The Effects of Holiday Stress on Your Fertility

Most of us declare every year that we aren’t going to let stress interfere with our holidays. And most of us admit afterward that we fell somewhat short of our objective, and so we vow to do better next year. But when your goal is managing holiday stress while you focus on fertility, waiting a year to try again may seem like 12 months too long.

Dr. Deborah Smith is a well-known Reproductive Endocrinologist who leads one of the most successful fertility teams in the nation here at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center in Parker, Colorado, and Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Dr. Smith and our team have long understood the need to take a comprehensive, whole-patient approach to overcoming infertility issues, including the role that stress can play in the process. Read what our expert has to say about holiday stress and how to reduce its impact on your desire to have a child.

Isn’t stress all in your mind?

Most of us would admit to feeling exasperated, worried, even fearful when experiencing heightened levels of stress. Studies clearly show, however, that stress causes very real physiological changes as well.

Increased stress causes your body to respond with a surge of hormones that raise your heart rate, elevate your blood pressure, and boost your overall energy level. These physical changes occur whether the stress event is real or perceived (in your mind). Your body reacts the same to stress you experience when driving on a crowded highway during rush hour as it does to your concerns that your in-laws might hate the holiday meal you’ve prepared.

The emotional impact and the physical changes related to chronic stress can lead to fatigue, irritability, depression, chronic headaches, heart disease, obesity, and other serious concerns.

Does stress cause infertility?

Studies don’t show any conclusive evidence that living a stress-filled life can cause infertility. We do know, however, that conception requires a delicate balance of hormones, and that both ovulation and fertilization have reportedly decreased in women experiencing increased stress levels.

Unfortunately, the process of fertility testing and uncertainty of undergoing certain medical procedures, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), is also stress inducing. Thus, increased stress compounded by anxiety and fear over infertility can interfere with successful outcomes.

That’s why we work so hard to relieve stress levels here at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center with a welcoming atmosphere and the education you need to make informed decisions about your treatment options.  We include yoga, massage and acupuncture in our treatment plans to help decrease stress.

How can I reduce holiday stress?

There are several practical steps you can take to reduce stress during the holidays and throughout the year:

1. Give yourself a break

We often schedule time off for the big day but forget all about the prep time leading up to the celebration. Holiday gatherings may be much smaller this year due to COVID-19, but be sure you schedule time to shop and prepare as well as enjoy.

2. Take advantage of technology

Whether it’s scouring online sites for presents or taking advantage of the home delivery process for ordering food, use technology to save time and decrease your stress load. And don’t forget to engage your partner in helping with those online shopping sprees.

3. Let go of perfection

This year is a great time to put aside some of the old holiday “rules” that often send our stress levels soaring. Decorate to impress yourself rather than a house full of guests. Cook for a small group of like-minded foodies. Enjoy the serenity of the outdoors or pop extra popcorn for a holiday movie marathon for two.

4. Take time to breathe

Yoga and other relaxation activities are designed to decrease stress and redirect your energy toward identifying and succeeding at your life goals. At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, we also promote aerobic exercise, massage, and even acupuncture to help reduce stress now and throughout the year.

5. Follow a healthy diet

We admit it’s hard to bypass every treat that comes your way during the holidays. It is important, however, that you limit your indulgence in those overly sweet desserts in favor of a healthy diet that keeps you feeling relaxed and energized rather than anxious, irritated, and stressed.  

For outstanding specialty care you can rely on to reduce your stress over fertility issues, schedule a visit at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center today.

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