Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wellness Wednesday's: Finding Emotional Wellness

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS it was very overwhelming.  My doctor gave me a handful of papers to read up on and instructed me to lose weight, work out regularly and change to a low-carb diet.  That was all I had to begin my journey with managing PCOS.  What I didn’t know was how stress, anxiety and depression are all directly correlated with PCOS as a symptom, but also as a trigger to worsen our other PCOS symptoms.

I first learned of the importance of mental and emotional wellness while reading a white paper on PCOS in Australia (Link:  Their government recognizes PCOS as a modern epidemic and has been doing studies to come up with a guideline for treatment to give to those who are diagnosed.  They mention that a doctor, nutritionist as well as a counselor should all work as a team to help their patient thrive.

Reading about this forced me to start looking at my life and how stress has increased over the years, my reaction to stress has worsened my symptoms and made it harder to manage my PCOS.  I didn’t do anything for ME to release stress from work and family life, so it would just build up over time.   

Can you relate to this?  Think about all the stress you hang onto when you are at work, staying at home with the kids, dealing with health issues and family issues.  Do you do anything to release that stress?  Has your health been hampered by stress?  Imagine what you would feel like if you could remove one or two of those worries from your shoulders.  You would feel lighter and better capable of dealing with other issues life throws at you.

Below are 7 stress-relievers you can try to help relieve stress in your life.  I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try some of them out to see what might work for you.  You just might find a new passion and a new way to feel better!

1.     Read a Book
I am a reader, so this comes naturally to me, but I recognize this isn't so for everyone.  I find that escaping in a good novel helps to push out the worries of life and allows me to live in another world for a while.  Others find that escaping in a Biogrophy or magazine does the same thing for them.  I encourage you to borrow a book from a friend, or go pick one up at the bookstore and try using it as a way to unwind at the end of your day.  A great placec to get used books cheap (and to trade your read books) is It’s free and they’ll give you 2 credits when you sign up (that’s 2 free books!).

2.     Journal
So, you’re probably thinking of the diary you had when you were 12 and wondering why keeping a journal as a “mature adult” could help anything.  Well, journaling forces you to sit down (instead of running around the house doing chores) and think about what’s going on in your life.  I’ve found that it slows down my thoughts, and putting pen to paper allows me the chance to think through life’s dramas, decisions, feelings, etc.  When I am overwhelmed, taking even 15 short minutes to sit down and write about what I’m feeling can help immensely to recharge my mood and help clear the fog to see decisions and circumstances clearly.  Make it fun.  Pick out a cute journal that reflects your style and personality.  Write about anything that comes to mind. Doodle. Be a poet…anything that will help your mind to slow down and allow you to focus on yourself. 

Another option if you’re not too keen on keeping a paper journal- you can start a blog (blogger is a free one) and make it private if you prefer to keep prying eyes away. 

3.     Meditate/Pray
As I’ve mentioned above a few times, it’s important to have time to yourself where you can reflect on your life, feelings, thoughts, or just push the world out of your head for a while.  Meditation or prayer can help to center your thoughts and calm your mind.  Try going to a quiet corner of your house- your bedroom, bathroom, or even a closet.  Sit comfortably; close your eyes and work on pushing thoughts out of your head.  If you’re religious you can focus on God- give your worries to Him and thank Him for what you have. If you’re not religious, you can recite a mantra. Try positive things like - “I’m beautiful”, “I am a courageous woman”, “I am free from anger/sadness”.  I encourage you to also practice breathing exercises to release any tenseness and help clear a foggy or distracted mind.

4.     Take a bath
This may sound like an obvious way to destress, but how many of us actually make a practice of taking a nice relaxing bath?  I like to throw in bubble bath and some calming aromatherapy oils, usually lavender to help clear my mind and release tension in my muscles. Maybe even light some candles and read a book. Next time you go to the store, splurge a little and get some delicious smelling bath goodies. Taking time for yourself is important- so pamper away!

5.     Exercise
I find it difficult to keep on an exercise routine, but when I’m on one I am always reminded how amazing I feel throughout the day.  I’m actually alert and energetic, perform better at work and am able to better manage any stress that gets thrown my way.  Not only that, but the endorphins released during exercise actually help you combat depression. Also,
keeping the weight off our middles really helps keep our PCOS bodies balanced and our cycles regular. 

If you have a hard time sticking to a workout schedule, I encourage you to pull out your calendar and block out an hour 3 – 4 times a week.  Try to recruit a friend or your spouse to work out with you so that you have accountability and encouragement. 

Another idea- try doing the Couch to 5K program (  It trains you gradually over several weeks to be able to run a 5k.  Sign up for a 5K in your area (like PowerUp’s 5k in September) so that you have a goal to work towards.

6.     Be creative
For some of us, being creative is much easier said than done.  There are many ways to be creative- painting, scrapbooking, card making, wood working, photography, sewing, singing/music, knitting/crocheting, cake decorating, party planning….you get the idea.  Take a few hours a few times a month to create something.  Work on a fun project and put your heart into it.  A great site to gain inspiration is Pinterest.

Another fun idea is to host a Pinterest Party.  Have a bunch of friends choose one or two things they want to make from Pinterest (a food item, a beverage, and /or a craft) and they can bring the supplies for those things.  Now everyone can share the food and beverages, and craft together on projects they already wanted to do from their Pinterest boards! 

7.     Talk to someone
We all know that life can quickly and easily become overwhelming. It’s important to have someone you can go to regularly and talk things out with.  If you don’t have a close friend you feel comfortable talking with, consider seeing a counselor or a pastor at your church (many churches offer free pastoral care) every few weeks. You’ll be surprised at how much it helps to release what you have been worrying about, to hear a different perspective on an issue that has been weighing on you as well as gain encouragement when you need it most.  I also encourage you to attend a near-by Power Up group each month.  Building relationships with ladies that are going through much of what you are can help you in ways you never knew.  You may even gain a new friend or two!

Written by: Crystal Warren, Representative for Power Up for PCOS which provides support to women with PCOS through educational Power Up Groups, building connections with other PCOS women, calendar of upcoming PCOS events, professional referrals and reviews, PCOS store, and other specialized events to raise money for PCOS research.  To find our more, visit, email or by calling 810-545-PCOS (7267)

Power Up for PCOS - emPowering Women to Manage PCOS

*Please note that I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give out any medical advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.* 


  1. Excellent! This comes after I just underwent IVF to try and have a family. My PCOS seems to be the only reason that I am unable to get pregnant with the steps leading up to this. As I lay there bloated and uncomfortable from a high level of extrogen, I realized it was somewhat similar to what I felt the summer I was graduating college, doing and internship, making a graphic design portfolio, on top of planning a wedding for the end of that summer. I was having cramps more than just with my period (probably about mid cycle, so ovulation time) and bloating really bad some days. I thought it was realated to the foods I was eating or just stress. Years down the road I went to the DR and they thought it was the weight gain (very sudden and unexplained) that gave me tummy troubles almost every night. THEN a few years later we couldn't get pregnant and started getting help. One DR appointment in and all the symptoms lined up, acne, weight gain, extra hair growth....etc.
    Now I am at a point where I really want to treat the PCOS and not just for pregnancy reason, but for me, my future, my husband and hopefully children.

  2. Amy- Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your experience. All of us have such unique stories and it's always encouraging to know that others are going through similar trials. It's also great to hear someone else who is striving to get healthier for more reasons than one. I wish you the best on your journey and blessings on the future of your growing family.