The holidays cause stress for almost everybody. When you’re struggling with infertility, the constant emphasis on having the “perfect family” can become unbearable. Television bombards us with images of beautiful, rosy-cheeked infants and children gathered around a Christmas tree opening presents. These images may create unrealistic expectations and can exacerbate feelings of sadness, loss, inadequacy and anger. Here are a few tips to help you experience a more joyous and peaceful holiday season.
- It sounds corny, but do try to eat regular meals, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. This will serve to inoculate you against stress.
- Practice deep breathing, meditation, or other relaxation techniques to unwind and recharge.
- Shop online to minimize the stress and hassle of purchasing gifts.
- Decide early which holiday invitations you will keep and which ones you will decline.
- Attend parties and gatherings where you have supportive family, friends, and co-workers. Avoid those where you anticipate that you are going to feel uncomfortable, invalidated or unsupported.
- If you are asked to participate in an activity that you may find too emotionally painful (e.g., baptism of friend’s new baby), politely decline. Infertility can make you feel emotionally raw and vulnerable.
- Plan a special time with your partner to celebrate the holiday. Try to incorporate traditions that you had as a couple. Use this time to reconnect and rekindle positive emotions.
- If you simply cannot get out of an obligation that you expect to be stressful, then follow the “make an appearance” rule. Remember, taking care of yourself right now is a priority.
- If you find it difficult to deal with the daily onslaught of holiday cards, photos, and letters, postpone opening them until your partner or a trusted friend can be with you.
To learn more about how to deal with stress during the holidays, contact CARE Fertility today!