Times of growth can be scary. But they can also be some of the most exciting and fulfilling times of our lives. Whether it’s landing a new job, having a baby, or moving to a new city, major life changes challenge us to learn more about who we are and who we are becoming.
Tackling IVF as a single woman has pushed me to grow in ways I didn’t even know were possible. Becoming a mom is a daunting task for anyone, especially when you’re doing so outside the norms set by society. And between the constant doctor’s appointments and the carefully-timed hormone shots, there have been times that I’ve felt like I’m no longer in control of my life or my body.
But instead of running from stress and uncomfortable feelings (as it’s so easy to do these days), I’m trying my best to embrace them. If there’s one thing that the past few years of my life have taught me, it’s that staying self-aware and asking yourself the tough questions during times of change can lead to meaningful growth and newfound self-love.
We all go through tough times and big life changes, so why not embrace the chaos? Here are a few tips on how to cope through periods of growth and come out the other side as a better version of yourself.
6 Tips on How to Cope Through Periods of Growth
Remember to Breathe
So often when I’m feeling stressed, I’ll realize that I haven’t stopped to breathe in a while. Sometimes just taking a moment to pause, take a deep breath or two, and get back at it is all you need to handle the stressful moments in life.
Even if you aren’t into meditation, taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing can help manage stress and refocus. Breathing exercises have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve your immune system, and minimize anxiety.
A meditation app like Calm or Headspace is a great addition to your daily routine. Set a reminder on your phone to do a quick meditation or breathing exercise each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. There are even sleep stories to help you unwind and get a full eight hours’ worth of beauty sleep.
Spend Time in Nature
There’s nothing that grounds me more than spending a little time with Mother Nature. Taking a hike, enjoying the sunset at the beach, or even just walking my dog through the park can do a total 180 on my mood. A blue sky and a bit of fresh air feel incredibly invigorating, especially after spending so much of the past year stuck inside.
These days, I try my best to be intentional about the time I spend in nature. The Japanese call this ‘forest bathing.’ Soaking in the warmth of the sun, the smells of the forest, and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees makes my time outside feel even more impactful.
Think of journaling as the adult version of the diary you kept throughout your teenage years. Just like your old diary, it’s a place to organize your thoughts and get everything off your chest. Plus, rereading it later can help you gain perspective on the situation and see your feelings in a new light.
How much or how little you write in your journal is entirely up to you. If you feel like pouring your heart out for a few pages, great! But it’s also totally okay to just down a few notes about how you felt that day or what was on your mind. Personally, I like to keep my journal on top of my nightstand to clear my mind before bed or set my intentions for the day first thing in the morning.
A cute journal— like this Alleyoop Grateful Journal Set— is an absolute must. As silly as it sounds, opting for a stylish journal can actually motivate you to use it more often. Not only will it make a great addition to your nightstand or coffee table, it’ll put a smile on your face every time you pull it out to write.
Don’t Slack On Your Healthy Lifestyle
Taking care of yourself is key to managing stress. It’s far too easy to skip workouts and eat poorly when you’ve got a lot on your plate. But feeling good physically can help you feel good mentally too. Your mind-body connection is far stronger than you think.
If you’re having trouble fitting healthy habits into your busy schedule, try starting with something small. Instead of grabbing a greasy egg-and-cheese on your way to work, give your body the love it deserves by taking five minutes to make a nutritious smoothie. Don’t have enough time to hit the gym and make it to happy hour? Kill two birds with one stone and catch up with your girlfriends over a sunset walk instead.
Splurge on Self-Care
When life gets crazy, self-care is one of the first things to slip through the cracks. Taking the time to get a massage, hit up your favorite spin class, or enjoy a little retail therapy can feel frivolous when you’re busy tackling major life changes. But even the simplest acts of self-care can make these daunting tasks feel a bit more manageable.
No matter how busy you are, you can still find a few minutes each day to squeeze in a little me-time at home. Though easier said than done, keep your mind off sources of stress and focus on relaxing and getting back in touch with your inner self.
A high-tech LED face mask— like this Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro— elevates my everyday skincare routine and makes my living room or hotel feel a bit like a spa. I try my best to turn my brain off the second I turn my face mask on.
Surround Yourself With People You Love
During periods of transformation, it’s incredibly easy to feel alone. Change— and the stress and uncertainty that comes along with it— can cause us to isolate ourselves in order to cope. That’s why it’s incredibly important to surround yourself with the people you love during challenging times.
As a single woman, there have been times throughout my IVF journey that I’ve felt like I’m doing this all on my own. Unlike most women who undergo IVF, I don’t have a partner to process this journey with. Just me.
But then, I remember that I don’t have to be alone. There’s always a friend or family member I can turn to when times get tough. Even if I don’t have time to catch up with my loved ones IRL, just taking ten minutes out of my day to call FaceTime my BFF can make all the difference.