28 Aug Reducing Your Stress Level
We don’t want patients to stress about stress – but it is beneficial to practice stress management when going through fertility treatments. First and foremost, cultivating more peace and calm in life is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself, and should be a foundation of your “self-care plan.”
Then, there is the reality that studies do indicate a relationship between stress and infertility rates. Learning to welcome your mind, body, and spirit as part of the solution – rather than “the enemy” – can help you find a more collaborative way to live with yourself and your partner while navigating the fertility treatment path.
Everyday Solutions for Reducing Your Stress Levels
Here are some simple, straightforward ways to reduce your stress levels in everyday life.
1. Focus on your healthy, pre-pregnancy diet
Are you adhering to a pre-pregnancy diet? If you know you’re a “healthy eater” but haven’t buckled down to analyze what you eat during the average week, now’s a good time to start. Focusing on fresh, healthy foods – minimizing processed foods and sugars – and limiting your caffeine intake (even that permitted once-cup-per-day can create feelings of anxiety) can help to reduce stress.
Plus, most pregnancy diets, especially those focusing on anti-inflammatory foods, inherently reduce stress levels as well because they minimize inflammation (an internal stressor) in your body.
2. Try out a mindfulness or meditation app
Most couples in the fertility treatment cycle are also on a budget, which may mean having to forgo that local medication class you’ve been coveting or meaning to get to. The good news is that there are plenty of free or very low-cost mindfulness and meditation apps you can download onto your phone or tablet. Here are 12 examples to get you started.
Listen as you gently stretch each morning, while seated in favorite chair, in the car in the parking lot during a lunch break, sitting in the park, while taking a walk, etc. From guided meditations and talks from renowned spiritual teachers to chimes that remind you to take a few deep breaths, mindfulness apps are a savvy way to make “intentional relaxation,” a normal part of your day.
3. Rewire your sleep habits
Yes, healthy sleep habits have been linked to better fertility rates; AND, more importantly, healthy sleep habits are linked to just about every other aspect of your health – including stress rates. Fatigue is an automatic stressor, and its side effects – an inability to concentrate, moodiness, repressed immune function, irritability – also create stress.
We recommend reading, Healthy Sleep Habits, and reviewing their bullet-point list. Odds are there’s something you can do to get better sleep each night – like turning off screens/gadgets at least 30-minutes before bedtime (and yes, that includes your cell phone).
4. Surround yourself with functional, positive people
Are the people in your life causing you stress? From dysfunctional family dynamics and toxic “friends” (aka “energy vampires”) to pressures from your social circle –you may find that the people in your life are causing you more stress than you realize.
If this resonates with you, read Are Your Loved Ones Hazardous to Your Health. It may be time to take a social inventory and scale back, only spending your precious time and stress-free energy with family and friends who provide the supportive network you need. It’s time to let timeworn, unhealthy relationships fall to the wayside (or keep contact to a minimum).
5. Rekindle the romance again
One of the most stressful things for couples undergoing fertility is the way that romance and passion tend to take a backseat (or no seat) in the daily lineup. Make it a point to keep your romantic, intimate connection alive as much as possible. The feelings of safety, security, and comfort you find in one another are a powerful force against day-to-day stress.
The team at the Fertility Center of Dallas believes that a superior fertility treatment team, accurate diagnosis, and customized treatment plans are another stress-reducer. Contact us to schedule a consultation.