Varying levels of stress and anxiety are common place in everyday life but experiencing fertility issues and going through something as physically and emotionally demanding as IVF requires a more planned approach to stress management.
We are hypersensitive to stress and our bodies are directly affected by our minds, which is why identifying when you are feeling out of control and vulnerable really key. Gaining control over certain aspects of your life when others are simply beyond your reach can help keep the calm between tougher times.
Happy and Healthy
I am an organised person by nature which means I feel at my best when life is mapped out. A balanced and nutritious diet is important for IVF and most clinics suggest making healthy changes three months in advance of starting treatment to get the full effects, so I have decided to start here. Each Sunday I meal plan for the week ahead which is beneficial for several reasons:
- I make sure I am getting my 5 a day – I can easily count up my fruits and veggies for each day when it’s recorded
- I get plenty of protein – My acupuncturist Hannah says that protein is a vital food source for follicular growth and I am the kind of person that often skips meat in most of my meals. With a meal planning grid, I can easily see where I could add in chicken or eggs to a meal to boost my protein intake.
- I’m never panic eat – I pack healthy snacks like fruit or cashew bars in my bag so I’m not stuck when I travel for work meetings or I’m out with friends and family at the weekend.
- Food shopping is less of a chore – I now totally ace a food shop because I basically have a list ready to go
The power of walking
I reckon walking is the most underrated form of exercise, and recently I’ve gotten really into it. I track my steps on the Health Mate App but you can just use whatever health app comes with your phone or Fitbit if you’re really snazzy! When I’m in London for work I aim to walk between stations where I can rather than take the tube and at weekend I try and fit in an afternoon walk in my local area. Apart from just being good exercise, I find it gives my mind space and freedom to process or just switch off. And relax.
Knowing that I’m doing something good for my body makes me feel positive about my IVF and that I’m doing everything in my power to make it work.
If my trio of mindfulness and meditation (Headspace app, yoga and acupuncture) have taught me anything it’s just to breathe. Such a simple action but one that can soothe a tense situation and lessens any anxious feelings. Take ten minutes somewhere quiet or stick your headphones on with some mellow music and just concentrate on slow and deep breathing. Sometimes I do it at home, just before I go to sleep or even on the train.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help ease your anxiety around IVF treatment whether you are looking into it or are you have already started. Sending well wishes and positively your way on your fertility journey xxx.