9 Easy Self-Care Ideas for Your Infertility Journey
Self-Care is a Non-negotiable
Surviving infertility is a tall task, and creating and practicing an easy self-care routine during your journey may be that last thing to do on your list, if at all. During infertility, it is easy to fall into obsessing over your ovulation schedule, timed intercourse, the next round of IVF, what not to eat to improve your fertility, or immersing yourself in work to keep your mind off your inability to bear a child…yet.
Easier said than done, right? No one said we must get it right all the time, but the point is to try. On this journey, so much is out of our control, but practicing self-care gives us the opportunity to control an aspect of our lives each day. Also, reducing stress levels has been associated with overall wellness and increased fertility rates.
Self-care Does Not Have to be Grand
I spoke with my colleague, Dr. Ayanna S. Kersey-McMullen, over at www.drayannaskm.com, on IG LIVE about creating a self-care regimen and its many benefits. If you have not listened be sure to head over with your notepad and pen and take a listen! There are some true gems!
One of the biggest takeaways from our conversation is that self-care does not have to be grand!
Yes, these activities can be add-ons, but your core self-care regimen should be easily achievable…DAILY. I will be the first to admit self-care is a hard for me. While dealing with infertility, I felt like I did not deserve to pour into myself or had the desire to do so. I focused on treatments, filling a void, and staying busy to “keep my mind off of things.” That resulted in burnout physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I could not show up for myself, my husband, my job, or the people I love. Not to mention, my perspective on just about everything was negative, and I no longer wanted to feel that way.
Take Some Time to Curate an Easy Self-Care Routine for Your Life Right Now
Building a self-care routine has not been easy to achieve with my never-ending to-do list. However, it is a necessary aspect of my journey to overall wellness, regardless of my ability to have children. I have not gotten it perfect, and I am still working on my regimen (that is forever changing), but I am proud that I made the decision to begin. Waiting only increased my anxiety and stress, and who needs that when going experiencing the pressures of infertility?
How to Start Practicing Self-Care
I started by making sure I prayed every morning and made sure to pray for myself during my prayer. For a while, I prayed for everyone else and not myself because I felt like God did not care about me due to all that I had gone through. Making sure I prayed for myself, again, allowed me to feel cared for and heard even though my situation did not look promising. Dr. Ayanna helped me to realize that I was able to detach myself from outcomes. I will touch on that in a separate blog.
I also began to drink a cup of tea each day, exercise (when I was medically cleared), participate in weekly therapy sessions, and read for pleasure. I am still working on building my regimen but for now this works. It gives me renewed energy and allows me to focus on myself if only for a short time each day. Do what feels good for you and makes you your best self.
What Should You Include in Your Easy Self-Care Regimen?
Easy Self-Care Ideas To Incorporate in Your Routine
Prayer is a staple in my self-care regimen. Before I get out of bed or hop on my phone, I take a moment to give thanks, pray for myself and my loved ones, and anything else that may be on my heart and mind. It helps me to feel covered, and prayer keeps me grounded. When I was not praying, my faith and foundation felt weak. That was not good for me during my infertility journey or in everyday life. If you are like me and stopped praying because of your anger toward God, I encourage you to begin again and see how you feel.
I began meditating in 2016. I vividly remember my husband coming home from work and being nervous because I was so calm. That is when I knew meditation was working for me! I started with sitting in a corner of our office on a bean bag and attempting to quiet my mind for 5 minutes. It was the longest 5 minutes I had experienced up until that point, but eventually, I was able to quiet the noise. I did not think about dinner, conversations with friends, or my to-do list. Instead, I just sat with myself. As time progressed, I was able to control my breath, anxiety, release tension in my body, and most of all…hear from God. That was a game changer for me!
Dr. Ayanna works with clients to help them understand and build a daily meditation practice. I encourage you to contact her if you are interested in beginning a meditation practice but do not have the slightest idea where to begin.
I don’t know about you, but immersing myself in a good book is so therapeutic for me. I typically choose a fiction novel. Self-help books often send me down the rabbit hole of self-reflection which results in a to-do list of ways to make myself better, and while there is a time for that, my self-care time is not the place.
Enjoy a cup of tea.
I love to sit on my couch by a lit candle with the lights dimmed and a cup of cinnamon or lemon ginger tea. The act of drinking tea slows me down and calms my mind and spirit. It helps me to achieve balance from the highs and lows of the day. Drinking tea also gives me a reason to shop for really cool mugs. I love an oversized mug with a sassy or inspirational quote. Find a mug, grab a tasty tea, and come down from your day by drinking a nice cup of tea.
Create a skin care regimen
During COVID, I made it a point to implement a skin care regimen into my self-care routine. I wanted to something daily that made me feel luxurious but also allowed me to care for my skin. I began following @buymechanel on Instagram and built the perfect regimen for my budget. Not only do I look better, but that 10 minutes of taking care of my skin makes me feel better as well! Before going to her page, I encourage you to have a budget and stick to it because she will show all the goodie and you’ll be tempted! Don’t say I did not warn you! LOL
Exercise has been a gamechanger for my mental health. Though I do not enjoy working out, I do love how I feel when I am done. Plus, its benefits are undeniable! Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a workout regimen, especially if you are undergoing fertility treatment.
During one of the Sacred Womb Fertility Support Group sessions, one of the participants talked about her gratitude jar and how much it helped shift her mood and perspective. Grab a mason jar and decorate it to your liking. Place a pack of post-its or small pieces of paper and pen nearby. Each morning, write down what you are grateful for then place the paper in your jar. If you are struggling with what to write, you can always start with, “I woke up today!”
What would I do without my non-judgmental best friend aka my journal? Writing has always been a way for me to empty my mind of all my thoughts. When I open my journal to a fresh page, I write down everything that comes to my mind. Then I begin to elaborate on the topics of my choosing. Journaling is like a second form of therapy for me and allows me to release everything onto its pages.
Therapy is a non-negotiable activity for me. I avoided therapy for a while because I was not ready to face my traumas, emotions, and hard truths. However, therapy has helped me to peel back layers and begin to really understand things about myself and figure out ways to navigate life in healthy ways. Since beginning weekly therapy, I have noticed a drastic improvement in my emotional regulation and my ability to establish and maintain boundaries. Give it a try, and find a therapist sooner than later!
Book a coping coaching session with me today if you feel that you need extra support to figure out ways to cope and navigate life during your infertility journey.