It’s that time of year again, when amidst the tinsel and egg nog, I encourage you to create moments that add up to the YOU that you know– and may be missing. Here’s how…
1. BE GOOD TO YOU
The holidays are a time of giving. It seems simple, yet it can be surprisingly difficult to give to ourselves when the gifts under the Christmas tree are designated for everyone else. Take a minimum of 10 minutes daily to do something kind for yourself. Take a walk. Dance. Soak in a bubble bath. Buy yourself a treat. Put a gift under the Christmas tree labelled To: Me. Do something that makes you connect to your heart and to yourself. Every. Day.
2. TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT
Why wait to reflect on those New Year’s resolutions? Ask yourself now– “How am I doing?” and “What do I need to get through the holidays this year?” Take an emotional barometer reading often, and don’t be afraid to change course depending on what answers you discover along the way.
3. FIND YOUR KRYPTONITE
What makes you feel powerful? Brave? Strong? Holiday stress offers many opportunities to draw upon your own personal power source. That fire within that makes you feel like the bad-ass you are. Own your kryptonite and use it as needed.
4. REHEARSE YOUR SCRIPT
With your holiday calendar full of social events, you may be confronted with those uncomfortable or inappropriate “kids” questions. These questions may not be something that you want to discuss over Chanukah latkes, so practice what you want to say. If you feel comfortable with the person asking, you may receive support by sharing a little about what is going on. However, it is possible that your great Aunt or husband’s colleague will corner you at the party. In these cases, you can deflect and say, “Great question!” or “We’ll make sure to keep you posted.” And move onto the next topic. You can also be more direct and say, “I’ll let you know if I want to talk about having kids.” Or “We’ve got this. No need to discuss.” Feel free to excuse yourself from the conversation, or make it an early night if you are better off being cozy in your bed at home.
5. SEEK LOVE
Plan a date night or a special trip just for you and your partner. Create new holiday rituals with your family or friends. Cuddle with your dog. Tell your best friends that you need a girls’ night out. You will feel a whole lot better finding strength in the connections that nourish your spirit right now.
6. SAY “NO”
There is a tendency to over-schedule during the holidays. Remember that your time is valuable. And your well-being is even more valuable. I encourage you to decline invitations to holiday celebrations that may be too stressful—especially if there will be a lot of children or pregnant women. Be mindful of engaging in activities that re-charge you—and saying “No” to those that don’t.
7. WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL…LIKE YOU??
It may seem like an odd question. But, I have found that infertility is one of those things that can make you lose track of what makes you feel most like yourself. With so many rules about taking medications, having sex and exercising, many people just plain don’t feel like themselves. Ask yourself what you can do this holiday season that will help you connect with something important about who you are or that will make the holidays feel special. Even if you can’t do it fully (ie: travel abroad or hop on that SoulCycle bike), maybe you can incorporate a different version into your life (ie: plan a weekend getaway or do a yoga class).
8. FEEL YOUR FEELINGS WITHOUT JUDGMENT
Perhaps this year you give yourself a Free Pass to not rejoice or be in the holiday spirit, if that is not how you are feeling. Remind yourself that the infertility landscape is a complicated buffet of sadness, worry, disappointment, hope, hopelessness–and everything in between–even during the holidays. You are already working so hard. Accept what you are feeling rather than adding more struggle to the mix.
9. TAKE A BREAK
Give yourself a break–a real break. Not the kind where you are in a spin class running through your To Do List. Maybe skip the gym. Take time alone. Chill out in front of a funny TV show. Read that book that’s been sitting on your dresser for a year. Some people even choose to give themselves a break from infertility treatments during the holidays. You may find it has never felt so good to do nothing for awhile.
Even though the holidays pose a unique set of challenges, try to count your blessings. Express appreciation to family and friends who have loved and supported you through the high’s and the low’s. And back to “#1 BE GOOD TO YOU”–The holidays are exactly the right time to express gratitude toward yourself. For all that you have faced head-on this year. For being a positive influence in someone else’s life. For things big and small that you do every day. Take a moment to give yourself the holiday gift of gratitude.