In my last post I was talking about how infertility affects all aspects of our lives. In the worse cases its devastation leaves no area of our lives unscathed. It decimates our self-confidence and destroys our self-worth. It magnifies our fears. It suffocates our passion and it leaves us feeling completely isolated. Infertility really does suck. Yet it’s not all bad news. There are some easy ways to reconnect with your mojo or at least find out where it’s been hiding. When I was planning this blog I was going to talk about ways to heal a damaged mojo: however, I came up with so many ideas that I knew I wouldn’t be able to cover them in enough detail to deliver “healing”. So instead this is going to be about giving your damaged mojo some much needed TLC. Remember these are the starting points rather than the whole solution. To give you a little more information, and food for thought, I have also included a link to a relevant blog/article so you can read more if you want to.
Size Matters: small goals are best
When people decide that they need to make changes they often think BIG. You’re stuck in a rut and have been struggling to get out of it for some time. So drastic action is needed, right? No actually. Now I’m all for having a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to aspire to: however, when motivation has been lacking and progress has been slow smaller goals are more appropriate. Set yourself a couple of SMALL GOALS (as opposed to big goals split into smaller steps). Finish the goals and celebrate your success. Repeat a couple of times. When you’ve got a few successes to your name you can gradually increase the size of the goals without fear of overwhelm. Why Thinking Small Is The Secret To Big Success.
Reconnect with nature
When I feel really down there is nothing I like more than to take the dogs for a walk along the canal or up into the vines. As long as it is not chucking it down with rain that is. It makes me feel so much better. I enjoy the sights and the sounds. It gets me out into the fresh air and, being a brisk walker, it raised my heartbeat and opens my lungs. During the spring the warmth of the sun raises my spirits no end. The reason why this helps so much is not simply because of the exercise. Connecting with and appreciating nature is beneficial on so many levels. However, I appreciate I am extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. So what about people not so fortunate. People who live in cities. People who have disabilities which makes accessing nature more difficult. Well the good news is that by simply looking a pictures of beautiful places can have the same effect. How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?
Fake it until you make it
This is a great one for dealing with lack of self-confidence. Basically you act as if you are confident, successful, great at your job etc. I used this to great effect in my mid-twenties. I was terrified at work. So shy and I would shake like a leaf if anyone said “hello” let alone ask me an opinion. I turned this around when I remember that I had loved acting in school plays. I bought a couple of suits (my costume), asked for a briefcase for my next birthday (my prop) and I pretended that I was great at my job and a confident, successful person. I went from being incredibly shy to someone who has delivered a talk to over 1000 people and LOVED IT! Your Confidence: 9 Ways To Fake IT’Till You Make It.
Helping others can heal ourselves
This works on a number of levels. For a start when we are in a rut we focus on US and how we are feeling. The world seems to be against us. We can foster a “victim mentality”: poor me! By helping other people, you begin to realise that other people are struggling too. You discover that some of their lives are far worse than yours which can help you gain some perspective. In addition, if you are helping someone face to face you will (hopefully) be rewarded with a smile. These are infectious and have great health benefits too. 11 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Smile Every Day.
Do something you’ve never done before
When I talk to people about how to reengage their passion for life they often say “but nothing I used to do thrills me anymore”. It reminds me of the coaching “theory” that says “if you continue to do the same thing you will get the same result: if you want different results do something different.” Option one is to think back to pre-infertility times and see if activities you did them appeal more than the more recent ones. Go back to your childhood if you need to.: I had to go way back to when I was 16 before I remembered how much I loved writing. The second option is to get creative and do something you’ve never done before. Considering all of the hobbies and activities that are “out there” it would be highly unlikely if you didn’t eventually find something that really excites you. How To Do Things You Have Never Done Before.
Write about your infertility experience
As you would expect I’m a great fan of this, especially when Free Writing: here’s why. Writing for 5 mins max and not stopping to correct mistakes or think about what to write next taps into your subconscious and gets to what you REALLY feel. Getting these feelings down on paper, and out of your mind, means there’s less opportunity for you to dwell on them so much. When you revisit the writing over a period of time you begin to “analyse” the writing in a less emotional way. You gain a different perspective about the events and this can have huge benefits. Done correctly writing to heal enables you to reject any “legacy” emotions that are no longer serving you well. Ghosts are laid to rest and you can move one. How Writing Can Improve Your Mental & Physical Health.
Focus on how far you have come not how far you still have to go
When suffering from overwhelm and a lack of motivation a frequent suggestion is to create to-do-lists to increase the structure you have in your day. You have a set of tasks that you need to achieve during the day rather than giving yourself permission to slump on the sofa doing nothing. To-do-list do have their place: however, they are not great when motivation is low and progress is slow. They focus too much on what still needs to be done which increases overwhelm and the pressure to succeed. The first time you don’t complete the task feelings of guilt and failure appear. It is much better at such times to focus on what you have achieved. Rather than a to-do-list create a “I’ve done list.” At the end of each day make a note of what you have achieved and how great that makes you feel. The Dark Side Of Your To-Do List.
Celebrate the small successes
At the end of April/beginning of May 2015 I was home alone. Andrew was back in the UK and I was dealing with everything at home. I’d got two dogs to walk: one young and needing 4 plus miles a day and one old with arthritis needing a gentle pootle in the field across the road. I was also working on the business, keeping the house tidy enough for potential buyers to view and I wasn’t particularly well. I was struggling and my mojo had left the building. Due to the weather I was having to mow the lawn and field every three days which took about 4hrs each cut. If I left it any longer than that the next cut would take 6hrs. One particular day I collapsed in a heap when I finished and sat looking across the lawn to the house. It looked glorious in the sunlight and I smiled. My happiness lasted all of 30 seconds before I burst into tears. I still had so much I had to do. Yet I had no more energy to do it and I was in severe pain. I knew that things had to change when I couldn’t even take a couple of minutes out to celebrate the success of another grass cutting session. Andrew returned home within the next week because I was at breaking point. When you are in the depths of despair it is vital to celebrate even the smallest success. Why You Must Celebrate Small Successes.
Build a new “tribe” of people who understand the impact of infertility
I feel so isolated is a frequent comment I hear from people dealing with infertility. They feel that their family don’t understand them. Their friends are all having, or have had, children. The close friends they used to have, have drifted away as, one by one, children arrived on the scene. They no longer have things in common with people who only seem to be able to talk about their kids. Everyone in the world appears to be pregnant, and that includes the men! There are pregnant teenagers, pregnant drug addicts, one-night-stands and “oops we didn’t mean to have number three” pregnancies. All of these things and more compound our sense of isolation. However, feeling alone and unable to share experiences with people who “get it” is not healthy. This is one of the reasons why I have created the Accepting Infertility Closed Facebook Group. It provides a safe and supportive space where people can share their experiences with people who will not judge. If you are feeling isolated come and join my tribe! Create A Sense of Belonging.
Concentrate on things that you can change
The Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference” makes a huge amount of sense. When you are infertile there is so much that is outside your control. You cannot determine when, or if, you will ever conceive. Many of the medical conditions causing infertility cannot be changed: surgery and drugs can often help control the symptoms etc. but not actually change (i.e. cure) the condition. Your hormones are all over the place and they control you. No wonder we’re struggling and we will continue to struggle if we focus on things that are outside our control. Focus On What You Control. Let Go Of What You Don’t.
Phew that was a long one even though I changed from talking about more in depth healing and focused on some much needed TLC. I hope that some of these ideas will help. I also hope that you will give yourself time. Time to grieve and time to heal. Everyone does this at a different pace and following a different sequence of stages. You do what is right for you and don’t feel guilty if it’s taking a while or taking longer than someone else you know who is in a similar situation.