Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stress reduction

Dr. Dumbledore has made it clear, both directly and through his nurse, that he wants me to whatever I can to keep my stress to a minimum during my cycle. While he isn't advocating "just relax" as an approach to infertility treatment, he believes that stress can have a negative impact on the success of a treatment cycle.  And obviously we want to do whatever we can to improve our chances of success.  (Hence the complete lack of sugar and flour in my diet for the past three weeks as I try to lose weight.)

So, in preparation for our upcoming cycle, I am looking for ways to reduce my stress. Leaving my job, even for a short period of time, is not an option, but I figure I can manage my stress there.  When I am at work, I am taking the time to get up and walk around at least once an hour. I remind myself to take a few deep, cleansing breaths whenever I think about it or feel myself tensing up. I am working on an attitude of "it will get done when it gets done," which is a challenge for a lawyer in civil litigation working for four different partners.

I have recently returned to exercising 5-6 days a week, and I think that is giving me more energy, in addition to being a good stress reducer. I do my fitness boot camp three days a week, go to the gym and use the elliptical trainer at least once a week, and do basic yoga 2-3 times a week. We also take our dogs for a 15-20 minute walk every evening.

I have always been good about getting 7-8 hours a night of sleep, and I'm still doing that. I stop drinking water by 8:00 so I won't have to get up at night to use the bathroom. (I drink 3 liters of water every day and try to get the first 2 liters in before noon. I'm pretty successful with this on weekdays, slightly less so on weekends.)

I get a full-body massage every 2-3 weeks and have for most of the past two-and-a-half years.  I find this very relaxing, and it also seems to decrease the frequency of my chronic headaches.

I have tried meditation in the past but must confess that I have had limited success. My mind always fills up with thoughts of things I need to do, and my attention wanders.

On a related note, I have occasionally read about the Circle + Bloom mind/body programs on others' blogs.  Because I have never been very good at meditating on my own, I thought this might be helpful.

Have any of you used the Circle + Bloom programs?  If so, I'd welcome your input about them.

Any other suggestions for things I might consider doing?  A week on a tropical beach would be great, too, but we are stretched a bit thin financially with this big expense coming up.  ;-)


  1. I have been using the Circle + Bloom precycle sessions. I can't wait to start stimming and do the daily sessions catered to each cycle day! I really find it relaxing.

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  2. I just wanted to say that I'm glad you're posting again more regularily. I missed your posts shortly after you started the new job.

    I've also heard a lot of good things about Circle & Bloom. Curious to hear your perspective ont he sessions.

  3. I am so proud of your dieting and exercising! You are putting me to shame! Time for me to get back to the gym! It sounds like you are doing all things possible to relax. What about acupuncture once the cycle gets a little closer?

  4. wow good work by the way trying to take better care of yourself this way. trying to de-stress during all of this is no easy thing. I have found reading very light books good for me and knitting is a good calming, distraction.
    I have a copy of the circle and bloom series and have never touched it. Let me know what you think of it.
    best of luck to you.

  5. Learning to quiet yourself is the hardest thing, and that is what meditation is. I know. It seems like you'll never get there, but like everything else, you have to practice.

    I used C&B, and I was a bit freaked out by the nature of the hypnosis. Once you get used to the weird things you are supposed to be imagining, it actually takes your mind directly to the spot where it needs to be: focusing on your body.

  6. Wow, looks like you're kicking ass in the proactive department.

    I work on meditation on pretty frequent basis, and you're right - it's not easy to keep your mind clear. I too did the Circle+Bloom cd's and I liked them. I also paired each session with a 30 minute nature type meditation cd that I use when I'm having a hard time "tuning out". I think the C+B discs will be benficial for you if you have a tough time leaving everything behind.

    Great job on all of the exercise - you're on your way!

  7. Awesome job on the diet and exercise....impressive!! I'm going to check back on this post periodically because I too am looking for ways to relax before and after my transfer. My RE recommends acupuncture and massage too. I've already tried acupuncture, but am considering a few massages around the time of transfer.

  8. Good for you for being so strict with your workouts and diet. I think you have the stress stuff covered. The one thing I would say is to be kind to yourself. if you slip up, or if your diet isn't perfect, don't be too hard on yourself...let it go, pick ypurself up and get back on track.

  9. i'ev been using the circle+bloom ivf/iui series and i'm loving it - haven't slept so well in ages

  10. I totally agree with you on the meditation, BUT I tried hypnosis for fertilty and it was amazing. You can do an over the phone session and they send you a CD I did it locally and had a personalized cd made, it targeted my specific fears and really reduced my stress.

    I also found pampering myself helped too. Good luck!

  11. I know it wasn't an easy road for you to get here, but you are really moving forward and I am so glad for you. So freaking glad!

    I think it really sounds like you have everything under control with managing your stress. You had me at massage. (-;

  12. It sounds like you are doing SO MUCH to reduce your stress at this time. That's amazing! I've read about many women who have used the circle and bloom series and talk very positively about it. I like John Kabat-Zinn's meditation CDs. I find it easier to meditate with a guide (his voice on the CD). I especially like the body scan meditation, as it helps focus the mind on sensations in the body.
    Wishing you well on your upcoming cycle.

  13. Wow, you are doing great! It takes so much planning and foresight to keep things up like daily exercise, a specific diet, and all that scheduled water drinking while doing a stressful job day in and day out. Good for you!


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