You're too busy to relax, you gotta go to work, make the beds, help your child with homework, make dinner, answer too many emails, and so much more. Is it any wonder that you can't find a minute for relaxation? And on top of it, you are trying to get pregnant. Too much stress is bad for your mental and physical health. And it can keep you from getting pregnant.
Tips to help you relax when trying to conceive (TTC):
If you're thinking meditation means twisting your body into an uncomfortable position and uttering "oohs" and "omms" for an hour, guess again. Meditation may include walking, swimming, painting, knitting -- any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment.
When you catch yourself thinking about your job, your relationship, or your lifelong to-do list, experts say to simply let the thought escape, and bring your mind back to the repetition of the activity. Try it for just 5 to 10 minutes a day and watch stress levels drop.
Picture yourself relaxed and breathe deeply
- Is your mind too talkative to meditate? Try creating a peaceful visualization, or "dreamscape." To start, simply visualize anything that keeps your thoughts away from current tensions. It could be a favorite vacation spot, a fantasy island, that penthouse in New York City — or something "touchable," like the feel of your favorite silk robe or cozy sweater.
- The idea is to take your mind off your stress and replace it with an image that evokes a sense of calm. The more realistic your daydream — in terms of colors, sights, sounds; even touch and feel — the more relaxation you'll experience.
- Feeling stressed evokes tense, shallow breathing, while calm is associated with relaxed breathing, so to turn tension into relaxation, and change the way you breathe.
Look around you
Practice it by focusing on your immediate surroundings. If you're outdoors, enjoy the shape and colors of flowers, hear a bird's call or consider a tree. In the mall, look at the details of a dress in the window, examine a piece of jewelry and focus on how it's made, or window-shop for furniture, checking out every detail of pattern and style. As long as you can keep your mind focused on something in the present, stress will take a back seat.
Show some love
- Induce the relaxation response by cuddling your pet, giving an unexpected hug to a friend or family member, snuggling with your spouse, or talking to a friend about the good things in your lives. When you do, you'll be reducing your stress levels.
- Why? Experts say social interaction helps your brain think better, encouraging you to see new solutions to situations that once seemed impossible, she says. Studies have also shown that physical contact — like petting your dog or cat — may actually help lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones.
When your muscles are tense and you've no time to visit a pro, try this simple self-massage technique:
- Place both hands on your shoulders and neck.
- Squeeze with your fingers and palms.
- Rub vigorously, keeping shoulders relaxed.
- Wrap one hand around the other forearm.
- Squeeze the muscles with your thumbs and fingers.
- Move up and down from your elbow to fingertips and back again.
- Repeat with your other arm.
Take a time-out
Adults need time-outs, too. So when you sense your temper is about to erupt, finding a quiet place to sit or lie down and put the stressful situation on hold. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on releasing tension and calming your heartbeat. Quiet your mind and remember: Time is always on your side, so relax. The stress can wait.
Take an attitude break
Thirty seconds is enough time to shift your heart's rhythm from stressed to relaxed. The way to do this is to engage your heart and your mind in positive thinking. Start by envisioning anything that triggers a positive feeling — a vision of your child or spouse, the image of your pet, that great piece of jewelry you're saving up to buy, a memento from a vacation — whatever it is, conjuring up the thought will help slow breathing, relax tense muscles and put a smile on your face. Creating a positive emotional attitude can also calm and steady your heart rhythm, contributing to feelings of relaxation and peace.