Don’t Flounder Under Fall Stress: 14 Tips That Are Also Good For Your Fertility
You can almost feel it – the tick-tick-tick-tick of the clock – once Labor Day weekend is over and autumn’s first chill creeps in. Perhaps it’s the fact that stores have their holiday trees on display at the same time they’re bringing out their pumpkin carving tools (so much for living in the moment), but the ever-impending holiday season can make the stress meter ramp up into high-gear.
14 Simple Tips To Relieve Stress (and they’re good for fertility too!)
In addition to improving your heart health and general well-being, reducing stress is also good for fertility so these tips can have double the impact if you and your partner are dealing with infertility or in the midst of fertility treatments.
- Take a hike. This one tip is packed with stress-relieving benefits, ranging from sunshine to Mother Nature combined with a dose of physical activity at your own pace. As the days grow shorter, those prone to seasonal disorder are particularly sensitive to the lack of light. Even a hike on a cloudy day will boost the UV rays your body transforms into vitamin D.
- An orange a day…. Norepinephrine is a mood enhancer and its activity is boosted by certain citrus scents. You can put a dab of orange or lemon essential oil on a handkerchief or cotton ball to whip out and smell when you need a little boost, or add a few drops to a home or office atomizer.
- Give your hoku a squeeze. That fleshy part of the hand, between the thumb and forefinger is a powerful pressure point. It’s called the hoku in Chinese medicine and by squeezing gently – but firmly – for 30-seconds or so can reduce stress and tension, and is also known to alleviate headaches. It’s easy, DIY acupressure that can have instant results.
- Make “less is more” your mantra. The list of things to do can add up in no time flat. Try cutting out some of the less essential tasks, delegate them or just go ahead and skip them altogether (especially tasks that inspire stress, dread or anxiety). Make sure you’re balancing items that nurture yourself with those that attend to others’ needs.
- Make room for sexy time. Throw your calendar and ovulation schedule out the window (or at least nudge them out of the way a bit). Rekindle the romance and remember what great, sexy, romantic love-making used to be like before pregnancy was in the equation. Sex is a known mood enhancer (and immune system booster), and research shows that having more sex at non-fertile times in your menstrual cycle boosts fertility!
- Get over yourself, inner-perfectionist. It’s nice to want things to be nice – but not at the expense of your emotional or physical well-being. Try to loosen up and never mind a little more clutter than you’re used to, or a meal that isn’t home-cooked. Give yourself a break – remembering that when you’re more relaxed and happy, others around you will be too.
- Skip an unwanted custom. Are there family customs or traditions you simply aren’t a fan of? Use this year to bunk your least favorite and do something new instead. If the holidays inspire a ton of “I don’t want to talk about infertility” dread – maybe this year’s a good one to escape altogether and do something amazing with just the two of you.
- Embrace the gift bag. Wrapping presents is all fun and games…until present Number 5. If wrapping presents drives you bonkers- and eats up precious time – learn to embrace the gift bag and cut your wrapping time by a considerable amount.
- Ask for specific help. Hinting that you need help won’t likely amount to much. Even sending a group email can come to naught. But, if you ask for specific help, from a specific person, you’re much more likely to get a “Yes” response. This works both at home and at work.
- Ditch the phone. Try to carve out some tech-free time, especially phone-free time, for yourself as well as loved ones. You’ll be amazed at how much more peaceful things are – -and how compelled you are to keep checking the phone (time to curb an addiction, anyone?). Let it serve as a detox!
- Spice it up. Challenge your spice-O-meter with foods that make you sweat a bit. Spicy foods trigger an endorphin rush, which can be an instant mood booster.
- Breakfast before coffee. Sip a little water to hydrate and moisten your morning palate. Then, try to eat a little breakfast before you fill up on coffee. Studies show that eating breakfast before drinking a cup of coffee keeps blood sugar levels more stable. Blood sugar is important – low blood sugar can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, and insulin sensitivity has been linked to infertility so regulating blood sugar levels is important.
- Give a massage. Yes! The very act of giving a person a massage – even something as simple as a foot rub – benefits the giver, in addition to the receiver. Plus, you might find you’re the lucky recipient of a massage or rub the next time.
- Make your own Relaxation Mix. Research from the University of Maryland has shown that listening to your favorite tunes increases circulation, which is good for relaxation as well as your heart.
Incorporate as many as these tips as you can this fall (but don’t stress out about it!), and here’s to hoping this year’s holiday season can pass with more grace – and less floundering.
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