Infertility, under normal conditions is challenging. Add COVID-19, wildly divisive times and the growing attentiveness to racial inequality and you may be wilting more than you would have in the old “normal” times. As for the infertility side of things, break time can be exactly what’s needed.
What does a break look like for you? What are you taking a break from? It could be recognizing that you’re being too hard on yourself; shifting perspective to what you’re doing that’s healthy instead of what you’re not doing; bolstering the reality and feelings of infertility with an educational slant; offering yourself loving kindness; discovering radical self-care and acceptance; or maybe something else entirely.
I’ve come up with 5 ways you can take back your life with a three to four-minute break.
5 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself and Others
- Hit a pause button once an hour. Take one minute to yourself. Set the timer on your phone and close your eyes. Repeat this mantra, “I am present, I am enough,” until the alarm goes off. Open your eyes and resume your activities.
- Stand up and move 3-8 feet in any direction. Stop. Pretend you have blinders on and can only see whatever’s directly in front of you, but you can move your head up and down so you can see a strip of landscape. Observe the colors, shapes, objects, textures, lighting that are in your vision’s path. Move your head slowly, letting your eyes rest on each different aspect of what you’re seeing.
- In any conversation or meeting, listen carefully to what is being said. Refocus on what you’re hearing rather than how you would like to respond; even if you agree or disagree. Pay attention to the tone, the expression, and the body language of the person speaking. Finally, concentrate on hearing more than just the words being said.
- As you’re sitting, push yourself back so you have some room in front of you. Place your hands on top of your thighs. Lift your feet up so your legs are straight. Then lower them. Keep repeating this. Feel your thighs underneath your hands and your hands on top of your thighs. Admire the way your knees and legs are working to raise and lower. Allow yourself to become completely absorbed in the sensations of your body.
- Write yourself a love note. Start with something easy that you admire about yourself. Write at least four sentences about your attributes and talents, then add one more about something you’d like to forgive yourself for.
You Already Know What You Need to Know
Some useful resources to help manage reproductive health, infertility, fertility treatment, and life in general.
- Hear from other fertility patients how treatment is during COVID-19
- Together, let’s dispel myths surround fertility and women of color
- Resource list provided by Broken Brown Egg
- If you’re struggling with Endometriosis
- A long-awaited book, “The Trying Game,” by Amy Klein, who’s also a fertility patient
- When you’re wondering what to expect if you’re just starting treatment
- An amazing resource for all LGBTQ+ people
- PCOS information, education, and support
- Simple lifestyle tips for men that can improve overall being, plus fertility potential
Focus on Self-Care
A few reminders how to put yourself first; keep up other health appointments, like the dentist and other specific health care professionals you need to see regularly.
When All Else Fails, What Now?
Watch something (trashy or inspiring), read something, write something, paint something, plant something, cook something, order food in, try a meditation challenge. We’re all only human.
You Are Enough
Radical self-acceptance preaches that you are good enough exactly as you are. It’s time to give yourself a break from all the “shoulds” and ”shouldn’ts.”
Looking for a close knit group of people going who are perhaps going through a similar experience?
With 30+ years experience in the fertility field, as well as navigating her own infertility, Lisa has dedicated her life to advocating for and supporting those struggling to grow their families. Her work includes serving as Illume Fertility's Patient Advocate, Strategic Content Lead, and founder of Fertile Yoga, as well as advocating for those with infertility at RESOLVE and other organizations.