I almost titled this 7 “quick” or “simple” tips for how to manage the stress of infertility, then I literally laughed out loud. Nothing with infertility is quick or simple. Here are seven suggestions to help manage the stress of infertility that is felt by so many other silent victims:
1. Soak up knowledge, not the sun.
Get educated. You will feel more confident and engaged when you have a better understanding of the diagnosis and treatment process. You don’t need to be an expert but it is important to understand what is happening with your body.
2. Stop blaming yourself!
It’s not your fault. I’ll say it again, it’s not your fault. Age, genetics, weight among a multitude of variables affect your fertility. Even the most health-conscious individuals can suffer from infertility. Beating yourself up for having this disease (yes, infertility is a disease), will only add more stress. Making small meaningful changes allows you to gain control of your fertility pathway.
3. Breathe. (meditation too!)
Take just a few minutes out of your hectic day to focus on Y-O-U. Breathing is often overrated. Like blinking, it is an automatic subconscious action that we primarily only think about when we can’t do it. We are often so busy taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. Instead of thinking about your stressors, focus on yourself for just a few minutes. Breathe, download a meditation app, sit and reflect on what’s going well for you. With just a small schedule adjustment, this can slide right into your routine and become a healthy habit.
4. Talk about it.
Please! Don’t keep it all inside. Find a friend, a cycle buddy, an online support group or just simply journal it out (keep it private but not inside). If you’re going through this with a partner, don’t forget about them. It’s easy to get wrapped up and forget they’re experiencing this too. While everyone processes differently, they likely share similar fears and concerns.
5. Eat healthy and move your body.
It’s not the first time you’ve heard this, nor will it be the last. Don’t go overboard though.
A balanced diet along with a safe fitness plan will help you feel better and may improve your chances for conception, However, stress can increase if your regimen is too strict so cut yourself some slack - that’s what cheat days are for!
6. Sleep well.
Don’t just sleep. Under-sleeping affects stress and anxiety, not allowing proper time for the body and mind to repair each day. Creating healthy sleep habits to improve the amount of quality of sleep is vital to your well-being and ability to function to your highest potential.
7. See a professional.
Stressor identification and management were not in the curriculum when I was in school. While many school systems are taking steps to help children be mindful, learning how to deal with stress is still not a course offered for students to gain these invaluable life skills. Infertility stress is comparable to the stress of dealing with cancer. An individual specifically trained to help women, men and couples with infertility can help you learn healthy coping methods to keep stress at a tolerable level.