How to handle the stress that comes with trying to conceive

Trying to get pregnant can be extremely stressful. Not only do you have to maintain your daily work schedule but now you have the added doctor appointments, fertility appointments, time to take your medications and/or supplements. The list goes on.

Do you ever feel like you are constantly on the go? Trying to finish your next project, get to the next appointment or run your next errand. Having such busy schedules, we can tend to not live in the moment.

Have you ever brushed your teeth or washed the dishes and were not aware you completed the task because you were so caught up in your thoughts?

I know for myself I am always thinking about what has happened in the past or what is to come for the future. This is our brain on automatic pilot, meaning it is in constant motion without being in the moment.

Our bodies are built to handle stressful situations by activating a “fight or flight” response. This is when you may notice your heart racing, sweating and you start breathing faster. In turn, our body produces an excess amount of cortisol to deal with the stress at hand. However, over time this can be detrimental to our overall health and may prevent successful fertility outcomes. Becoming more mindful can be a step towards relieving everyday stress. Below are some ways in which you can step out of automatic pilot and become present with the moment.

1. Body Scan

Taking a few seconds out, multiple times a day, to check in with your body sensations in any given moment can be extremely therapeutic. Not only does it allow you become more in tune with your body, it will allow you to better handle any stressful situations. The body scan involves scanning the body from the top of the head to the tips of the toes looking for any sensations of discomfort or unpleasant feelings.

2. Just Breathe

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But in fact, many of us do not take long deep breaths. Connecting to our breath is one of the most impactful ways to be present with the moment and our body. One great strategy I have used in the past is taking a breath in for 4 counts, holding the breath for 4 counts and exhaling for 4 counts.  

3. Mindful activity

As mentioned previously, many of the activities we do on a daily basis become automatic movements and our mind can be off ruminating. Choose one activity you do every day and try to be mindful for every part of the activity. For example, if you are brushing your teeth notice how the brushes feel against each tooth, feel the toothpaste foam up in your mouth and be mindful of the circles your toothbrush makes as it moves from tooth to tooth, etc.

4. Positive affirmations

Believe it or not, our minds are very influential on how our body works. The more positive re-enforcement we can repeat to ourselves the more our brain will believe it and our body will respond in a positive way. Some positive affirmations that may help include – “I trust my body,” or “My body is capable of conceiving,” or “I accept myself.”

Being mindful doesn’t come easy. It takes time, patience and work. But it is a step in the right direction to easing daily stress and becoming present in each moment.

This article was originally posted on Fertility Matters Canada.



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