying flowers for ourselves and enjoying the sight of them.

  • Cuddle a cat

  • Follow the desire
    We treat ourselves to whatever we feel like - whether it's food, a hot bath or just an evening in bed. It's good not to limit ourselves. Because we know that we have special needs these days and they are allowed to be.

  • Apply lipstick

  • Read the book we've wanted to read for a long time, watch an entertaining series or pick out an exciting audio book and cuddle up comfortably in bed.

  • Masturbation for an extra portion of self-love , preferably with our orgasm oil for extra feelings

  • Make cycle knowledge aware
    It helps us a lot to be aware of what is happening in our body. This allows us to classify and understand the circumstances much better and we no longer judge ourselves for it. We are allowed to be tired and withdraw. It's okay that we don't like ourselves and our bodies right now - we know this is just a phase and it will pass.

Before our period, let's try not to be even meaner to ourselves, but give ourselves a really nice hug and whisper, "You're pretty okay. Actually pretty good the way you are. Just the way you are. You wonderful person."


(The links are our personal recommendations and do not imply any paid partnerships.)

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