In many traditional cultures, a woman is considered powerful, sacred, even a force to be feared during her menses (and not just due to her mood swings). Menstruation is traditionally a time of calm and reflection, and some cultures absolve women of many of their duties for those days. In our Western culture, fighting through one’s period and behaving as though nothing is different is seen as a badge of honor. We gulp down Pamprin, go drinking and hit boot camp like nothing is going on in our bodies, and then wonder why we feel like we’re going to die for a few days a month. In our culture, we seldom make adjustments to our diet and lifestyle with respect to this important time in our cycle, and consequently, symptoms of PMS are much more common than in cultures that have traditions of honoring the menstrual cycle. Guess what? Severe cramps, mood swings, fatigue, and other symptoms are not “normal” byproducts of our cycle, and covering them up with drugs is not the answer. If we can learn to listen to our bodies and honor what we need at various times in our cycle, we can learn to live in harmony with our periods, decrease or even eliminate symptoms, and live more mindfully all month long!