I think mani-pedis are delightful, but often times the long and tough road of infertility requires deeper self-care. Even the term “self-care” may make you roll your eyes. (Sorry!?) Whatever you call it, I am talking about the importance of PUTTING YOU BACK INTO THE EQUATION. In an equation that has pluses, minuses and all kinds of dividing lines, it is important to find moments that add up to the YOU that you know– and may be missing. Here’s how…
BE GOOD TO YOU
Kindess. It seems simple, and yet kindness can be surprisingly hard to give to ourselves. Play. Laugh. Put self-blame and criticism to the side. Be gentle.
TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT
Ask yourself these questions regularly– “How am I doing?” and “What am I needing?”. Take an emotional barometer reading and change course depending on what answers you discover along the way.
FIND YOUR KRYPTONITE
What makes you feel powerful? Brave? Strong? Though there may be times when you need to curl up in the fetal position, there are also times to draw upon your own personal power source. That fire within that makes you feel like the bad-ass you are. Own your kryptonite and use it as needed.
Joy…what’s that?? Between the doctor’s appointments and the stress of infertility–the pursuit of joy can feel like a nuisance. Yet, part of connecting with YOU means finding your smile again. Ask yourself what makes you feel alive and connected to your heart. Even if you can’t do this activity to the fullest extent (ie; travel abroad), find a taste of joy (ie; staycation in a hotel while eating cupcakes in bed and watching a romantic comedy). Even a smile will do.
Plan a date night. Cuddle with your dog. Tell your best friend that you need a girls’ night out. We promise…you will feel a whole lot better finding strength in connection right now.
Given that fertility challenges are wrought with uncertainty, take back control in ways that you can. Your time is valuable. And your well-being is even more valuable. Be mindful of how you are participating in life in ways that actually re-charge you.
ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE WELL-MEANING, BUT UNHELPFUL ADVICE
The last thing you need is unsolicited advice and horror stories. Give yourself permission to not let other people’s unresolved issues, or need to “solve the problem”, become your issues. You are already carrying a heavy load. Feel free to say, “Thank you so much, but I think I’ve got this.”
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS WITHOUT JUDGMENT
Piling on shame and judgment when you already feel emotionally overwhelmed or vulnerable has never helped, right? Remind yourself that it is ok to feel angry, sad, worried, scared–and everything in between. All of those complicated emotions are a part of the infertility landscape. You are already working so hard. Accept what you are feeling rather than adding more struggle to the mix.
TAKE A BREAK
Give yourself a break–a real break. Not the kind where you are in a spin class running through your “To Do” list. Maybe skip the gym. Take time alone. Chill out while watching a silly TV show. Read that book that’s been sitting on your dresser for a year. You may find it has never felt so good to do nothing for awhile.
EAT, SLEEP, STAY OFF THE INTERNET
Make sure you are maintaining the basics. Have a glass of water. Go to bed at 10:00 pm (or 8:00 pm). Tune out and turn off things that make you more worried. Make small choices that help you feel very good. You deserve it.
Michele Weiss, LMFT
3166 N. Lincoln Avenue, Suite 202 Chicago, IL 60657