5 Tips for Managing Premenstrual Stress at Work

by on Nov 16, 2015

You’ve done the piece of work precisely in accordance with your supervisor’s  instructions, and yet s/he picks holes in it as if it were your fault.

Ordinarily, you’d calmly explain:

“Hey boss, I’ve shaped this based on what we’d discussed yesterday… but I understand what you mean… gimme 20 minutes, I’ll be back with a revised version.”

But sometimes, unlike your usual calm self, you get agitated and feel like snarling:

Mr/Ms. Boss, it was YOU who gave me those ROTTEN instructions. Apparently, you’ve NOT LEARNT ANY LESSONS from your past mistakes. You are WASTING your time and mine. You appointed me for this job because I’M THE EXPERT at it. STOP INTERFERING and let me do my work.

And if you feel that way, you might be… hmm… PMSing.  Of course, you do stop short of actually blurting out all that stuff. But controlling yourself is nothing short of accomplishing a mountainous feat.

Premenstrual stress at work

85% women suffer from PMS symptoms, which include stress and irritability. The exact causes  are not known, but hormonal changes are known to trigger it. And these symptoms do not occur during pregnancy or after menopause. Apparently, from the evolutionary perspective,  the selfish genes want you to continuously reproduce yourself  back-to-back, so that they can survive. They get upset at missed opportunities and manifest their anger as PMS.

It’s unscientific to assume that these symptoms occur only in women. The problem is gender neutral. Since the phenomenon is to do with hormonal fluctuations, it can equally happen to men.

It can be tricky to handle premenstrual stress at work with all sorts of pressures all around you.

It’s hard not to throw tantrums, but you can’t, unless you really have a considerate boss and colleagues who might understand that you might be PMSing and not take your outbursts seriously. But that may not be possible even on the planet called “Utopia”, that’s roughly 10.9 trillion light years away. Whereas we are still working on the planet called “Earth”.

So, here are 5 simple tips for managing yourself at work when you are PMSing.

1. Recognize that it’s not you or the situation around you, but it’s your PMS that is making you feel upset. Putting things in perspective will help you reason.

2. Avoid multi-tasking or even multi-tabbing and just focus on one thing at a time.

3. Rude email and communication can be massive stressors. Turn off notifications and IM tools. Check email at your own time, remain calm and don’t react. Squeeze a smiley ball and deal with the issues later on.

4. Say no to coffee (and to alcohol and smoking) during PMS times as these can aggravate the condition. Have tea instead, as it helps alleviate stress.

5. Do deep breathing and meditation for a minute or two every now and then.

Likewise, be compassionate if you notice your colleagues showing PMS symptoms. They are stressed, not you. So use some prudence and handle things tactfully. A little later, you could be in their shoes and they could be in yours.

Obviously, for the naughty boys and girls looking for opportunities to spread mischief, all that they need to do to serve their narrow interests is further pressurize and provoke PMSing colleagues who are already distressed.

It is interesting to note that millennials are more sensitive to premenstrual stress issues and more open about acknowledging, discussing and resolving them.

I didn’t find any research or data around that, but came across anecdotal evidence among friends and circles.

Millennials even pull one-another’s leg (irrespective of gender) and ask, “Hey, are you PMSing?” when they see a friend or a colleague blowing up.

I was talking to a bunch of young millennials the other day, and they were telling me that they actually issue a PMS alert to caution those around them that they are not to be messed with until further notice.

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