TTC boss, I see you absolutely crushing it in your business right now…
Signing big deals with dream clients
Purchasing your dream home with the perfect space for a nursery
Loving your life and your career
Things on the outside seem really great. But behind the scenes it looks a little more like…
Writing social media content instead of eating dinner
Relying on caffeine, especially in the afternoons, to help you meet your 10 deadlines (And let’s be honest, you bought your favorite Starbucks barista a Christmas gift last year…)
Spending your nights staring at the screen answering emails and DMs
You’re killing it in business, but your body’s crying out for help. The go-go-go grind energy is great for running a team but when it comes to making babies, the hustle could actually be hurting your chances of conception.
I’m not telling you to quit your job or close up shop. You worked hard to get to where you are and you deserve to have the business and family of your dreams.
But what should you do?
If you’re trying to conceive, you gotta slow it down my friend.
Let’s talk about why stress can seriously mess up your chances of getting pregnant and a few simple tips to manage it so you can still be the boss lady with that healthy baby bump.
Stress and Ovulation Don’t Mix
The human stress response does an amazing job kicking your system into high gear so you can do cool things like run away from bears and chase down dinner.
Nowadays though, you aren’t doing so much running away as you are running through life.
This type of daily stress is never ending and creates some HUGE health problems. See, your brain can’t tell the difference between something truly life threatening like a looming waterfall about to smash your little canoe to pieces or a looming deadline.
The body isn’t meant to live in a constant state of high alert. Over time, your brain will start to change production of certain hormones to protect you (including sex and adrenal hormones).
This is why stress management and adequate rest are the foundations of hormonal health and fertility (yes, even more than diet and exercise). Doesn’t matter how many supplements you take or how many raw kale salads you’re choking down, it won’t overcome shitty sleeping habits and 20-hour workdays.
Here’s what stress looks like hormonally:
Higher cortisol: Your body releases a crap ton of cortisol to basically light a fire under your ass and motivate you.
Elevated estrogen: Increased cortisol levels lead to high estrogen levels.
Lower GNRH: Elevated estrogen leads to low gonadotropin-releasing gonadotropin releasing hormone (GNRH). I don’t want to bog you down with too many details, but GNRH is a hormone released in your brain that controls hormones important to reproduction.
Lower LH: Low GNRH leads to low luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. You need LH to stimulate ovulation, so if your LH is low you know what that means…
Hormone names can get complicated, but to break it down simply: High stress leads to poor or shuts down ovulation. And without ovulation, conception is a no go.
4 Active Ways to Manage Stress When You’re Trying to Conceive
#1 Delegate Tasks
I know the perfectionist in you just cringed, but you need to stop trying to do it all.
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed. I repeat, asking for help doesn’t make you a failure.
Instead, it means you’re prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental health and utilizing someone else’s expertise so you can get off Google and get on with your life.
I want you to take a sec and think about one task your hate doing that you could ask or hire someone else to help you with. Now repeat that process 18 more times!
#2 Say No More Often
That yearly family cookout you feel obligated to host?
That extra volunteer project that turned into an every Saturday commitment?
That toxic friend from high school pestering you on facebook to join her team?
Trying to conceive is the BEST time (and excuse) to get picky about where you’re spending your time and start setting boundaries with things, events and people that drain your energy.
I know it’s easier said than done so if just saying no feels too aggressive try “I can’t right now” or “Maybe next time?”. This leave the conversation open in the future if you decide you do want to commit later on.
#3 Schedule Downtime and Make It Non-Negotiable
When was the last time you actually scheduled relaxing into your calendar? I mean it. Like actually scheduled it and stuck with it?
Rest is not a luxury, it’s a requirement if you’re in baby-making mode.
And it doesn’t have to be pedicures at the spa or massages. Instead, it may look like:
Reading a book
Going for a walk
Spending time with friends
Going ax throwing
Whatever trips your trigger…
Now take out your calendar and schedule in some downtime. Go ahead, I’ll wait here till you’re done. If you can’t seem to find a time in your calendar, go back to Tip 1 and take another thing off your to-do list.
#4 Meditation and Breathwork
Can’t argue with the research, meditation can do a lot for your physical and mental health including:
Reduce blood pressure
Reduce anxiety and depression
Reduce stress hormone response
Some studies even show that meditation can develop new pathways in your brain to improve health and new habits.
Breath work is another one of my favorite de-stressors. Deep breathing through techniques like belly breathing, box breathes, or roll breathing helps quiet the mind and provide much needed oxygen to your system.
When you perform deep breathing exercises, you’re forcing your brain chill out and relax for a while and the benefits can last long after you’re done huffing and puffing.
My clients find that doing either of these two things helps their minds slow down and calms down their panicked hormones.
The next time you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, stop and take a few minutes to observe your breath and quiet down your mind. This is probably going to feel weird at first so you might try a guided meditation like the ones offered at Circle + Bloom.
Navigating Fertility and Stress
Are you feeling zen yet? Ha! Fat chance! Reducing stress and supporting the body takes time but hopefully this article gave you a few ideas to help you get there.
Fertility challenges and stress tend to go hand in hand. Doctor’s visits, blood draws, ultrasounds, diets, pregnancy tests, fertility books, and supplements are a full time job on top of your already full time business is too much for any person to handle.
I get it.
And I want you to know you don’t have to navigate this all on your own.
I help my clients every day by giving them the short cuts they need to understand and implement the foundations of fertility without going insane.
If you’re ready to boost your fertility from the ground up, apply for 1:1 coaching with this link here. While you’re there, snag a copy of my free 7-day fertility meal plan and get started on your own!