8 ways to find more calm
If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you’ve received a copy of the original 10 Tips for a More Calm, Peaceful IVF Cycle. I hope you found that helpful. (If you aren’t yet subscribed, click here to get your copy.)
Here are 8 more ideas for a calm, peaceful, family building experience...
Create a music mix that makes you smile and dance.
Music is proven to change our moods, motivating us to keep going, to move our bodies, to smile. Whatever makes this happen for you, create a playlist and put it on repeat. Don’t have time to craft your own? Try out a pre-made mix; I’m currently loving this one from Spotify.
Start or get back to writing in a journal.
Writing down our thoughts helps to capture them, to instill a bit of calm to our mind. Imagine physically catching your racing words and pinning them to the page where you can review, process, and identify what’s really true. Think about what you’re telling yourself - is that what you really want to say? Your writing can help when you’re working through a decision, a disappointment, even a celebration.
The cliche is that “laughter is the best medicine” - but it is true that laughter can relieve stress, release endorphins, and improve your mood. So find a joke of the day site, a funny podcast, or call a friend who can always make you laugh. There’s even humor in fertility treatment...open yourself to see it and don’t be afraid to giggle when you do.
Look to positive family building experiences for inspiration
At times, it can seem that we’re fighting a hopeless battle. Whether we’ve been focused on our own struggle - which may not be going well - or we hear from others in our support groups who are also facing disappointment after disappointment, it can be hard to know there are ever successes along this path. If you're in this place, make a point to find positive stories. Ask your doctor’s office for their own patient stories if you want something close to home, or seek a trusted resource like the Beat Infertility podcast where the host lists the stories that have been successful on her website as [SUCCESS].
Drink more water.
We know our bodies are around 57-60% water and the positive benefits of being well-hydrated include increased energy, better skin, and flushing out toxins. Need more motivation? Buy a fun water bottle you enjoy drinking from (trust me, the vessel makes a difference!) or consider using an app on your phone like Plant Nanny, Waterlogged, Water Drink Reminder, or Daily Water to help you stay on track.
Identify one thing in your life you can stop doing or say “no” to during this time.
Setting boundaries is an important part of caring for yourself. We often find ourselves taking on something we don’t want or have time to do. Or, we attend events - like a baby shower - that physically and mentally hurt us. We may find ourselves in conversations or answering questions that cause stress. Find one thing and say “no”. And remember, nothing you do right now has to be forever - although maybe you’ll find the new boundary serves you well for a long time. Create your space and give yourself the opportunity to spread out within it.
Decide how much time you want to spend talking about fertility - and then stick to it.
We can’t help thinking about our fertility struggle. Talking about it with our friend or partner can help, but sometimes that spirals into non-productive angst. Try instead to be purposeful in your conversations...ask your friend or partner to join you in setting an “agenda” for your discussions. Make sure part of the agenda is seeking gratitude, a positive tidbit, or a funny or uplifting anecdote. And then make a point to keep the conversation to a limited time. Five, ten, fifteen minutes - whatever it takes. But once you are done, be done. Spend the rest of your time for conversation on something else...work, the book you’re reading, an interesting fact you learned...whatever. Be open and alert to things to share or talk about and you’ll be surprised at the subjects you may cover.
Do something that makes you feel young.
For many of us, our fertility struggle may be one of the first “adult” challenges we’ve faced. Adulting can be hard. Try an unscientific way to reverse aging, to feel like a kid again. Maybe it's eating a typical “kid” food like macaroni and cheese from a box or a plain vanilla ice cream cone. Watch a Disney movie (bonus points if you’re also in your pjs). Dance until dawn or listen to music from your teenage years. Eat your childhood comfort meal. Decide what takes you back to a time where you felt young and invincible.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.