This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure here.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care during infertility. Self-care is important in general, but it becomes especially important during infertility and treatment cycles. (I’m not alone in thinking about self-care in relation to infertility. Your fellow infertility sisters Angela and Justine have some great resources on the topic, as well).
I feel like the phrase “self-care” has become a buzzword recently, and it’s easy to just throw it around without thinking about what it really means. For me, self-care is the activities and habits that allow me to function at my physical, emotional, and spiritual best. Those activities and habits may vary slightly depending on the season of life, but my must-haves are:
- Adequate sleep
- Home-cooked meals (I’m a picky eater and find it much harder to eat healthy when I eat out)
- Daily quiet and solitude (for thinking, Bible reading, prayer, etc.)
- Time for reading and creating (blogging, writing, etc.), several times a week
- Contact with close friends a few times a month (I’m an introvert and don’t require a lot of socializing)
- Quality time with my husband and family
- Moderate exercise (usually walking or yoga), a few times a week
If any one of these things aren’t happening in my life, I feel out-of-whack and unhealthy. There are also lots of other self-care activities that I enjoy and that add to my well-being, but they aren’t necessary like the first list. These include:
- Doing my hair & nails
- Cleaning / organizing my space
- Occasional socializing with larger groups of people I’m comfortable with
Many people would add travel and outdoor activities to their list, but not me. I’m more of an indoor gal!
When I was going through IVF, I definitely stepped-up the self-care routine. I went to acupuncture at least once a week, took naps after work, and ate a lot healthier than normal. Honestly, it required a lot of planning and preparation to take care of myself during IVF. It was tough to fit in acupuncture appointments with all the blood work, scans, and doctor visits. And some nights, especially after several days of stims, cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. But I knew that it was worth it in terms of my overall well-being.
Good self-care will serve you well during infertility, but it will also help you stay afloat during whatever comes next. If you are blessed with a pregnancy, you will have the foundation you need to take care of yourself during those nine months and the exhaustion that follows childbirth. And if you adopt or live a childfree life, the habits you created before will help support you during that transition, too.
So my challenge to you is to take the time to think about what self-care looks like for you. Identify the habits and activities that help you feel your physical, emotional, and spiritual best, and think about how you can start working them into your life.
Resources for Further Reading
- The Importance of Self Care (a playlist of 9 AWESOME Ted-Talks on self-care)
- Self-Care & Self-Denial (an interesting article on a Biblical view of self-care)
- Why We’ve Got to Re-Define the Term “Self-Care” (a thought-provoking article on the difference between self-care and self-comfort)
And now… the Giveaway!
In order to help you jump-start your own self-care practice, I’ve created a self-care kit to give away to one lucky reader (U.S. readers only. My apologies to readers from other countries!). The kit is worth over $90 and includes:
- Home Sweet Home: A Hand Crafted Adult Coloring Book. This is a fun, creative way to relax and be creative. ($14.95 value)
- Journal from Dayspring. (Approximately $10 value).
- Paperback copy of You’re Going to Be Okay: Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days by Holley Gerth. ($15 value)
- Cute dish towels from Design Imports. These will be great for cleaning up after healthy meals and snacks! (Approximately $10 value)*
- Bucky 40 Blinks Ultra Lite Sleep Mask. To help you sleep as soundly as possible! ($12.50 value)*
- Bath salts from European Soaps Wholesale. A nice, warm soak always does the soul well! (Approximately $16 value)*
- A paperback copy of my book, 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility. ($9.99 value)
- $5 Starbucks gift card. Take a friend out for a coffee!
*Special thanks to Bucky Brands and their sister companies for providing these items for the gift basket
Head Over to My Facebook Page to Enter the Giveaway! (UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed).
All photos courtesy of UnSplash