|Photo by LisaBPhoto on Flickr|
Self care is any deliberate or intentional act that promotes healing or relaxation. This is so important, especially during periods of high stress (like infertility!). But it's also very difficult. We get so caught up in the struggle and focus so much energy on trying to figure out a solution to a physical problem, that we forget to take care of our emotional well-being.
Since my miscarriage I have been dwelling on what happened and the traumatic experience that I went through. My mind is almost constantly thinking about it or infertility in general. I finally came to the realization that it's like an obsession. And in order to heal, I need to take a step back and focus on something else. I decided to improve my health, both emotionally and physically. And that's when I started focusing on self care.
So I've put together some tips and ideas on easy self care and I hope you can find one or two that will work for you. And remember, these are meant for repetition! Make it a daily or weekly routine to focus on self care.
Meditation is difficult. Especially if you're an over-thinker like me. It's very hard to quiet my mind and relax. But meditation can be very helpful, you just need to find the right type of meditation for you.
I found some great YouTube videos that have guided meditations, and those have really helped. Because you are listening to instructions you don't have time to think about something else. There are also CD's and downloads that you can purchase that offer different kinds of guided meditations. Find one that sounds good to you and give it a try.
We share so much of our lives on social media, but sometimes the really important or painful thoughts get locked up inside without an outlet. Start a journaling routine each night before bed. Write down your thoughts, fears, worries, or hopes. You don't have to worry about sentence structure, grammar, or even your handwriting. I find it helpful to write as quickly as I can to get my thoughts on paper without focusing on whether or not it's legible. Just make sure that your journal is private, so you don't have to worry about anyone reading your thoughts.
You'll obviously need a journal or some kind of notebook to do this. I would suggest that you find something pretty or inspirational to write in so you can look forward to it each night. Something like this or this would be perfect.
3) Take a Bath
Sometimes a long, hot bath can be a very relaxing and healing experience. Find some relaxing music, your favorite book, some candles, and really make it a soothing space for yourself. And if you like bubbles, add some that are fragrant with relaxing scents, such as lavender or vanilla. Or liven things up with some bath bombs or Epsom salts to really make it a luxurious experience. The point is to indulge your senses, so do whatever you want to make it an enjoyable and relaxing bath.
4) Treat Yourself
Infertility can get very expensive, especially if you're doing treatment cycles. And it can be hard to convince yourself to spend money on things unrelated to TTC. But it's important that you treat yourself every now and then. Do you have a favorite drink at Starbucks? Is there a shirt or pair of shoes that you've been dying to purchase? Or maybe you haven't gone to the movies in a while. Whatever it is, try to find time to treat yourself to something that you enjoy. If it makes you happy, I promise that it will be worth the cost.
5) Adult Coloring
This may sound strange, but have you ever colored as an adult? Everyone seems to think that coloring is for kids, but it can be a very relaxing experience for adults too. And when you're coloring, your mind is focused on the page in front of you instead of the stress or anxiety in your mind. It's very calming to fill in a beautiful design and watch as it comes to life with the colors you chose.
There are many coloring books made specifically for adults, with more complex designs or images to fill in. Here's one with various calming designs, or try this one if you like mandalas.
This is something I've recently started to try and I've been very surprised with the results. I'm not doing any hardcore exercises. I've never been a runner and I hate doing anything that's high intensity. So I found some exercises that work for me, and as I'm doing them I can feel my body working and slowly growing stronger. I've been doing a lot of yoga and pilates inspired training. Again, there are plenty of videos on YouTube to give you some ideas and you can do the exercises in the comfort of your own home. Just remember, start slow and work your way up if you are new to an exercise routine.
7) Get Outside
Do you have a favorite spot somewhere? Maybe a garden, hiking trail, or a bike path? Take some time outside surrounded by beauty, and make sure to leave your phone on silent or leave it at home. Plant flowers or tend to your garden. Walk around barefoot and feel the grass or dirt beneath your feet. Feel the wind in your hair and the warmth of the sun on your face. Or go outside at night and look for constellations, or study the moon. Do something to connect with nature.
8) Eat Whole
Comfort foods are delicious, but usually not good for you. Try to add more whole foods to your diet. Find things that you really enjoy, whether it's berries or a healthy salad. Even if you're just adding berries on top of a bowl of ice cream, it's better than nothing!
Do you have any other suggestions for self care? Share them below!