What stresses you out the most? Is it something that comes up every week? Or do you find you're constantly stressed about the same thing on a daily basis?
When it comes to fertility and overall health, creating a stress-reduction plan is key. Just like any bad habit, exposing ourselves to daily and weekly stressors can wreak havoc not only on our mental health, but our physical health as well -- including your fertility status.
If you're struggling with infertility-related stress, common tasks like folding the laundry, buying groceries, or even walking the dog can become meaningless and daunting. But understanding where your stress comes from is the first step in conquering and overcoming the hold infertility-related stress has placed on your life.
Here are some common stressors I came up with from personal and patient experience and some tips in helping eliminate stress-inducing factors from your life:
- Weight. Frustrated with the twenty extra pounds that have appeared over the last few years? Make a manageable plan to start shedding some L-Bs by integrating more healthy activities into your daily routine. Go for carrots instead of crackers. Grab an apple instead of sharing that last piece of pie with your husband. Small changes can go a long way!
- Commuting. Does traveling to and from the office everyday put a damper on things? Make it more fun. Commit to reading a good book on the subway. Listen to a funny audiobook in your car. Having things to look forward to can greatly reduce commute-related stress.
- Drinking/Smoking. Have some bad social habits you've been meaning to kick? Try slowly introducing new things in place of the old things. If you're a social smoker, grab a lollipop or stick of gum to have with you while you're out. Trouble stopping after one drink? Make a pact with a friend that you'll get club soda with lemon instead of that second martini.
- Bad Company. We all have at least one or two people in our lives that seems to bring more bad energy to the table than others -- a boss, an old friend. Re-focus the energy spent on entertaining them on your own health. Can't ditch the daily meetings with the boss? Find an outlet to release the tensions brought on by these engagements -- write a funny story about it after work, joke about it with friends. Sometimes stressful relationships are best dealt with through a laugh!
- Stop Reading. It sounds strange, but sometimes you need to stop reading -- the news, infertility forums, IVF horror stories. The Internet can be a great resource for those dealing with fertility-related problems, but can greatly increase stress as you're bombarded with different theories, stories, and pregnancy tips. If you feel your anxiety level rise, put down the iPad!
You can't eliminate stress-creating habits overnight, but with small and gradual change you will be well on your way to minimizing your stress and maximizing your overall health. Good luck!