Managing anxiety with self-care through your fertility journey
Given the emotional, physical and financial demands of fertility testing and treatment, it’s probably inevitable that you may be struggling with degrees of anxiety. You might find it helpful to be able to recognize some of the typical symptoms of anxiety in order to help you deal with them.
Some typical signs you may be anxious include difficulty sleeping, headaches, nausea and shortness of breath. You may find yourself struggling to concentrate, quick to lose your temper, blaming your partner for everything and generally feeling sensitive and vulnerable. You may find you and your partner (if you have one) are fighting a lot over small things.
Remember, anxiety is an adaptive response that alerts you to a threat. Once the threat is reduced, the anxiety usually lessens. However, with fertility issues, the threat is usually ongoing. Until you are pregnant or deliver your baby, the threat may feel ongoing.
Please be gentle with yourself. It’s unlikely you will be able to eradicate feelings of anxiety altogether, but by maximizing self-care and trying some of the following suggestions, you hopefully will be able to keep anxiety under control. Check in with your current self-care habits and try and work on establishing new and healthier habits. Here is a list of suggestions for you to try:
- Use self-hypnosis and visualisations to decrease your anxiety during stressful or painful procedures. There are some useful free apps you can look at, like Smiling Mind, Headspace and Buddhify;
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Ensure your sleep is consistent and an important part of your routine. Try to keep up a moderate level of activity through treatment, walking is always good;
- Watch what you eat and aim to eat a variety of meals and snacks that provide healthy nutrients in your diet;
- Try practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis to help reduce anxiety;
- Find a way to express your fears and feelings about your fertility journey. You could try keeping a private journal where you can record your daily thoughts and feelings;
- Turn to those people in your life who can provide you with support. Or you and your partner may want to keep treatment private, there is no one right way to manage things.
If you’re finding that negative thoughts are pervasive and pushing you around, try to challenge them. If you start thinking, “I will never have a baby”, put up a big red stop sign in your mind and breathe. Remind yourself gently you are doing everything you can to make it happen.
Remember, a degree of anxiety will be an expected part of your journey, so accepting this may be a gentler mindset or you to embrace.
Please feel free to call one of the Genea counsellor to make an appointment, we are there to support you through treatment.
Our Counselling team is available to our patients via email, phone or Skype. Please contact them on email@example.com or Genea Hollywood at firstname.lastname@example.org.