This month, take some time to prioritize you.
September is PCOS Awareness Month, a national event to support the millions of women in the United States who live with PCOS. Across the country, organizations and individuals raise money for research, host fundraising events, and share resources.
While shedding light on a condition that impacts so many is undeniably important, if you live with PCOS it can feel overwhelming or stressful to get involved with PCOS-related events. With the increase in messaging around PCOS this month, it’s key to remember that there is no pressure on you to get involved, spread awareness, or raise money. At the end of the day, PCOS Awareness Month is about honoring and supporting the people who live with PCOS every month and every day of the year.
This PCOS Awareness Month, what would it look like to spend a little time focusing on YOU?
What do you need this month? Whether you choose to participate is completely up to you. If you are looking for ways to honor you, and your body, this month here are a couple ideas to get you started.
Connect with others who understand what you’re going through
Navigating a chronic health condition like PCOS can feel isolating. It can be hard to describe how you are feeling or what you are going through to even your closest friends and family members.
The truth is, there are millions of people going through similar experiences to you. Connecting with people who really get it can make managing your symptoms or navigating the impacts of PCOS just a bit less lonely.
The National PCOS Association hosts a PCOS Challenge Support Network consisting of over 55,000 women living with PCOS. This social network is free to join and a great way to get resources and connect with others.
There are many women living with PCOS in the Oova community as well. If you are an Oova user you have access to our private Facebook community. This month, we will be hosting conversations and sharing resources about PCOS exclusively for our community members. Join the conversation and introduce yourself to a supportive group that understands what you are going through.
Make time for self-care
PCOS Awareness Month aside, September can be a busy month across the board. In the bustle of back-to-school or back-to-work, it is all the more important to make time for yourself.
You may feel like you are always looking out for the needs of others, whether that means family members, friends, kids, or colleagues. Sometimes taking “me time” can feel uncomfortable, it can even lead to feelings of guilt or make us feel like we are “not doing enough.” However, the truth of the matter is, if we don’t make time for ourselves we won’t be able to look out for everyone else.
Self-care will look different for everyone. Try to take a few minutes to think about, or write down, what you need this month. It can help to actually create an inventory or checklist. Then commit to a self-care goal that feels doable.
Maybe this only means committing 5 minutes a day to sitting in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing.
Maybe this means allocating an hour a week to organizing (your home, your finances, your thoughts, your to-do list!). Maybe this means signing up for an exercise class you have been putting off.
It could even mean setting a reminder on your phone to grab a glass of water each morning. Whatever you feel you need this month to re-energize, re-fresh, or relax, take it. You deserve it.
Bonus points: once you set a self-care goal for this month, tell someone about it! Sharing our goals can help us commit to them and hold us accountable. Remember, as much as you want to be there for the people you love, they want to be there for you.
Revamp your meal plan
Many people living with PCOS find that diet and nutrition changes have a significant impact on their condition management.
One study found that the anti-inflammatory diet may have reproductive health benefits for women with obesity who live with PCOS. After 3 months of following an anti-inflammatory diet, 63% of participants returned to having regular menstrual cycles. Additionally, 12% of participants became pregnant during the span of the study.
Overhauling your daily meal plan overnight to follow a specific diet isn’t necessarily the most productive, or effective, way to eat healthier. Instead, try starting small. Even tiny changes can become healthy habits that have sustainable impacts, especially when it comes to nutrition.
There are countless nutritionists and dietitians sharing resources on social media about eating well with PCOS. The internet is full of delicious PCOS-friendly recipes, this month how about adding a few to your weekly cooking rotation? Maybe you’ll find a new go-to dish!
Stay tuned this month as we share some of our favorite recipes, meal hacks, and nutrition tips.
Start a journal
Navigating the day-to-day with PCOS can feel overwhelming. A symptom journal can help make PCOS management feel less daunting. If you do try a new diet, taking note of the changes you make and how they make you feel can help you decipher whether it is helping or not.
Symptom tracking can also help you gain a better understanding of your cycle. If you use Oova to monitor your cycles, you can even add these notes to your Daily Log, directly in the app!
Beyond helping you keep track of your PCOS symptoms, journaling can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Research suggests that journaling about your thoughts and feelings can relieve stress and help you process emotions. Other studies have shown that journaling may even help lower blood pressure and lead to fewer doctor visits.
Listen to your body
The most important thing to remember, this month and every month, is that you know your body best. When you live with a chronic condition like PCOS, it can feel challenging to understand what is going on inside your body but at the end of the day, you are your own best advocate.
It can take time to learn about the unique impact PCOS has on your body and finding a treatment plan that works for you. With some trial and error, and a bit of patience, you will get to a place where you feel capable and empowered when making decisions about your health.
Focusing on your needs, your desires, and your priorities is essential, especially when you like with PCOS.
The first step is to slow down, tune out the outside noise, and start to listen to the voice in your head.
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