The holidays are a festive time of year, full of hustle and bustle, family events, good food and good friends.
It can be a time of great joy, but for those struggling with infertility the constant stream of messages and images depicting the picture-perfect holiday can be a not so subtle reminder of what we want, but don’t have.
Many people get the holiday blues, but there are some truly effective ways to cope and to help you enjoy this special time of year.
Being prepared for what lies ahead is incredibly important and there are a few wonderful strategies for ensuring that your holiday season is a time filled with love, kindness, and joy ——
1. Surround yourself with good people who support you and are sensitive to what you are going through.
Do things that you enjoy with people that make you feel loved.
Don’t feel guilty about saying no to holiday gatherings or events that you know will make you feel uncomfortable or sad and instead focus your energy on the people and activities that encourage your happiness and wellness.
2. Find joy in doing kind and generous things for others.
Doing something nice for someone else is a surefire way to take your mind off of your holiday blues and to show the people around you that you appreciate the extra support they have given you along your journey.
3. Ask for help when you need it.
The holidays can be overwhelming on their own, but when you add the emotional strain of infertility it’s easy to become completely consumed in feelings of anxiety and helplessness.
Seeing a professional counselor and addressing your feelings in a safe and supportive space can truly help to alleviate some of this strain and help you to refocus your energy on the people and traditions that bring you joy.
4. Stick to healthy habits.
Between shopping for the perfect gift, attending a slew of holiday gatherings, and managing family commitments, it’s easy to let healthy routines slip.
Lack of time and energy make it difficult to care for ourselves in the ways that we know we should. Don’t beat yourself up for breaking your healthy habits for a few holiday indulgences, but be sure to mitigate splurges with more moderate choices, too.
5. Create new traditions.
This advice is often given to families who have recently lost a loved one, and when you are dealing with infertility or miscarriage, it’s also very important not to get trapped in holiday routines that are simply too painful during such a difficult time in life.
Traditions that used to bring joy can feel empty and meaningless. If you’re struggling with these emotions, make it a priority to establish new traditions and give yourself the permission to break with holiday routines that you don’t find fulfilling.
6. Let yourself feel…All of it.
Facing your fears and anxieties head on and with an open and non-judgmental mindset is crucial to overcoming those fears and moving forward.
The frustration and stress associated with infertility can be even more acute during a time of year so centered on families, and particularly children. If you feel yourself becoming increasingly depressed or resentful, take a step back and ask yourself “What am I feeling?” and “Why am I feeling this way?”
Acknowledge and give credit to the answers to those questions– your feelings are valid and important, and by acknowledging and respecting them you can grow from painful and scary experiences in a way that brings you closer to inner peace.
7. Know that you are not alone.
The holidays are a difficult time for a lot of people. It feels very isolating when everyone around you seems to be having a wonderful time and you’re doing all you can just to keep it together.
Just know that things are not always as lovely as they seem, and that the holidays are tough for a lot of people for a number of different reasons. There is a silver lining to this in that it provides an opportunity to reach out to others who may be struggling and to support one another.
We encourage you to join our Circle + Bloom PRIVATE Infertility Support Circle Group on Facebook, and for you to know that you will always find support from us and the amazing community that has grown from this group. To join the group, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added.