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Ways to reduce stress when TTC HolisticHer

Ways to reduce stress when TTC

For many people trying for a baby is fun and straightforward however for others conception takes time and it’s common for stress and anxiety to build up when it may take months, or even years to fall pregnant.

Managing stress and maintaining your overall mental, emotional and physical health is essential. Being familiar with ways to reduce your stress levels will help you to deal with this overwhelming time and to navigate all of the feelings and emotions that come with trying to conceive.

 

Eat well and exercise

Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which will help your body stay strong and to avoid illness. Avoid processed food with sugars, starches, and too much caffeine, which can cause spikes in your blood sugar and trigger stress hormones.

Working out is one of the best-known stress relievers. Exercise pumps up your body's endorphins, which boost your mood while reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. So be sure to get out there and engage inyour favourite type of exercise. Just be careful not to overdo it as extremely vigorous exercise can interfere with ovulation, so listen to your body and take it easier when needed. 

Spend time outdoors

Spending time outdoors has been linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety, so plan some fun outdoor activities. Go for a walk, have a picnic, play outdoor sports, or just lie on the grass/beach and read a book. Not only will you be spending time getting fresh air but it’s a great way to get more vitamin D. Spending outdoor time with your partner is also a great way to forget about your fertility struggles for a short time and spend some quality time together.

Find someone to talk to / find a support network

Let your family and friends know about what you are going through so that they understand, and tell them what kind of help you need. Find a support group, that provides an opportunity to meet others who are going through a similar experience – this can be through an online forum or in person.

Seek out the professional expertise of a psychologist if necessary. A psychologist with expertise in the area of infertility can help you find ways to reduce stress and feel more empowered about your choices.

Take a break from social media

For couples who are struggling to conceive, seeing friends online announcing pregnancies and sharing pictures of their families can be disheartening.  It’s human nature to compare ourselves with our peers and size up our life choices, especially at times when we’re not feeling overly positive. However we don’t always know the full picture or struggles that others have been through themselves.  Protect your heart and emotions by trying not to compare and by limiting how much you use social media, particularly at night when you should be clearing your head and winding down for the day.

Learn relaxation techniques

Yoga, meditation and breathing techniques can help relieve tension. They reduce the production of stress hormones and can also increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Yoga is a great way to tone your body and get yourself feeling great inside and out. You can practice yoga at home on your own, but you may also find it beneficial to attend classes.

Meditation and mindfulness are both excellent ways to help clear your mind and prevent negative thoughts from becoming overwhelming. It teaches you to accept and deal with your emotions and thoughts, rather than fighting your feelings. There are plenty of apps that can help get you started.

Try to give yourself some time daily to practice one of these relaxation techniques. Burn a scented candle if you enjoy them and take in the scent whilst closing your eyes and relaxing.

Alternative therapies

There are many alternative therapies that can increase relaxation and reduce stress, including hypnotherapy, reflexology and acupuncture. Massage is also excellent ‘you’ time, and an aromatherapy massage is ideal. If you’re having one of these, make sure you tell the therapist that you’re trying for a baby and might be pregnant, so pregnancy-safe oils and practices can be followed

Indulge in your hobbies and the things that make you happy

Try to do the things you love – whether that be hiking, travelling, reading, baking, shopping or whatever else you enjoy spending time doing. Find a new hobby if you feel like you need a new activity to distract you from the stresses of trying to conceive.  Even visiting a beauty therapist, massage therapist or a hairdresser can also help you relax and take your mind off pregnancy and fertility.

Keep yourself informed

Knowledge is power. By understanding the causes of infertility and available treatment options you will feel more in charge and be able to make better decisions. Talk to your doctor about your situation and options.

It might also be worth thinking about what parenthood means to you and what is important.  This might help open up other options e.g. IVF, adoption, egg/sperm donors, surrogacy.

Communicate with your partner

Keep open lines of communication with your partner. When you are trying to conceive and perhaps dealing with infertility, lean on your partner for support. After all they are likely going through similar feelings to yourself and trying to conceive is a joint goal after all.

Finally, don’t give up your life and take a break if you need to

Keep doing the things you used to do. Often infertility can consume all areas of life and dominate everything – house moves are delayed, holidays are postponed, major events are not celebrated as the focus on getting pregnant dominates everything else. Try to continue to continue with your usual life the best you can until then. 

If trying to conceive is taking over your life, you can take a break if you need to. Take some time off trying to conceive if you want to, and allow yourself a couple of months to regroup.

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