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  • Becky

9 Ways to Manage Fertility Stress & Feel Like Yourself Again

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

If you’re struggling with infertility, you’re no doubt acquainted with the tremendous feelings of stress come with it. You may also find yourself feeling like you’ve got no control over your body and your life. Enter even more stress and a general feeling that you’re not your usual self. But there are some things you can do to lower your stress level and take back a bit of control. I’ve put together a list of 9 straightforward ways to manage your fertility stress, take control of your fertility, and feel like yourself again. In this post, I’ll share the first three.

Breathing techniques

Tuning into your breath is a tried and true (and scientifically verified) method of calming both your mind and body. You can make it a daily practice, and almost nothing beats it for instant relief when you’re unexpectedly confronted with a stressful situation (like yet another pregnancy announcement). There are many different breathing techniques that you can explore, but here are two of the easiest to learn and use:

Equal Breathing:

  • Inhale slowly though your nose as you count to 4

  • Pause

  • Exhale slowly through your mouth as you count to 4

  • Pause

  • Repeat for as many breaths as you need to feel that you’ve calmed down

As you breathe, allow yourself to focus on sending the breath as deep into your lungs as possible. In other words, you should notice that your belly is moving in and out more than your chest.

2. Unequal Breathing

  • Inhale slowly though your nose as you count to 4

  • Pause

  • Exhale slowly through your mouth as you count to 7

  • Pause

  • Repeat for as many breaths as you need to feel that you've calmed down

As you get more comfortable with unequal breathing, you can lengthen both the inhale and the exhale so that eventually you breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11.

Move Your Body

Exercise is a great way to manage stress! And by “exercise” I don’t necessarily mean running five miles or going to the gym. These things are fine if you enjoy them, but the last thing you need right now is an activity that feels like a punishment.

What kind of movement makes you feel good? It could be long leisurely walks or cleaning your house from top to bottom. Maybe it’s pulling down the shades, turning on some music and dancing your heart out, or heading outside and mowing the lawn. Nearly anything that isn’t sitting still qualifies as “moving your body.”

Research shows that regular movement can help you reduce stress by:

  • releasing endorphins—those feel-good chemicals—in your brain

  • mimicking meditation; it helps you to shift your focus to the activity at hand

  • improving your mood

  • improving your sleep

And as an added bonus, movement also helps your body regulate hormone production—something we often struggle with when dealing with infertility.

There’s one caveat though: too much strenuous exercise can actually hurt your fertility. If you’re someone who loves frequent, long, intense workouts, you might want to think about whether easing up just a little could be beneficial.

Keep a Journal

Did you know that journaling can do wonders for helping you manage stress and anxiety? If you’ve ever kept a diary or a journal in the past, you probably already know that this is true. If you haven’t, I think you’ll be amazed by what a great tool it can be for processing your emotions, clearing your mind, and improving your outlook.

A journal is a safe space where you can write down all your thoughts and feelings about infertility and life in general. You can write about all that you’re going through now, or things that have happened in the past that still linger. You can write about your hopes and about your fears. You can even say all the things you want to say to your partner but would never say to his or her face!

Some people find that dedicating time every day to write is wonderful, while others just jot a few notes down every few days. And you don’t even need to write—some people prefer to draw in their journal. It’s an entirely customizable tool!

One important note: You have to actually write for this to work. Typing on the computer just won’t do the trick.

Here are a few good prompts to get you started:

  • Write a letter to your fertility problems. Let loose and say everything you need to say.

  • What are the most insensitive things people have said to you about your fertility issues? What are the funniest?

  • What kind of support do you need the most? Are you getting it?

  • Make a list of all the questions you keep forgetting to ask your doctor.

If you'd like more suggestions for managing all the stress of infertility, read on in Part 2 and Part 3 of this post. And if I can be helpful in anyway, please don't hesitate to get in touch!



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