1. Get moving
Most people know exercise offers many physical and mental benefits. Being physically active helps maintain a healthy weight, improves brain health, reduces the risk of diseases, and may help improve fertility outcomes. A recent study found that moderate to high physical activity levels significantly reduced the overall risk of infertility. To combat stress, take to the road for a brisk jog, swim or attend a low-impact yoga class.
2. Focus on nutrition
A healthy diet is a great aspect of life to focus on while trying to conceive. Many women feel out of control during the IVF process and cannot do much to help improve outcomes. However, diet is an area where patients can exert individual control. Focus on getting nutrients from various dietary sources and ingesting sufficient amounts of folic acid, calcium, and iron. Rather than opting for comfort food, reduce stress by reaching for foods known to be healthy and nutritious.
3. Take a break from social media
With so much of everyday life posted online, people often feel the need to keep up with the Joneses to be successful. Seeing other women with cute pregnant bellies or adorable babies may be more triggering than comforting during this time. Take charge of comparison stress by detoxing from social media during the weeks leading up to the IVF procedure.
While many people may write off the practice of meditation as too hippy, the approach has been shown to be effective in reducing stress. Meditation involves turning the attention to the present moment and focusing on what is happening right now rather than ruminating about future concerns. Focus on the breath, sensations in the body, and any feelings that arise. Observe the feelings without judgment, note the thoughts and then let the feelings go. Daily meditation only requires a few minutes but can substantially decrease stress.
5. Try therapy
Turning to a professional for help is a good idea, even though many people are reluctant to seek professional help. Therapists are trained to help manage stress effectively, and some professionals have specific experience working with women undergoing IVF. Schedule an initial consultation to determine if therapy is a helpful support mechanism to decrease stress while undergoing fertility treatment.
Combat stress effectively
Although most people experience stress here and there, proper management is essential. Simple lifestyle changes such as exercising more and eating healthy can help. Mindfulness and therapy are other approaches worth considering. When IVF is on the horizon, finding ways to minimize stress is essential to a positive and successful experience.