Rhonda had been out of work, which was stressful with so many bills needing to be paid. Now she has a new job, which is stressful with so much to learn and a fast pace. Plus, on top of all this she and her partner have been trying to conceive without luck for over a year. She feels like she just can’t take one more thing. When her friend asked her how she was doing, she quickly responded “I’m stressed out!”Will Stress Affect My Ovulation Calendar?

What is stress? Webster’s dictionary describes stress as pressure – tension, anxiety, even trauma. Stress is also described as emphasis – a weight, importance, urgency.

Does any part of this sound familiar? Today we live very stressful lives, and few people recognize the consequences of this. We are over committed, not getting enough sleep, eating on the run, have long to-do lists with not enough time to get to things, we are worried about how all the bills will get paid, and exhausted. What are the consequences of living this way?

Will Stress Affect My Ovulation Calendar?

Yes, it will. More specifically stress affects your hormone balance, which affects your fertility. And your ovulation calendar is where you keep all information regarding your fertility. Why would your body want to get pregnant under stressful circumstances? In its infinite wisdom, your inner guidance system says to wait for better times.

Take note of any major stressors in your life. Here are some examples:

* Injury or illnesses for you or a loved one
* Job changes for you or spouse
* Trouble with boss
* Financial change
* Sexual difficulties
* Change in residence
* Change in sleeping habits
* Change in eating habits

All of these stressors can affect you. You want to identify them and write them on your ovulation calendar. Then if during that menstrual cycle you also notice changes in your signs of ovulation, you will know what may have contributed. These things can upset the finely tuned hormonal balance that your body needs for healthy fertility.

How about the every day stressors that we take for granted?

* Not enough time for everything that you want to do
* Not enough sleep
* Poor nutrition
* Misplacing something
* Traffic jams
* Being late for an appointment
* Job dissatisfaction

Though less extreme than major stressors, these daily hassles affect us even more because they are so pervasive and constant. You could fill pages with these smaller things, much more than what would fit on your calendar. You want to become aware of what these things are for you, learn to change what you can, and re-evaluate how you react to those things that you cannot change.

Why is this important? For the same reason – being in a state of stress is not healthy, and will affect your fertility.  If you have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, it is time to do some serious self-evaluation of your life.

What Can You Do?

* Learn to say “No”
* Change your attitude
* Exercise
* Eat a healthy diet
* Get enough sleep
* Connect with others
* Do something that gives you pleasure

Do not over commit yourself. There are only so many hours in the day, and you cannot change that. Decide what your priorities are, be realistic, and say “no” to the things that are less important to you. Create some free time in your daily schedule, and allow yourself to just relax.

Change your attitude. Identify what you are grateful for. You can choose where to put your focus. Look for something positive, or at least neutral, in even seemingly awful situations. Choose to be curious instead of angry or powerless. I know this sounds easier said than done, but the hardest thing is to actually remember to try it. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Exercise. Move in whatever way you are able. Even if you have to imagine it! A 10 minute walk can do wonders to help calm and re-balance the nervous system. Ideally, get an hour of exercise four days per week. And if you can do it outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, even better.

Nutrition. Eat whole, real, fresh foods. Absolutely avoid processed foods. Eat organic vegetables and fruits. Eat foods rich in vitamins A, D, E and K2. These foods include egg yolks, shellfish, liver and animal fats from pasture raised animals (such a butter!). Always choose meats from pasture raised animals. Do not eat farmed fish.

Quality sleep. Getting enough sleep to allow regeneration and restoration is critical to health. Most people need between 7 and 10 hours of sleep every night. Your best sleep for restoration is between 10pm and 1am, so make sure you are not squandering this valuable sleep time.

Connect with others. We all need friends. Take the time to find a person who accepts you for who you are and enjoys your company. The benefits are well worth the time it takes.

Do something you enjoy. You will be amazed at how rejuvenating this can be, and how the rest of your time is more efficient and your attitude is better. Even if it is only 15 minutes, make this a priority every day.

Just think of the joy of holding that precious baby in your arms, and buckle down and make some needed changes in your life. The benefits will soon be apparent, beginning with a greater sense of wellbeing and joy about life. When your overall health is better, your fertility improves. Your body may just decide that it is safe to bring a child into this world after all.

To Your Vibrant Health!

Veronica Tilden, DO

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