Self care seems to be a buzzword these days and the question is, what does self care really mean? There is no right or wrong answer, and it means something slightly different for everyone. Generally, self care refers to activities, practices or habits that make you feel balanced and in a place of emotional and physical well being. For those undergoing infertility treatments such as IVF, there are demands placed on your time, work, finances and relationships. Here are a few ways that have been helpful to many women and couples during the stressful IVF treatment cycle. By boosting your self care routine, the ups and downs of fertility treatment will not feel as bumpy.
KEEP IT SIMPLE — Clear your schedule as much as you can. Eliminate the tasks and to-do lists during the cycle. It will bring you less stress and free up your time.
SMILE — Many are probably thinking, how can I possibly smile when I am stressed, anxious and overwhelmed with IVF or other treatments and tests? Studies suggest that the brain is activated by smiling in those areas associated with reward and triggers release of dopamine which is responsible for enhancing your mood. So as they say, smile though your heart is aching. Chances are you’ll feel better fast!
EXPERIENCE NATURE — Scientific studies show that nature has the ability to help you feel better emotionally, reducing stress, anger and fear. You can take a walk, sit on a park bench, or just take a moment to appreciate a beautiful tree or flower. By spending time outside and taking in the beauty of nature, you can improve your mood, feel less stressed and be more calm and balanced.
CONNECT — Find someone who will listen and understand. Join a support group of other women experiencing fertility challenges. This will help you feel less alone, enable you to gain and share information, and establish strong connections to others who understand. Or talk to a friend or relative you can trust.
CREATE A SPACE OF YOUR OWN — Find a place where you feel comfortable. It could be your favorite chair, couch or corner of your bedroom. Make that space a place where you can take a deep breath, unwind and calm down.
SLEEP – Establish your routine to ensure you get enough sleep each night. Studies show that between 6 and 9 hours are optimal for adults.
LOOK FORWARD TO SOMETHING – Plan to do something you love after the IVF cycle is completed. Have a massage, take a long weekend trip, go to a concert. Reward yourself!