10 ways to relax when IVF gets stressful

Categories All, My IVF journey, Surviving IVF

One of the most annoying things that people say who don’t know much about infertility or IVF is: ‘If you just relax, it’ll happen.’

Sure. In theory. But relaxing isn’t going to do much in our situation, with my other half’s dumb ass sperm. I mean, those sperm are so relaxed, they ain’t movin’ anywhere! (Sorry, not sure why I’m going all street!)

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to relax. But it’s hard when I feel I’m watching the life I thought I’d live gurgle down the plug hole while everyone else plays happy families.

It’s not just that, anyway. Work is a constant source of stress. It’s up and down like a yo-yo, and this week I’ve not stopped. So much for not doing overtime, and taking my breaks. I was up at 10pm last night, after starting at 8am. Then back on at 7:30am today, like the night never happened.

When you’re going through IVF, it’s important to limit stress. Take it easy, chill out, R&R… but how do you do this when life keeps throwing you curve balls?

I suppose I know what I can do more of, but putting it into practice is not always easy…

  1. Meditate – in the run-up to IVF round no. 1, I meditated every morning for six (yes, six!) whole minutes. And it felt good to clear my chattering mind, albeit very briefly. But I’ve not done it since. I should pick it back up again, really.
  2. Don’t drink too much… unless you need it – I’m doing pretty well (for me) on this one! But a weekend of social events awaits, and who knows how my willpower will hold out. I’m not going to beat myself up if I have one too many, though. This week has been bloody hard. And if it helps me unwind, then there you go.
  3. Drink less caffeine – tick! I’m down from three to two cups a day. Whoop! (I know caffeine isn’t stressful, but it can make some people anxious if they have too much, so I thought this might help).
  4. Sleep well – well, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night every day this week, thinking about work. Not good. But I’m going to bed at a reasonable time, so I’m doing all I can here.
  5. Write it down – this really helps me, actually. And although I’m not pouring my heart out into a diary every day, doing this blog is extremely therapeutic. It’s also helping me…
  6. Find another focus – other than IVF. See point 5. (Yes, I know this blog is largely about IVF, but give me a break!).
  7. Exercise – yes, another tick! I’ve going for a run twice this week, and will head to the gym first thing tomorrow. So I will get fit for IVF no. 2! Plus, it helps with number 6 on this list, too.
  8. Remember it’s only a job – I’m talking about my work now, rather than IVF, which is another job in itself. Look, I write stuff for a living. I don’t save lives, and no one will die if I get something wrong. So put it into perspective.
  9. Eat well – I have eaten so much broccoli this week, it’s coming out of my chuffing ears! I am definitely getting my five a day, and eating sensibly. And taking my five vitamin supplements. So that’s good, then.
  10. Say no to social stuff – I have done more of this, especially since our recent failed IVF cycle. And I’m trying to do it more. Yes, it’s important not to hide away from people, but if I want to look after my sanity, I need plenty of ‘me’ time to recharge.

So they’re my top 10 and, do you know what? I’m doing more than I thought I was to look after myself. So what’s your strategy for coping with life when it all gets too much? Please share your ideas below!

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