Fertility, isolation and mental health

Whether you are anxious or stressed because of fertility issues, or your fertility issues are a result of anxiety or stress, there is now the added stressor of isolation due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The addition of having to keep isolated, with all the life changes that brings, may be negatively affecting your mental health, which in turn may be having an effect on your hormone levels and your chances of getting pregnant or having a healthy pregnancy.

For both men and women, fertility issues and the stress of not fulfilling the wish for a child, can have profound effects on the mental health. The uncertainty of the current situation and the effects of Coronavirus on your general health might mean you’re not sure whether to keep trying to get pregnant at the moment.

Isolation can have serious, negative effects on your mental health so it is import to stay connected to others, whether that is via the internet and video chats, social media or emails, or by phoning or texting.

During this time, and if possible, follow as much of your usual routine as you can, such as going to bed and getting up at your normal time. And try to have a plan for your time, for example to do certain activities on specific days.

Keep active by having physical activity in your routine, exercise is very beneficial for your mental health. Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, says you should try to get exposure to the outside world and exercise as much as possible within the limits - Government advice now permits a once-daily exercise period outside. “Our physical and mental health are linked, so try to create a routine that includes some physical exercise. And although you can’t spend time with others, do make the most of any private outdoor space you have – such as a garden or balcony – if you have one, as being in nature can also help our wellbeing.”

Alternatively, Buckley also says try looking out of the window to watch the birds or tend to houseplants to keep your mind stimulated and engaged with nature. If you can, also open the window and let fresh air into your room.

Keep your mind stimulated by reading, listening to podcasts, doing puzzles or arts and crafts, or starting a free online course – you could try OpenLearn or FutureLearn.

Keep up to date with current health information and advice but limit the time you watch or listen to the news if this makes you anxious. The World Health Organisation says: “A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and the WHO website and avoid listening to or following rumours that make you feel uncomfortable.”

Make sure to eat well and stay hydrated. You might notice a change in your appetite if you are less active than you usually would be, but eating regularly keeps your blood sugar stable and this helps with your mood and energy levels.

Dr Lucy Atcheson, a counselling psychologist, says that one of the main problems with self-isolation is that we start to miss “micro-lifts” that we normally have peppered throughout our day without even realising. “For example, on your way to work, you might pop into your favourite coffee shop or say hi to someone in the street, there are small little things throughout our day that help to lift us, often without us realising. When you’re alone at home that doesn’t happen – and the cumulative effect of that is massive, especially around the two-week mark. So instead we need to create micro-lifts, it has to be something that generates a sense of achievement. That might be a new exercise, learning a little bit of a language, talking to someone on FaceTime or joining a book group online.”

At Muma Nurture we are following the government guidelines and the office is temporarily closed, but we are still "here" for you. Please contact us to find out what we can do for you. New clients are still being taken on using zoom, and for more information regarding this you can Whatsapp Muma Nurture on: 07460775495, or email: contact@mumanurture.org.

We understand how anxiety can be bought about through this huge change which is why we feel it is extremely important that we are still here to offer our support and service. Please do ensure you are taking the time out to look after yourselves during this period, as it can be so easy to get caught up in the situation and forget about one of the most important things; your own wellbeing.

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