Have you just been diagnosed with PCOS? Or maybe you've known for awhile, but you aren't sure where to start. Finding out you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be scary and confusing. You're left with a list of health risks and symptoms, suggestions for medications, and no idea what to do. I've been there!
In this 5-part series, we will discuss the very first step in healing PCOS naturally. It's probably not what you think! Are you ready to start feeling empowered about your health?
The first step to healing PCOS is creating the PCOS Healing Mindset. I’ve developed this mindset based on my own experiences and research. This is the stuff I wish someone had talked to me about back when I was 16 and scared out of my mind about my new diagnosis!
Ready to start your healing journey?
Before we dive into the specifics of the PCOS Healing Mindset, we must first look at our current mindset. Get out a journal and a pen, and consider the following questions:
How do you feel about your body today?
How do you feel about your reproductive system?
What fears do you have about PCOS?
When you think about making changes in your lifestyle and diet to begin healing PCOS, how do you feel? Hopeful? Confused? Overwhelmed? Helpless?
What conversational triggers make you worry about something related to PCOS?
Next, let’s envision what it would be like if you were completely healed of PCOS.
Picture yourself completely free of PCOS symptoms. How do you feel about your body?
What do you feel empowered to do that you did not feel empowered to do before?
What actions or changes will you take in each area of your life (career, health, spirituality, sexuality, other) now that you are healed?
Alright, so now that we’ve looked at our current mindsets and envisioned our future healing, let’s talk about the elements of the PCOS Healing Mindset! I’ve broken it down into 5 elements:
We will look at one element in detail in each part of the series.
Element 1: An understanding that PCOS affects many facets of your life and vice versa
Because PCOS is a holistic syndrome, it affects many different parts of your body and life. There are psychological symptoms such as depression. There are physical symptoms affecting your reproductive system, sleep, skin, etc. Therefore, your healing must also be holistic. Treating each symptom as a separate issue is like putting a bunch of band-aids on but never really getting to the root cause.
Let’s take a look at some different areas of your life and how PCOS affects those areas. Grab your journal again (this is going to be a theme)!
How does PCOS affect your health and physical activity? This includes your physical symptoms. For me, a big one was terrible acne. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of painful and embarrassing cystic acne. This also includes your food choices, nutrition, exercise, and weight. Weight is a big issue for a lot of women with PCOS. Do you struggle with insulin resistance? Hirsutism? PCOS affects every woman differently. How does it affect your body?
How does PCOS affect your relationships and social life? Do you feel supported? Do you feel alone? Like no one understands what you’re going through? Are you afraid to talk about PCOS? Is it embarrassing to you? How does it affect your mood, which affects your relationships? Does it make you feel antisocial? Depressed? Are you confident in starting new relationships or do you hold back?
How does PCOS affect your career and creativity? Maybe you use your body and your symptoms as an excuse not to work towards your dream career. Maybe you think, if I lose this weight, if I clear up this acne, if I handle my mood swings, then, I’ll go after what I really want. Then, I’ll create something and put it out into the world.
How does PCOS affect your spirituality? Maybe it’s brought you closer to the Creator that you believe in. Maybe it makes you question why you are the way you are. It’s different for each person, and it is worth exploring.
How does PCOS affect your sexuality? This is a big one that we don’t talk about very often. With effects on your estrogen and testosterone levels, different physical symptoms, body image, your sexuality is affected.
Are there any other effects you notice?
Just like PCOS affects all of these different facets of your life, the actions you take in these areas affect how your PCOS symptoms are expressed. The graphic below shows the holistic nature of PCOS. Maybe you’re not putting yourself out there in relationships because you’re ashamed of your body, but not getting the social connection you need is causing inflammation in your body which worsens PCOS. Did you know that loneliness has been shown to increase inflammation in the body? It’s a two way street!
If you’ve made it this far, I’m so proud of you! You’ve brought your current beliefs to the surface, envisioned the way you want to feel about your body, and have become aware of connections between many areas of your life and PCOS.
Stayed tuned for Part 2 of the series where we will dive into the second element of the PCOS Healing Mindset. If you found this post helpful, please share!