Authored by: Jennifer Dickey, Registered Acupuncturist
Oh, the holiday season. That time of year for get-togethers, gift purchases, food, and cheer. Tis the season to be merry, but for a lot of people, it's the time for stress levels to skyrocket! As great as it is, the holidays can also be a difficult time, particularly for individuals and couples dealing with infertility.
The constant social & family gatherings and children’s excitement centered around this time of year can intensify the emotional ups and downs that come with fertility struggles. Here are a few suggestions to help you navigate through the holidays and remember, it’s okay to prioritize your emotional well-being and take the necessary steps to cope with these challenging times.
JUST SAY NO
It’s often hard to say no when those party invites come out, but give yourself the gift of boundaries this holiday season! You are not obligated to anybody but yourself and your mental and emotional well-being. Ask yourself if an event might trigger negative emotions and consider how it may or may not impact you. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations and stick to the events you know you’ll have fun at. Start a new holiday tradition. Maybe stay in and be cozy watching movies with your partner, or if you’re feeling social, spend time with people who will make you feel good about where you’re at.
If you feel that there is no way you can skip out on an event give yourself some time to prepare ways to feel you have control over your circumstance. Bring a support person to help if you feel overwhelmed, or to help if you need to make a quick exit. Have some canned responses ready If you have a prying family member who may be there.
CONNECT WITH YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable this time of year, seek support from loved ones you’ve confided in to help deflect any awkwardness or unsolicited comments when you attend a gathering. If you’ve kept your journey private, you can always reach out to a fertility support group or perhaps a therapist or other practitioner you’ve been seeing. You don’t have to deal with this alone.
TAKE A BREAK
Take a short break from it all (unless you’re already on a schedule). Sometimes it's nice to just feel like “yourself” again and not hyperfocus on timing, what you’re eating, and all the medication. Have that second helping of dessert and a glass of cheer. Allow yourself to feel more at ease during this time of year.
MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
Be kind to yourself. Limit your obligations, and be selective of what events you commit to. Carve out more time to do the things that bring you joy, whether that’s working out, eating some good food, or taking a bath with a book. Treat yourself to a day at a spa, or hangout with a friend. Book a massage or Acupuncture session to help with stress. Give yourself a gift this year - you deserve it!