The holidays are a stressful time of year at a time when you’re supposed to be having a merry old time. In reality, you likely have too much to do like shopping for the right gifts, and unless you’re doing it online, you are dealing with the throngs who are also in your shopping shoes! Then there’s decorating, baking, entertaining, traveling, and getting everything done by year-end if you are also working. Add to that dealing with the ups and downs of infertility, and you can end up over-stressed and depressed during this time.
Prioritizing Self-Care During the Holidays
You can navigate the holidays successfully by prioritizing your health and wellness. The season will come and go before you know it and practicing self-care and setting healthy boundaries from the outset can provide you with the nurturing you need for better emotional health. Here are some tips to do just that!
-You are allowed to feel bad. While the holidays may be centered around joyfulness, it’s also a time of sadness for many. If you are dealing with infertility, you might find yourself feeling grief and loss on top of the seasonal stress. Seeing happy families with excited children, reminding you of what you don’t have, can all feel too much. It’s okay to feel emotional. Instead of burying your emotions, embrace them and give yourself the gift of compassion by letting yourself feel what you feel.
-Give yourself permission to say no. You don’t have to attend functions if you aren’t up to it. It’s okay to say, “No thank you, not this year”. Gatherings can be overwhelming even when you aren’t already feeling down. If you are not up to being with family this year, you can plan a trip that gives you some outdoor time to soothe jangled nerves and limit interactions when you crave the quiet.
-Seek the emotional support you need. Some people find the company of children fulfilling while others find it a painful reminder of what they don’t yet have. Explain to your extended family, friends and co-workers if you aren’t up to socializing so they can understand your need for space.
-Avoid the baby aisle in stores or online: Buying presents for the little ones in your life can be painful if you are reminded of the child you so badly want to conceive. Instead of buying baby clothes or toys that make your heart ache, gift cards can be an emotionally safer alternative.
-Give yourself space. If you visit loved ones, make sure you can retreat when necessary. Staying in a hotel instead of bunking with family or friends, keeping the visit short, or even opting out altogether if needed, is okay. Don’t forget to plan breaks for yourself, like a relaxing bath, enjoying tea in a cafe, taking a meditation or yoga class, anything that allows you to decompress.
-Have an online support community. Social media groups with like-minded people who are navigating the same journey you are can be a lifesaver. Posting questions or scenarios and receiving empathetic support can be a relief. Online friends can give you the emotional support you need during the holidays.
Along with eating right, sleeping well, and practicing some form of gentle exercise you can protect your energy levels and keep you feeling balanced during this physically and mentally draining season. We welcome you to reach out to our Fertility Center team for answers and support on your journey to parenthood.