Managing diet, exercise and stress when you’re TTC in the Holiday season
November 18, 2021
10 Tips to Manage Diet, Exercise and Stress
The Holiday season 2021 is hopefully going to look a lot different to 2020, but if you’re TTC it’s still a tricky season to navigate, what with all the parties and questions. Last year it was easier; we were in lockdown and if you needed to, it was a lot easier to hibernate and hide behind Zoom quizzes with a fizzy water. But this year, the world has opened up and Christmas parties are back on the agenda.
We have first-hand experience of both having IVF treatment and also TTC throughout the Holiday season, and it’s not an easy time to be going through either experience. So, starting on the 16th December, we have some practical tips of how to survive the festive season when you’re TTC, but before then we wanted to help you prepare a bit more, so over the next ten days, we have some tips on how to manage your diet, exercise and stress.
Challenges and stresses of the Holidays
It’s only natural (and expected!) that diet and exercise goals grind to a halt while social calendars fill up, and stress and anxiety rise during the festive season, and if you’re undergoing fertility treatment or trying for a baby, this can only add to the challenges and stresses of the Holidays.
Even if you try to be the optimistic and upbeat, a lot of our patients and followers say they find this time of year challenging and often sad. While we can’t change the fact Christmas is for children, and there are constant family reminders around us, we can try out new healthy habits to decrease stress and increase relaxation.
Tip 1: Limit Sweets and Alcohol
TTC is hard enough without laying on extra guilt. And you can look at this period as a time to ditch the guilt and enjoy a glass of wine or champagne.
Life is about balance; however, it’s worth considering that everything is OK in moderation. A few glasses of your favourite wine or an extra mince pie won’t stop you from getting pregnant, but what they will do is help you release and feel normal, if only for a few days.
However, if alcohol really isn’t part of the equation, but you want to join in with the fun, there has never been a better time to try some of the many non-alcoholic options such as Seedlips or Wild Life Botanicals low-alcohol and Freixenet alcohol-free sparkling wine.
Tip 2: Opt for high-quality protein
When it comes to dining out, or dining in if you’re hosting this year, chicken, fish, steamed veg and legumes are filling and help sustain energy levels.
Tip 3: Sleep
Traveling all over the country and staying in relatives guest rooms, or even worse, on blow up mattresses in your auntie’s living room, is never going to help with your sleep. And the bad news is that poor sleep can throw off the natural cycles in a woman’s body, including ovulation.
Do what you can to maximise your sleep both in the run up to the big day, and during the festive season. Limit the number of late nights per week, switch off Netflix an hour earlier, read a book and leave your phone in another room at night! Remember the great mantra; the bedroom should only be used for sleeping and sex.
Tip 4: Prioritise exercise
Dark mornings and evenings, plus the fact more of us are back in the office, makes it harder to work out. But if you prioritise exercise, just like you would with work tasks, you’ll reap the benefits.
It doesn’t have to be a spin class, a 30-minute walk around the block or a @thebodycoach online workout can keep stress at bay, get those endorphins pumping and boost your positive mood.
If you’re concerned about how exercise affects your fertility, opt for more low-impact and moderate intensity workouts like yoga or Pilates.
And remember, as Joe Wicks always says: you’ll never regret a workout. And it’s true 😉
Tip 5: Self-care check-in
It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year”. But between buying gifts, hosting parties, trying not to break your healthy habits (or the bank), and attending family gatherings, it can also be the most stressful time of the year.
So it’s just as important to look after your mental health as it is to look after your physical health.
Pick a time every day to check in with how and what you are feeling. Anxious? Suffering from a headache? Feeling depressed? Nervous butterflies? Tired? Then have an honest conversation with yourself about what you need. Maybe it’s time to put away the ovulation calculator and have a healthy snack, short nap, exercise break or five minutes of quiet breathing to clear your head.
Tip 6: Reach out
Spending time with family and friends over the Holidays is lovely, but it’s also a daunting prospect having to dodge the questions about pregnancy or babies.
If you do decide to tell your friends and family, you might want to consider putting a few boundaries in place, for example, “I wanted to tell you we’re trying to get pregnant, it’s not been easy and I’m not ready to talk about it right now, but I just wanted you to know.”
Choose the people you confide in, make sure they know when they can talk about it and who to, but this will undoubtably help the whole experience if someone else knows that you trust.
But here’s our biggest tip to remember: you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Tip 7: Make meals count
Festive parties and their buffets or canapes make it harder than ever to eat well. But if you eat a healthy, filling meal before any festivities, you’re less likely to reach for the unhealthy temptations.
In addition to ensuring you get a lot of high-quality protein in your diet, vegetables, fruits and whole grains will also provide healthy nutrients. So, reach for the carrot sticks and hummus, and avoid the salty snacks!
Tip 8: Relaxation strategies
Namaste. When it comes to relaxation, there are few activities more beneficial than yoga. The physical postures stretch and strengthen the body while the emphasis on breathing and active meditation can quickly heal and restore the mind and body.
If yoga isn’t your thing, acupuncture can boost your mood and your fertility potential.
Tip 9: Positive thinking
Some people choose this time when a family is all gathered to share news such as pregnancy announcements. And this can be particularly triggering if you’re TTC.
Even at times of feeling low (after a friend makes a pregnancy announcement or you see pictures on social media of a new baby) taking a time out to think about the things in your life for which you are grateful will bring you back into the light.
Tip 10: Just Say No
The Holidays are a busy time filled with parties and family get-togethers. Don’t feel pressured to go to every party if you don’t want to. This now the time for self-care. Think about that you like doing, and treat yourselves.
To read more about TTC during Christmas, read our Advice On Trying To Conceive At Christmas.
To read more about diet and TTC, see our Fertility Boosting Foods.
Categorised in: Fertility Advice
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