When you’re going through fertility treatment, you and your partner are bound to go through a massive range of emotions – and with so much riding on the outcome of the treatment, feeling a certain amount of stress is to be expected.
Whether you’re already going through fertility treatment or just starting to find out about your options, make sure that you de-stress and focus on thinking about other things beyond the lifegoal of growing your family. This’ll help you to stay positive as you negotiate your way through the process.
Picking up old hobbies – or finding new ones – will help to distract you, as well as adding enjoyment to your life. Here are a few suggestions to get you started…
Dancing is a real feel-good form of exercise. Not only does it release endorphins, which make you feel happy, but it also lets you express yourself creatively and connect with who you really are, away from day-to-day pressures. Whether it’s street dance, ballroom, salsa or ballet, dancing will lift your mood.
Research shows that 45 minutes of yoga a week can reduce anxiety levels by 20% in just six weeks – in fact, one expert went as far as saying that it should be prescribed for women going through IVF. Go for a more gentle form of yoga (you should avoid hot yoga or Vinyasa yoga) and let your yoga instructor know if you’re intending to have fertility treatment or are on an IVF cycle.
Whether it’s pottery, art, photography or knitting, any artistic activity can help to combat stress. One study showed that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly decreases stress in the body – whether or not you have any artistic experience or talent! With the recent popularity of adult colouring books making colouring in cool, there’s no excuse for not getting arty.
Helping other people can reduce stress levels, increase self-esteem and give you a healthy perspective on your own position. According to research, volunteering often benefits the volunteers as much as the people they’re helping. There are always local charities and groups that will benefit from any time you can give them – look around and find one that appeals to you.
Keep a journal
Journalling is a simple way to help clear your mind and work through problems, with proven health benefits. There are no hard-and-fast rules and all you need is a pen and paper, so it couldn’t be easier to get started. Try writing for 15 minutes a day and don’t hold back – your journal is just for you.
Getting stuck into some gardening is a pick-me-up that’ll get you outdoors and give you some moderate exercise into the bargain. There’s plenty to focus on, even if you’ve only got space for a few planters – whether that’s deciding what to grow, digging up the weeds or just sitting back with a cuppa to enjoy the results.
Make the most of music
Not only can listening to music reduce cortisol levels, but going to live music events can relieve stress too. Keep an eye out for gigs and concerts you’ll enjoy and grab some tickets – it’ll give you something to look forward to as well as a great evening out when it comes around. If you’re a real music fan, why not learn to play an instrument? With daily practice to think about as well as lessons or online tutorials to follow, it’ll definitely keep your mind busy.
Reading’s cheap, convenient and easy to fit in – research says it’s the most successful way to de-stress, too. Reading can reduce stress levels by 68% and just six minutes of silent reading can slow down the heart rate and ease muscle tension. Treat yourself to a visit to a bookshop and browse the shelves then head for your favourite café, or buy a book online if you’re short on time.
Think of hiking as ‘walking meditation’ combined with the benefits of being out in nature. Not only will it help your fitness levels, but it’ll give you a feast for the eyes at the same time. Re-discover some favourite walks or find some new ones: with planning, getting ready to go and enjoying yourself once you’re there, you’ll get a real sense of achievement whether you’re scaling a mountain or heading off along a coastal path.
If you’d like to know more about fertility and how you can boost your chances of having a healthy baby, why not download our Guide to the Best Fertility Apps?