When you and your partner started to plan for a family, you probably hoped it wasn’t long before you could share the good news. However, life doesn’t always go as planned and the stress of coping with fertility problems can become overwhelming. And when you’re trying to increase your chances of becoming pregnant, stress is not ideal. According to a study conducted at Ohio State University, stress can reduce your odds of becoming pregnant by as much as 29 percent.
Learning how to manage and reduce your stress can significantly improve your ability to become pregnant. This week marks Infertility Awareness Week, and our experts are providing three effective ways to cope with stress if you’re facing infertility. These methods don’t just provide stress relief, but can actually help improve your chance of becoming pregnant.
1. Start practicing yoga
Yoga involves a series of meditation and deep-breathing exercises that can help you reduce and relieve stress naturally. Doing one or two 90-minute yoga sessions per week can help reduce your stress levels by as much as 30 percent, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga.
If you’ve never done yoga before, enroll in a beginner’s class and progress from there. When you finally do become pregnant, consider enrolling in a prenatal yoga class so you can stay fit throughout pregnancy.
2. Engage in cardio exercise
Cardio exercises such as running, swimming, cycling, and dancing help improve blood flow and circulation, which contribute to improved fertility health. Plus, cardio exercise helps the neurons in your brain learn how to react to stress in a more healthy way — resulting in a decreased risk for long-term stress. The study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests engaging in cardio exercise for 30 minutes, five days per week.
3. Dive into a major project
Tackling a major project — whether it’s personal or work-related — can battle stress by helping you feel more responsible and in control of your life. Some couples who face fertility problems tend to feel as if they’ve lost control of their lives due to their inability to become pregnant. But assuming a leadership position at work or in your personal life can naturally help reduce your stress levels.
Ask your boss if you can lead a new high-level work project, or start working on a personal project you’ve been meaning to start — such as writing a book, cleaning out the garage, or sorting old photos into a scrapbook. As long as you don’t feel stressed tackling a project, this should help take your mind off of things and create a positive distraction.
Women’s Care Florida offers evaluation and testing that can help pinpoint the cause of infertility and determine which treatment would be appropriate based on your health history. Contact WCF to schedule an appointment and to learn more about how we can help you take care of you.
Stress can creep up on you at any moment. Whether you’re having a busy day at work or are stuck in rush-hour traffic, stress is sometimes unavoidable. Although a little stress is OK, too much of it can lead to health issues such as weight gain and obesity. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Obesity found a link between high-stress levels and a greater body weight.
The study looked at over 2,500 men and women over the age of 50. Stress was measured by a person’s cortisol levels, a stress hormone found in a 2-centimeter hair clipping (two month’s worth of hair growth), according to a New York Times article about the study.
Researchers found that the higher the cortisol levels, the greater the body weight. Researchers noted that they were unable to determine whether the high cortisol levels are a cause or a consequence of obesity. However, other studies have shown that high stress prompts people to turn to high-calorie “comfort foods.” Ever heard of the term “stress eating?” Well, there’s a lot of truth to that.
Women’s Care Florida wants you to know there are alternate, healthier ways to cope with stress, and that turning to food isn’t always the answer. Instead, follow some of these helpful, stress-relieving tips:
All you need is a few minutes a day to relax the mind and meditate. Find a quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. Try not to let any unwanted thoughts cloud your mind.
Listen to Music
Studies show that listening to music can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Either find music that will soothe your soul or crank up the beat and dance your worries away.
You don’t just have to hit the gym to relieve stress. Walking, riding a bike, taking a yoga class, etc. are all great ways to get your blood pumping and your body moving. Exercise helps to release chemicals that make your body and mind feel good. Even a quick walk around the block will get the blood pumping and help take your mind off of what’s wrong.
Being mindful is a difficult thing to do, but it can help. It means to essentially “slow down time” and to appreciate the little things in life. Notice the sun shining down on your skin, or feel the cold water as you splash into a pool. Not only will this help reduce stress, but may give you a greater appreciation for your life.
If you’re grappling with stress-related weight gain and want assistance, check out one of Women’s Care Florida’s weight loss programs or schedule an appointment with one of our highly-skilled experts today.
To learn more about the study, click here.
Long lines at the stores, skyrocketing credit card bills and burnt turkeys are all the hallmarks of a stressful holiday season. With increased stress comes decreased health, making it hard to stay fit—or happy—during the holidays.
But holiday stress is a tradition you don’t have to take part in. Follow the five steps below for a holly, jolly and stress-free holiday.
Set realistic holiday expectations
Everyone’s pictures on Facebook will show perfect holiday moments. You’ll see smiling children, dogs in cute sweaters and perfectly baked desserts. What you don’t see, however, are the moments where the kids were crying, the dog made a mess and the pies went in the garbage because they came out like a lump of coal.
The first step in managing holiday stress is to set realistic expectations. Life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Your kids will get upset. Your family might fight. Your gingerbread house might crumble. Your holidays can still be great. Instead of focusing on the mishaps, focus on the exciting parts of the holidays: your children’s faces lit by holiday lights, the chance to be with your family, the way you’ll laugh about that coal pie next year.
Get started early
Black Friday doesn’t have to be the first day of the holiday shopping season. Get started early on buying gifts so you can choose from a large selection and have time to wait for sales that meet your budget. Ask people for lists, too, so you can be sure they get what they really want.
You can even get started on holiday cooking and baking early; simply freeze the dishes or cookie dough. These techniques will save you time during the holiday rush.
Share the wealth of work
If you are hosting holiday get-togethers, you have to clean and decorate your house, stock up on supplies and handle all the clean up. Make hosting easier on yourself by asking others to bring dishes. Give your partner or kids a list of things to do to help, whether it is going grocery shopping or vacuuming the floors. By delegating some of the work, you can lower your stress and have more time to enjoy the holidays with your family.
Pick your priorities
It seems there are more holiday traditions and obligations than time during those precious few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You don’t have to participate in all of them; pick your favorites instead.
Don’t enjoy baking? Don’t make cookies. Don’t see the point in holiday cards? Don’t send them. Don’t want to go to the neighborhood holiday party again this year? Have a night in with your family instead. Though you might feel pressure to participate in everything, remember the holiday season is about being merry and bright. Do what’s right for you and your family to ensure you feel that way.
Take a vacation
If you associate the holidays with bad memories or just don’t enjoy the holiday season, don’t feel pressured to celebrate. Instead, take a vacation. Get away for a while with friends or family or even on your own. You can even enjoy a staycation wherever you are by visiting tourist attractions you’d normally skip or trying new restaurants.
Remember: there is no single, perfect holiday season. Everyone celebrates differently, so find a way to truly enjoy your celebrations without stress. For more seasonal tips, read “Fun Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays.”
From everyone at Women’s Care Florida, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday.