The holidays typically evoke visions of cheer and joy this time of year, but the truth is, it’s also often highly stressful. There’s so much to do; decorating, baking, entertaining, traveling, finishing work projects and shopping! If on top of that you are also dealing with the struggles of infertility, it can all suddenly feel too much and leave you feeling stressed-out and depressed.
Make Holiday Self-Care a Priority
Thankfully, there are things you can do to navigate the holidays successfully! There is no better time to practice wellness and daily self-care. Remind yourself that this busy season will be over before you know it, so make time for some self-care and set healthy boundaries from the get-go that support your mental and emotional health.
1-Give yourself permission to feel bad. Pretending you are feeling good when you’re not isn’t helpful. Sure, we want to enjoy the holidays, but they often bring up sadness, especially if you have experienced loss. When dealing with infertility, you may be dealing with grief and loss on top of the holiday stress. Watching families celebrate with their children can make your heart ache with the absence of your own. Instead of burying those emotions, let yourself feel your grief with compassion.
2-Allow yourself to say no. Socializing when you don’t have the energy is draining. You can say no thank you to invitations and wish them the best. For family gatherings, if you just can’t face being with little ones right now, maybe plan a trip that allows you to replenish yourself with some outdoor time or plan a quiet retreat.
3-Give yourself the gift of emotional support. People vary in their temperament and tolerance levels. Some find being around children during their fertility journey to be invigorating, while others find the interactions a painful reminder of their emptiness. It’s okay to explain to your family, friends and co-workers that you just aren’t feeling the joy of socializing this year.
4-Don’t shop in the children’s section. If it is painful for you to be surrounded by reminders of the child you don’t yet have, you can skip doing this by opting instead to give gift cards and let the parents take care of the gift selection themselves.
5-Gift yourself the space you need. When visiting with family and friends, make sure you can retreat as needed. You can stay in a hotel instead of at the family home, keep your visit short instead of overnighting, or even opting out attending altogether. If you do decide to engage in family gatherings, allow yourself to take self-care breaks like a nightly relaxing bath or some meditation or yoga time to help you decompress.
6-Find an online group support community. Social media allows you to connect with others who are in the same circumstance as you are. Like-minded people who are navigating the fertility path that you are currently on can be an invaluable resource. Asking questions or sharing scenarios of the holidays can give you the empathetic support you need. Your online friends can give you the courage and emotional support you need to navigate the holidays more peacefully.
Remember to eat balanced meals, get enough sleep and keep up whatever exercises you enjoy that boost your energy. Neglecting these can quickly drain you during the holidays. If you would like to know more or have questions about fertility, please feel free to reach out to our Idaho Fertility Center team at 208-529-2019. We are here to support you on this incredible journey!