Tag Archives: managing stress

How to Get Up Again

3 Feb

Resilience.jpg

I’ve been contemplating resilience.

resilience_def

A word often used to describe me. As if this is a special personality trait that I have which is admired by others. I’ve heard this word a lot over the past few days.

The truth is: that whilst I rise rather quickly from a fall, it is actually the shell of me going about business while my soul is slowly putting the pieces together. Does this make me a damn good actor or does the body have to get up before the heart and soul is ready to repair and come to the party? Well whatever the answer, it works for me. I don’t know if it is resilience or actually just survival though.

This is what I do to get back up again and prepare for the challenge in front of me:

1. Clean up. I feel more motivated and worthy in a clean space. I find if I let my house turn to shit, it creates an inner dialogue of how crap I am and how crap the situation is. Crap creates crap, if you know what I mean. When I get rid of the external crap I find it easier to control the inner crap.

2. Write a list. It’s comforting for me to have things to do. Mapping it out gives me purpose to get up. And crossing things off the list creates a sense of achievement. Positive!

3. Make an effort with my appearance. I can be a total feral at times and not brush my hair for days and wear my pajamas like a uniform. This is a favourite past time of mine however, when feeling low this past time turns from free spirit to down and out. When times are tough, if I can look in the mirror and not cringe, that’s a very good thing. I actually got four cold sores on my forehead, so you can imagine how beautiful my hair was to counteract this hideousness!

4. Walk. Walking is a great way to practice mindfulness when meditation seems to hard. I’m lucky that I live in an area with lots of bush walks but any walk is good for the soul.

5. Eat some healthy food. Once I’ve inhaled the toxic Doritos, ice cream and toasted cheese mountains – Forcing myself to make something healthy sends a message to myself that I am worth the effort and that my body deserves better.

6. Accept invitations (conditional). I would prefer to talk to no-one when I have taken a fall but after a few days it is important to get back to friends, even when I dont feel like it. Willingly creating isolation is a fast track from bad to worse. This is however conditional in the early stages. I hate pep talks, especially from friends/family who have children and think they understand what I’m going through. If you have children then you do not understand. Sorry, that may seem harsh but the real pain for me is the prospect of not having a child. I dont begruge my beautiful friends/family who have children, they just can’t possibly understand how I feel, that’s all. Friends mean well but I’m in survival mode at the moment and can’t deal with the pep talk. Just send me your love and if I want your advice, I will ask you.

 

Festive Season Survival

25 Dec

Christmas is tough for people experiencing fertility challenges. It’s all about the kids, right! Everywhere you look there are families enjoying the glorious wonders of Christmas. A harsh reminder that this is something you don’t have.

Even the lead up is a torturous time; you can’t turn the television on without being bombarded with adverts involving gorgeous children with their equally gorgeous mothers having the time of their lives!

In fact, these messages happen all throughout the year but it just seems more poignant at this time of the year. Why? Because this time of the year is all about family and any woman who desires a family has fantasized about this festive season with a child.

I find myself daydreaming about the bigger, more elaborate Christmas tree I would have. Oh and the presents I would buy and the food I would make and the smiles we would share. What fun we would have!

When the daydream stops and reality sets in, so does the absence of the child you so desperately want.

This is a call out to all women struggling over this time: Please know that it is okay to experience these emotions. Acknowledge them, feel them and move on so you can creatively visualise the family yet to come. Getting stuck on focusing on the absence will not help you create.

What helps me to not get stuck in focusing on the absence is:

  1. Practicing mindfulness. It’s difficult to remain in a negative thought pattern when practicing to be present in the moment. I use a great app called Headspace which has emergency guided meditations when the mind is really in a spin.
  2. Spend time alone in nature. This is very important for women as we are very intuitive and nature helps us connect with our inner knowledge.
  3. Don’t feel obliged to attend all festive events. If it’s getting too much for you, say no. Your emotional well being is more important than pleasing others.
  4. Try to stay away from social media during this time. No explanation required.
  5. Focus on what’s good in your life. I keep a vision board which I use to focus on what is good right now, as well as what I want in the future. Some people keep a gratitude journal.

For those of us actually undergoing fertility treatment over this period – it is so important to remain as positive as possible. Put yourself first and let your emotions guide you in how you should spend your time. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it!

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Sending you much love and positivity over this time. May the new year bring you everything you desire.

A day as Linda Blair

1 Aug

Synarel. The drug that causes so many women madness and mayhem.

Last time I did an IVF cycle I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I sailed through the “down period”, moaning only of the fact that I had to spray liquid up my nose. Hmmm? This time however, I was lucky enough to spend the Saturday just past as a head spinning, eye popping freak who even managed to turn the organic oil man at the markets into an enemy. Actually, in all fairness he really picked the wrong day to be making persistant romantic advances at me. Couldn’t he see I was possessed by a demon?

Anyway, I woke from a fitful sleep and a dreadful dream and the day just spiraled downward from there. I was teary for no reason. And when I say “teary” I really mean “sobbing”. Everything was an effort. Oh and the negative thoughts! I met a friend at the market and continued my quest to be the most negative person on earth. “What’s that revolting smell”, “OMG what is that person eating”, “It’s ridiculous that Mr T (my adoring boyfriend) says he loves me more as the weeks go on” – yes, I actually whinged about that!

The worst part was the anxiety. I found myself at times having to remind myself to breathe. And the simple act of parking whilst the neighborhood busy body watched my every move nearly ended in cold blooded murder.

Linda Blair in the Exorcist really scared me – it’s an image which still induces a shudder when brought to mind. That’s how I feel about myself on Saturday. Okay, I wasn’t actually that bad but I wasn’t myself, that’s for sure.

Yep. Synarel.

Synarel nasal spray contains the active ingredient nafarelin which acts on the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland produces and stores various hormones, including the sex hormones, luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). In women, FSH and LH cause the production of oestrogen by the ovaries and help control the menstrual cycle. Chronic administration of nafarelin desensitises the pituitary gland. This means that it produces less and less FSH and LH, which in turn stops the production of oestrogens in women. This provides a more controlled situation for subsequent artificial stimulation of the ovaries to produce eggs.

Anyway,  estrogen fluctuations have been known to affect the emotional state, causing shifts between sadness (check – the sobbing), anger (check – busy body’s escape from near death), confusion (check – bagging my gorgeous boyfriend for loving me), and in some cases, anxiety (check – lack of ability to involuntary breathe) or depression (I escaped this one – phew).

So I had a bad day. I managed to sleep it off and made a pact with myself the following morning that I would not get out of bed until  I could easily bring to mind all the things I was grateful for. After thinking about all the wonderful people I have in my life, the lovely things I am fortunate to have around me, my delightful pets and the ease and happiness to which I am delivered more often than not- it was safe to walk out into the beautiful sunny day.

My heart goes out to the women who suffer the dreadful side effects of Synarel for days on end. I hear that some experience these mood swings for the duration of their cycle. Yuk! To these women, I send love x

It’s all about me

19 Feb

I realise now that this past week I have been working pretty damn hard for the happiness and prosperity of others. My mother is staying with me for a while so I need to make sure she is okay. I met someone I was interested in so I wanted to make sure that I reciprocated communication there. And I have been up at the crack of dawn to get through all the work needed to be done at my place of employment. This is fine and I don’t mind doing this BUT this is all whilst I am doing IVF!

What I have missed in all of this is: Who is looking after me? This is NOT a loaded statement. I don’t expect anyone to look after me because I am fully aware that this is my job and my job alone. I just haven’t been doing it very well.

All of this stress and separateness from myself manifested in a breaking point. I had worked myself up so much that when I was giving myself my second injection – I fainted. Yes, that’s right, I fainted “while” I was giving myself the injection. Fortunately, I managed to finish the job but only just. When I passed out I slid off the chair banging and grazing my shoulder. And I have no-one else to blame but myself here.

Many people think about their lives as something that just happens to them instead of something that they can create for themselves. I believe it is important to take responsibility for what we are attracting into our lives and how we react to it. It would have been very reasonable if I made the decision last week to nurture myself  and well, just put myself first. It’s not everyday one does IVF after all.

It’s a fairly common belief that a person can make another person feel bad or create an undesirable outcome for them. “She made me angry”, “My boss works me so hard and therefore I am exhausted when I get home”, “He is so demanding that I have no time for myself”. I don’t buy it. I am responsible for what I allow to happen to me. I can remove myself from a stressful situation. I can create time to nurture and replenish. I can set boundaries with my boss.

Of course most people understand this idea, at least intellectually or as it applies to other people. It’s applying the same principle to our own lives that causes the problems because it is hard and it takes work. Continuous work. As demonstrated last week – I have slipped up. BUT I have recognised it and now I can get back on track.

I am once again claiming my feelings and actions as my own. I take back the reins of ownership, responsibility and the consequential control that comes from that. Phew! This week I am going to be really good to myself. Actually, this week, I am going to give myself more attention than anyone else on this planet. Starting right now 🙂

Something for me to contemplate every day of the week:

1. Believe in myself

2. Find time to eat healthy and exercise

3. Practice silence

4. Express myself

5. Forgive myself

6. Stop comparing myself to others

7. Love myself


Peace Is Power

16 Sep

I work full time as a fundraising manager at a disability charity. Like most charities we are understaffed and overworked. A new general manager has just started and he wants to prove himself and make his mark which means we are extra busy right now.

I’ve built a solid career within the fundraising industry and the only thing I am interested in right now is winding down. I want to focus on my passions – documentary film making, reading, writing, having a baby…

Deadlines are looming and I am feeling stressed. This concerns me. Some studies have suggested a strong link with high stress and poor outcome for IVF. And quite frankly, who wants to be stressed anyway!? 

Fortunately, I have also come across a recent study in the journal Human Reproduction (January 29, 2009) which shows that symptoms of anxiety don’t reduce the chances of getting pregnant for women undergoing fertility treatments. http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogbaby/quipstipscouplesinfertility/stress-in-vitro-fertilization-success-rates/ 

But there is the period of pregnancy to consider as well. All in all, I am pretty sure it is better to avoid stress if at all possible. And there is the stress that is almost inevitable during IVF in any case. Some research indicates that women undergoing treatment for infertility have a similar level of stress as women dealing with life-threatening illnesses. WOW! Fortunately, I really don’t feel like that. However, I do understand that the stress levels during IVF treatment may impact my work life and social relationships. 

IVF treatment involves frequent blood tests and almost daily injections or nasal sprays of hormonal drugs. Basically, the initial treatment puts you into an artificial and temporary state of menopause. It therefore stands to reason that women are likely to experience menopausal symptoms during this part of the treatment cycle. These symptoms may include hot flushes, headaches, and mood swings. 

How on earth is this going to go down at work in an already tense environment – yikes!

Ultimately, it would pay to tell my colleagues what I am doing so they understand what I am going through but I’m not sure that is wise. I don’t think that my employer would be thrilled with my plans. And I really need my job right now. 

So I need to manage the stresses at work, make time for my yoga practice, at all cost, and accept that I may not make any friends in the near future. In fact, I may very well lose a few. (Can’t wait for those mood swings!) PEACE IS POWER!

I found this article about managing stress and I am going to start applying this now:

Seven Top Tips to help you maintain as much balance as possible during IVF and maximize your chances of becoming pregnant.

Tip 1: Put yourself first

Your health and peace of mind are paramount during your treatment. Learn to say “No” instead of stretching yourself to meet others’ needs and demands. You can always say, simply; “This is necessary for me right now. I hope you understand.”

Tip 2: Establish priorities

Priorities are based upon your needs, values and responsibilities. Rate each task from 1 to 10. Forget the “should”s and “ought-to”s and strike off anything you don’t need or want to do. Stay on top of your core responsibilities and offset medical down-time with self-nurturing time, good company and other treats.

Tip 3: Re-frame your tasks as goals

A task can feel like pressure, while a goal is a personal and positive choice. A smart goal is written, specific, achievable, backed up with resources and time-framed. So, re-write each task along those lines. (i.e. I will have brought the 2 bags of unwanted clothing to the charity shop by closing time on Tuesday, the 10th of X month).

Tip 4: Ensure that you have what it takes

Estimate how much time and energy each goal requires. Remember that during IVF, your medications and appointments are often strictly set. Fluctuating hormones can also affect your energy level. Give each goal a realistic time frame, specifying any strict deadlines, to avoid stress.

Tip 5: Impose some order

Remember the domino effect. Fulfilling one goal can make another one easier. For example: clearing the clutter in your inbox could pave the way to reconnecting with old friends and explaining the fertility journey you are taking. This may lead to a resurgence of your friendships, social life and support network.

Tip 5: Reach out for support

Do you need to do each task personally in order to fulfil your goal? Perhaps someone else can help out, exchange services with you or be paid to do what you cannot. Make your needs known.

Tip 6: Daily reminders

Revisit your list of goals daily to remind you about what you have achieved and what still needs doing. This will help you avoid a pile-up of unfulfilled goals and the anxiety that could accompany it.

Tip 7: Reward yourself

With so much focus on the IVF, you can forget other needs. Rewards are important, both as motivation and as validation. How about a bubble bath, a bunch of fresh flowers, a girls’ night out or dinner out with your partner? You will benefit from the light-hearted, relaxed time or pretty touch.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Marsh