My theme this year is IVF/ICSI, a process we’re starting at the moment and today it’s R for Relaxation.
I’ve mentioned in a couple of my other posts about how stressful the IVF process can be, as well as how important it is to take time out for yourself for a little bit of pampering and relaxation. I thought this would be a good chance to go into a little bit of detail about how I like to relax.
Different people will relax in different ways, that goes without saying. What you might also find is that what normally helps you to relax, doesn’t during treatment. Towards the end of my cancelled cycle I was no longer comfortable being on my feet for long periods of time; considering I really enjoy taking our Labrador, Tara, for long walks, especially when I’m feeling stressed, this wasn’t much of an option for me.
It’s just a question of adapting to what works for you; a relaxing shower, a good book, a craft or hobby that you enjoy. You can buy CDs or MP3s of relaxing music (as well as IVF specific ones, which I’ll talk about more on Saturday in my V post) which some people find helpful as well.
While it would be nice to get into a relaxed state and just stay that way for the rest of the treatment process, we all know that’s not possible. It is possible to try and avoid stressful situations. Again, not always possible, but you can always try. Hide people on Facebook whose posts irritate you, don’t get drawn into conversations that you know will wind you up, walk away from things if you can. You’re under enough stress and pressure as it is, you don’t need to add to it.
Remember as well that your partner needs time to relax as well. It’s a stressful time for them as well; they’ll probably be watching you going through all the tests and treatment and their involvement will be relatively limited (aside from the obvious bit towards the end). Give them opportunities to unwind as well; let them go out and let their hair down, have a long relaxing soak in the tub, take the dog for a nice long relaxing walk. ;-) It’s easy to get very focused on yourself during IVF treatment and your partner is going through it as well but may often get forgotten.
If you’ve got a friend or family member going through treatment, try to remember that this is a stressful period in their lives and they’ll be grateful for not being riled up. You might be able to offer them opportunities to unwind or help take the pressure off them in some way. And above all, remember that both partners are going through the treatment, so don’t just focus on the one who is getting all the drugs and tests.