When you’re going through fertility treatments, there can be many stressors involved. Emotions and tensions can both run high. It’s not uncommon to feel anger, jealousy, hope, anxiety, isolation, optimism, desperation, or heartbreak throughout the course of a menstrual cycle. It’s even normal to feel all these emotions in a single day.
Because of the wide range of emotions, medications, and procedures involved in fertility treatments, it’s natural to stay focused on the end goal of achieving a pregnancy and carrying it to term. It can be easy to hyperfocus on this desired outcome. Resist the temptation to put your head down and “grin and bear it” through the difficulty. Make time for yourself despite the stress. Self care can involve many aspects of life, and many items on this list may not resonate with you. Don’t let taking care of yourself become just one more thing on your to-do list. Pick out a few of these suggestions to try implementing and see how they work for you!
Aim to spend more time outdoors. Besides just helping you get more vitamin D and boosting your immune system, spending time outside can help boost serotonin production and increase your mood. Many people say that spending time in nature helps them to put the stress of their daily life into perspective. Bonus points if you can incorporate exercise into this outside time!
Take time to connect with your significant other. If you are undergoing fertility treatments with a partner, it can feel like infertility has taken over your relationship. This can be especially true of your sex life. Do a check-in to see how he or she is feeling, and be open and honest about what’s going on with you.
Find a therapist. Fertility treatments can be stressful! Having a mental health professional available to help you process your emotions can be a lifesaver. There are even therapists who specialize in infertility topics.
Practice meditation or prayer. Regardless of whether you consider yourself spiritual or religious, implementing a few quiet minutes per day for meditation or prayer can help you feel centered and provide some strength to carry with you throughout the day.
Journal. Whether it’s jotting down a few things you are grateful for at the end of each day or focusing on how you feel about the latest fertility treatment you are trying, journaling can assist you as you process your thoughts. Even if you scribble your thoughts on a napkin that you proceed to throw in the garbage, the process of putting pen to paper (or paper towel?) can help you organize your thoughts.
Make sleep a priority. Sleep can sometimes seem like a waste of time when there is so much to do, but it makes a real difference in our moods and health. Commit to a specific bedtime every night for a week and see what kind of difference it makes!
Connect with friends. Whether it’s reaching out to a friend through a quick text message or meeting for a meal, friendship can be a great source of support during difficult times.
Take time to relax. Relaxation is different for each of us, but some suggestions may include getting a facial or a pedicure, going for a hike, reading a novel, or taking a warm bath.
Seek out healthy snacks. Keeping blood sugar in balance and including plenty of protein and healthy fats can make a world of difference in mood and energy level.
Reach out to others in your community. Pitching in to help with a recycling drive or women’s shelter may not feel like self care, but giving back to the community can be a great way to gain perspective on the world and help someone else when you feel helpless about your own situation.
Be mindful. Take sixty seconds at several points throughout the day to zero in on what you are feeling in that moment. Suspend judgment of your environment or your feelings and just focus on being present in that moment.
Keep yourself hydrated. Even though we know the benefits of hydration for general health, it’s tempting to use caffeinated beverages to give you the energy to power through your day. Make sure to have a water bottle with you at all times, and take sips from it frequently throughout the day.
Give yourself grace. Infertility and some of the medications used during fertility treatments can lead to mood swings. Acknowledging this in advance can help mitigate a little of the frustration you feel if you find yourself being impatient. You’re allowed to be human!
Let it go. We all hold tension in different parts of our bodies. If you know that you tend to furrow your eyebrows, tense your shoulders, or clench your fists when you’re anxious, check in with your body throughout the day. Work to consciously release these muscles.
Go on a social media hiatus. The modern day “miracle” of social media allows us to stay in touch with friends and family all around the world! But it can also lead us to compare our own real lives to the highlight reel that others choose to post. Stepping back from social media (especially when you’ve been dealing with feelings of jealousy or resentment) can be an important part of self care.
Self care doesn’t have to be fun!
When self care is mentioned, many of us immediately think of some of the fun, indulgent activities listed above, like getting a massage. But self care can be anything you do to take care of your future self! If you’re stressed out about what to make for dinner this week, sitting down to make a meal plan can be self care.
Infertility can be stressful, but we are here to help you navigate the process every step of the way. Reach out to see how we can help you!