Despite the cheer and and joyful rhetoric, many of us know that the holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year. Holidays can feel emotionally overwhelming. They can be a particularly difficult time for those trying to conceive.
For individuals, and couples, navigating infertility, the holidays can stir up a range of difficult emotions. Seeing pregnant family members, hearing stories of successful pregnancies, and being asked the same questions over and over again can be triggering. It’s completely normal to feel sadness, jealousy, and even anger.
It’s important to take care of your emotional wellbeing during the holidays. Here are a few tips for navigating the pressures of the holiday season in a way that feels right for you.
1. Establish healthy boundaries.
It’s OK to tell family and friends that you’d rather not discuss your infertility journey. If you are looking for ideas about what you can say in response to insensitive, unhelpful, or hurtful comments about fertility, check out our guide.
2. Take a break.
Remember that it’s alright to give yourself a break from the holiday festivities if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t feel comfortable attending holiday events, or you recognize that a night in would feel more fulfilling and energizing, it’s OK to politely decline. There will always be another Christmas party or cocktail hour.
3. Ask for help.
It can be scary to ask for help, but it's important to remember that you're not a bad person or a failure if you need help. You are just human. No one expects you to tackle everything alone. And what's more, taking care of yourself is the only way you can make sure you are equipped to help others.
4. Give yourself permission to feel
The holidays can come with pressure to be joyful and cheerful all of the time. Remind yourself that any feelings that come up this season are valid, even the uncomfortable ones.
When things get busy and stressful, sometimes it can feel like we have no choice but to push through it all and soldier on. Taking care of your mental health should be a top priority, even when things get busy. Instead of trying to ignore the feelings that pop up, give yourself permission to feel. Use this information to guide your decisions and take what you need to care for your body and mind.
Treat this holiday season as an opportunity to practice offering yourself grace.
5. Make time for self-care.
Healthy self-care is essential throughout the year, but it’s especially so during the holidays. It’s important to remember that self-care looks different for everyone.
We often think of self-care as looking like taking a long bath surrounded by candles while drinking tea, and it can. But there isn’t just one right way to practice self-care. It can be spending time in nature or getting some quiet time alone at home. Self-care can mean making sure you're eating balanced meals; making a date to FaceTime a friend who lives far away.
Taking time to do things that make you feel good can help you stay positive, and remain in the moment.
6. Move your body
Exercise is essential for trying to conceive and for managing your mental health. If the weather prohibits outdoor exercising, try working out indoors instead. Working out at home is a great way to make sure that you're staying active even if there's snow on the ground outside.
7. Try to get outside
If you can, get outside in the sun. Research shows that fresh air is beneficial for mental health and can help clear your mind. Even if it’s cold where you live, or the weather is less than ideal, going for a brief walk will help keep you feeling refreshed and energized while also giving you some space from conflicts or tensions arising at home. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun on your face.
8. Prioritizing getting enough sleep.
Sleep is essential for your emotional and physical health, so it's important to prioritize getting enough sleep each night. If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, consider the following tips:
Establish a regular bedtime routine. Go through your nightly ritual at the same time every evening before bed, whether it’s taking a bath or reading a book. This will help your body wind down and prepare for sleep.
Try not to eat too many carbs late in the day; they can make it hard to fall asleep later on. Instead, opt for low-carb meals earlier in the day (like in our Dinner Plan).
Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet so you don't wake up during the night due to noises or light entering through windows. You may need blackout curtains or an eye mask if this is an issue for you.
9. Talk to someone.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help to reach out to someone you trust. Having a support system is essential. Whether it’s talking to a therapist, joining a support group, or confiding in a friend, it’s important to have a place where you feel safe expressing your feelings.
We’re also proud to offer the Oova Holiday Hotline. This is a text-based support service that provides guidance and support when you need it. Our team is available to talk through your feelings, provide information, and help you find the resources you need.
You're not alone
Navigating infertility during the holidays can be a difficult experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
At Oova, we understand the unique challenges of navigating fertility during the holidays. We’re here to provide support and understanding for you. Regardless of where you are in your infertility journey.
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