How holiday stress can wreak havoc on your fertility and your psyche, and what to do about it.
If many of you are like me the holidays are a busy time. Running from one party to the next, trying to wrap up deadlines before the end of the year, trying to spread yourself between all your family obligations and find the perfect gift for your best friend. It is never ending.
Did you know that all this holiday stress could be wreaking havoc on your fertility and actually prevent you from becoming pregnant?
Believe it or not, our bodies can actually prevent us from becoming pregnant during times of extreme stress and our bodies can’t determine what is perceived and what is actual stress. Whether you are being chased by a lion or your freaking out about all the holiday parties you have to plan, it is all stress to the body and your pregnancy systems will shut down.
The presence of adrenaline, the hormone that is released by our bodies during stressful times, signals to our body that conditions are not ideal for conception. Adrenaline inhibits us from utilizing the hormone progesterone, which is essential for fertility. It also causes the pituitary gland to release higher levels of prolactin, which also causes infertility to occur.
The other thing that happens is during times of extreme or even minimal stress your body will make cortisol (the stress hormone) when your body is busy making cortisol it doesn’t have the resources left over to make progesterone or estrogen which are two hormones needed for fertility.
So how do you manage and eliminate this stress during the holidays, so you have a happy and healthier experience and you don’t sabotage your baby making efforts…
Here are my top tips for de-stressing at the holidays-
1. Have a plan. Without a plan we can sometimes feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants. We are frantic with all the to do’s and we don’t know what to do first, so we don’t do anything and freeze. Having a plan sets us up for success and helps to alleviate overwhelm.
I love the saying if you don’t have a plan, you can plan to fail.
Block scheduling is an easy way to make sure all your tasks are done and is a great way to be super intentional with your time. Block scheduling is done by looking at your week and making dedicated blocks on your schedule for tasks such as work, parties, family engagements, working out, meal prep, etc.
You can do this on a paper calendar or on your google calendar. Whatever is easiest for you and a method that you will use.
2. Eat balanced nutrition 90% of the time- Look I know it’s the holidays and there are treats and delicious food everywhere you turn but just because it is available doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Decide which foods are your favorite and only indulge in those. Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or your co-workers holiday cookies. Decide on the foods that will make you the happiest and allow yourself to indulge in those. The other 90% of the time eat a clean, balanced plate with lots of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, lots of water. This is especially important if you are trying to have a baby since many of the causes of infertility are linked back to inflammation in the body such as PCOS, endometriosis, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Eating a low inflammatory diet especially at the holidays will set your body up for the optimal state for conception and health.
3. Take time for self-care- I know during the holidays that self-care is one of the first things to go when the to do list is a mile long however this is when it is most important so DO NOT skip it.
Self-care isn’t cleaning your house or taking your dog for a walk. Self-care is something that is 100% dedicated just to you. Something that makes you feel amazing and relaxed.
My favorite self-care practices are –
a. Bubble bath
4. Get lots of sleep- sleep is probably one of the biggest pieces to feeling and looking your best aside from your nutrition. When you sleep your body is repairing, recouping, detoxing and re-energizing itself for the next day. Not getting quality sleep and not enough will put your body in a stressed state so make sure you are getting adequate sleep. 7-9 hours a night is recommended. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and night. This will set your internal rhythm and allow your body to function properly which is especially important if you are trying to get pregnant.
5. The right Mindset- Mindset is another very important piece to having a stress-free holiday. Your mind is like a big computer and the more you program it to be overwhelmed, anxious, stressed then that is the experience that you will have.
Beliefs create experience and experience confirms beliefs
The more you have the mindset of stress the more stressed you will be. Until you can let that go and relax, you will be putting your health and fertility in jeopardy. A great practice to get into especially around the holidays is to play a game I like to call the I AM game. This is a game you play with yourself and it is a way to program your mind to believe something about yourself that is positive instead of the negative mindset loop that most people are playing.
The I AM game can be played anytime you feel less than or just need a little moral boost. The way it is played is to think of 3 sayings that you want to say about yourself.
My go to’s are I am confident; I am a great coach and I am powerful.
Anytime I feel nervous, anxious or not quite right I repeat these sayings to myself 10 times or more until I start to believe them. You will be amazed at how this simple exercise will have you feeling amazing and on top of the world. As you can see going into the holidays in a relaxed and de-stressed state will not only help your health but also your fertility.
If you want to learn more about how I can help you with any of these tips then let’s chat. Reach out to me here and we will schedule a call. Info@kelahealthcoach.com.