Relaxation skills

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I’ve been helping a couple clients at work develop *effective* relaxation skills. Not just the standard “take a deep breath” or “count to ten”, but things that they can use to actually help themselves calm down when they are feeling upset.  And it got me thinking – what “relaxation” skills did I use when I was faced with all of the many infertility-related things that upset me?

My first thought was, “Relaxation skills… that’s almost funny.”  Almost.  Since “Just relax” is the first thing people tell infertiles, and the last thing we want to hear.  Maybe a different word would be better… how about calming skills?  I think I like that better.

So what *calming* skills did I use?  I honestly can’t think of many.  It’s much easier to remember all of the things that made me (and still make me, though to a lesser degree) so upset.  The pregnant woman at the grocery store with three other little kids.  Seeing any pregnant woman, for that matter.  Hearing about another baby shower.  Being told to “just relax”.  Any of the other hundreds of stupid things that people say and do…

But things I did to try to calm myself down…?  Finding online support from other infertiles was probably my most effective calming technique – lots of venting and receiving support and empathy.  I probably did use deep breathing, in those situations where I felt like I was going to start crying but didn’t want to and couldn’t leave.  I could have tried to talk myself out of being upset, but I don’t think I did that very often.

I think most of the time I just let myself be upset.  Not always the most helpful thing to do, but I think maybe it was what I needed.  The feelings and thoughts that come with infertility are so often invalidated by other people; maybe letting myself sit in all the sadness, bitterness, and anger, was a way to validate my experiences.

Do you try to calm yourself down when you’re upset about infertility?  What “calming skills” are helpful to you?



  1. I tried relaxation CDs for a while on the recommendation of my therapist. I found them somewhat helpful. I actually tried one of the visualizing exercises from the CDs on my own a few times. The most helpful thing was actually seeing my therapist. I don’t know if that really counts as a calming technique though.

    Glad to see you back. I was wondering how you were doing. 🙂

  2. Congrats on getting licensed! What a huge step.

    “Relaxation” Skills made me smirk thinking about “just relax”. LOL. My calming skills are similar to yours. I really just let myself feel it until the mood passes. I don’t think there is a way to move around it and pretend it isn’t happening. I do save up the frustrations to share with our therapist also, but often find by the time I get to her that I’m pretty much “over” my latest escapade.

    I’m glad to see a couple posts from you. I’ve missed “seeing” you around…

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