A Guide to Regular Self-care when TTC
Fertility treatment and Self-care
Fertility treatment can be physically and emotionally draining. Without regular self-care practices and healthy coping strategies, symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress can develop and have negative impacts on mental health. Self-care refers to taking an active role in your own wellness, particularly during times of stress. Regular self-care activities can improve your quality of life, energy levels and boost both mental and physical health.
In today’s busy world, we can often feel that we do not have time for regular self-care. By setting time aside routinely for these activities throughout the week, we can establish meaningful change in our lives. Whether it’s 10 minutes of reading before bed, or a 5 minute meditation/mindfulness activity as we start our day, we can find that the ‘little things’ add up to create some noticeable positive difference.
Activities that feel relaxing, calming or comforting are a great way of combating daily stressors and maintaining your emotional wellbeing. These can include hobbies or interests that you may have. Here are some examples:
- Coloring or drawing
- Practicing meditation or mindfulness
It can also be helpful to create goals separate to treatment or work and start taking steps towards achieving them. These goals can range from things you’ve been meaning to get around to, to hobbies, interests or passions that have fallen by the wayside due to other demands. By completing these goals, you can foster feelings of enjoyment, satisfaction and achievement. Some examples may include:
- Re-organizing a closet and donating unwanted clothes to charity
- Planting and maintaining a flower bed or vegetable garden
- Learning to play a song on a new instrument
- Starting to learn a new language
- Trying out new recipes or meal prepping healthy lunches for your work week
We can break down bigger or longer-term goals into smaller ones that can be progressed through with time, to make them more easily achievable. For example, in learning a new instrument, your goal may be to practice for 10 minutes each day, until you are able to achieve the larger goal of playing a song from start to finish.
Physical self-care Activities
Whether it be through a pamper session or exercise, taking care of our bodies not only improves our physical health, but can have an important flow on effect to our mental health as well. Some examples of physical self-care activities can be:
- Regular exercise like walks or yoga/stretching
- Spending time outside in the fresh air and sunlight
- Prioritizing sleep and good sleep hygiene
- Eating healthy meals and staying hydrated
- Physically relaxing activities like baths or massages
The ‘self’ in self-care does not mean that you need to do everything on your own! We can benefit from fostering the important relationships in our lives. Feeling connected to and supported by others can help ease the burden of treatment and improve quality of life.
- Include others in your self-care activities – for example, you may invite a friend to try out a new yoga class, go for a walk with a family member, or create and work towards a common goal like a garden project with a partner. This can make the activity more enjoyable, as well as keep you accountable for following through with the activity once planned.
- Speak openly to those who you feel comfortable talking to about treatment. By airing out our concerns or worries, we can find ourselves feeling a little lighter. This is also a great opportunity to accept comfort and support from others, and to deepen relationships.
- Social interaction can also function as a break from treatment related conversation and thoughts, and so talking to your partner, family, friends and others about other topics can be a great opportunity for some positive distraction.
If you would like to discuss self-care further, or access support with us at any time, you can do so by arranging to see one of our fertility counsellors.