If you’re planning to start IVF soon, don’t wait until the treatment actually begins to start prepping and supporting your body for the big changes ahead. As you probably already know, IVF is no emotional or physical vacation. You’ll be making demands on your body that are far beyond an ordinary day, or even a long jog in the park. But by starting a simple self-care plan a month or more before IVF, you’ll set yourself up to feel better and stronger as you weather the rollercoaster ride of hormones, mood swings, and possible aches and pains. Here are some easy self-care ideas to build on:
- Sip tea. A fragrant cup of hot tea on a chilly day, or iced tea when it’s sweltering hot, can refresh not only your taste buds and insides, but your whole energy as well. Find several teas that really sing for you, whether it’s zingy mint or lemon verbena, calming chamomile, or something earthy like raspberry leaf. Try squeezing in some fresh citrus for added flavor and an extra boost of antioxidants. Staying hydrated is always important, but especially when your body’s being taxed.
- Carve out a corner of your home as your own sanctuary. Maybe it’s a small, quiet, sunny spot to lay down a yoga mat or meditation pillow. Maybe it’s a table by the window with your favorite view, where you can sit and journal about your emotional and physical IVF journey (while you sip your soothing tea). Your nook doesn’t need to be large or fancy at all—just make it yours, and add whatever elements of comfort that will serve you most. Use this as your peaceful retreat and a place to recharge whenever you need it.
- Take a hike. I don’t literally mean you need to climb a steep or winding slope, although you can, if that’s your jam. But make it a habit to take a walk every day, no matter the weather, your mood, your stress or energy level. If you’ve ever owned a dog and been literally forced to do this on the regular, you’ll already know and appreciate the tremendous benefits of this exercise. But whether you’re walking with a pet, a friend, or alone, a stroll can recharge you when you feel depleted; it can calm you when you’re anxious; it can help you sleep after a hectic day full of uncertainty or difficult decisions. Experts note that walking is also great for your heart, lungs, and limbs, for your entire circulatory and respiratory systems, and for your overall mental health and well-being. So make this a habit before IVF even begins, and stick with it. You’ll benefit in countless ways, each and every day.
- Get your Zs. It can be hard to sleep well some days with so much on your mind and on your plate—and so much at stake! But getting enough rest is crucial to supporting your body through any major challenge. Before IVF treatment begins, notice what helps you unwind and nod off, and what tends to make you feel restless. Studies show that screen time just before bedtime can lead to sleep disturbance. On the flip side, a few minutes of quiet meditation or deep breathing, light stretching, a long soak in a warm tub, and a page-turning novel tend to help many sleep deeply.