Infertility can be heartbreaking, and once you are diagnosed with it, it can be difficult to focus on other things. Studies have shown that mental health and stress levels play a vital role in fertility, and can make conceiving even more difficult. To keep your mind off the subject of infertility and give your body the stress relief it needs, try these 5 distraction tactics:
1. Try a New Hobby: It might seem cliché, but busy hands help to busy the mind as well. Some relaxing hobbies to try include knitting, crocheting, painting, sketching, participating in a sport, joining a music group, and needlepoint. You might not picture yourself as the arts and crafts type, but you might be surprised at how quickly you pick these up and how nice it feels to have your mind focused elsewhere.
Some hobbies, like knitting and crochet, can be extremely straightforward once you know the basic stitches. Many men and women find comfort in creating everything from dishcloths to slippers, and you can do this while you watch television, chat on the phone, or listen to music. Not sure how to get started? In the age of the digital world, you can find tutorials on just about anything through streaming sites like YouTube and social media sites like Pinterest.
2. Get Active: If you just can’t picture yourself cross stitching or toll painting, try something more active to avoid thinking about the “F” word (fertility). The summer months are especially great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and swimming. What’s more relaxing than a cool dip in the lake or a swim in the ocean on a hot day?
Getting outside and moving will not only keep your mind busy, it will also boost your endorphins naturally, which help promote positive feelings. You can share this positivity with your partner by staying active together. Try tandem biking in the park, canoeing across a pond, or sea kayaking in a double kayak.
3. Pick Up a Book: Everybody has a book list, but many never get around to reading the books on that list. This is a great time for you to dust off that stack of soft covers you’ve been saving for a rainy day or boot up your e-reader for an afternoon of literary adventure. Reading helps you escape to a whole new world, experience new sights and locations through the words of the author. This is a great way to get away from the mundane and relieve your brain of all those infertility thoughts.
Steer clear of books relating to pregnancy, infertility, or children if you want to keep your mind free of fertility thoughts. Focus on big adventures, thrillers, historical dramas or even horror. Choose something you can really sink your teeth into and spend some quality “me time” with your book.
4. Plan a Vacation: Having something to look forward to will really help soothe your soul and create a positive space to escape from fertility thoughts. Sit down with your partner and plan a dream vacation right down to the last detail. Maybe it’s not something you can afford to do in the next year, but set a goal and get really detailed.
Think about foods you want to try while you’re away, where you’ll stay, sites you’ll visit, things to pack, and souvenirs you want to bring back. Not only will it help clear your mind, but you’ll wind up with a great itinerary for your next vacation.
5. Take a Class: Whether it’s a cooking class or learning a new language, focusing on something other than conceiving a baby will help your mental health. Having homework to focus on will keep your mind busy when you’re not in class and making new acquaintances outside of your usual social circle, means not having to talk about the same old issues. Being around new people who don’t yet know about your struggle with fertility can be refreshing.
Of course, infertility isn’t something that will magically go away, but taking a break from the exhaustion of thinking about it 24/7 will reduce some anxiety and let you sleep better at night.