Holiday Stress Reduction

Posted on December 21, 2007 by Inception Fertility

Mind/body therapies are frequently initiated for groups with serious medical conditions, from lupus to multiple sclerosis to major heart disease. It is only natural that the more critical an illness, the more anxiety it can induce, thus potentially inducing accelerated and aggravated symptoms. Breaking this vicious stress/body cycle through the use of stress reduction techniques can provide an overall improvement in health. For those experiencing infertility, the hope is that breaking this cycle would lead to an improved ability to conceive. Skeptics point out that millions of people, under extremely stressful circumstances, regularly get pregnant. But some facts are clear: ongoing chronic stress can affect menstrual function; change hormone levels; alter blood sugar; increase heart rate and change a person's immune response. Pacific Fertility Center's team has examined the scientific, medical and anecdotal information surrounding the topic of stress and infertility. We have found that various stress reducing techniques are likely to have an overall positive impact on a patients' general health. For this reason, PFC continues to offer classes modeled around Dr. Alice Domar's mind/body practice (see for more information on Dr. Domar and Mind/Body@PFC WorkshopsCarolyn Givens, MD and Isabelle Ryan, MD Coping is developing the ability to manage in a difficult situation. Excited children, crowded stores, decorations, and holiday parties are descending upon us. Yet because the winter holidays tend to celebrate families and children, these usually joyous occasions can bring up painful feelings when you are struggling to create and celebrate with a family of your own. In order to feel as good as possible during the holidays, you will need to develop some good holiday coping skills. Use whichever of these suggestions seem helpful to you. Do what feels right for you. DO: Give up any and all guilt for how you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to experience infertility. Your feelings may run the gamut from indifference to intense anger and despair and everywhere in between. DO: Reach out to childfree friends. Their parties will be adult-focused. DO: Choose the gatherings you attend carefully. If being around children upsets you, gracefully decline invitations to events where they are likely to be present. Know your limits and stick with them. DO: Think of non-child centered holiday rituals. Take a vacation. Eat at a fancy restaurant. DO: Continue to exercise moderately, eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest. You will feel better if you treat your body with care. DO: Shop for the holidays online or from catalogs. You will avoid mall madness. DO: Attend religious services at the time when there will be the least number of children. Attend a service on a university campus, which is more adult focused. DO: Volunteer at a nursing home or homeless shelter. It may help others having difficulty coping and in turn may help you. DO: Plan for how you will answer uninvited questions about when you're going to have children. Remember, you are not required to tell them your entire "story!" DO: Meet and talk with others who are experiencing similar feelings. Finding that you are not alone helps. DO: Communicate with your partner to let him/her know of your feelings. If you are single, call a friend with whom you feel safe sharing your feelings. Peggy Orlin, MFT

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