By, Chelsea Fechtner and Jamie Mammenga
The holiday season can be a time of excitement, joy, and togetherness. It can also be a stressful and busy time. As we head into this holiday season, you might be considering all of the ways you can show up and give to your loved ones and your community. We tend to give so much of ourselves during this time of year that it can often leave us feeling empty and low on reserves. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to also make time for yourself.
Taking time for ourselves can at times feel selfish, especially during a season devoted to giving. It may be helpful to consider that taking time for yourself is actually a form of self-care that can help you recharge, allowing you to show up more effectively for others.
During fertility journeys, there are often many additional commitments related to treatments that can zap time and energy in an already busy time of year. This makes caring for yourself even more essential. Below are three simple ways to take time and care for yourself throughout this holiday season and beyond.
Start a Gratitude Practice
Gratitude means taking the time to remember and acknowledge the good things that you have experienced in the past or are currently experiencing. Additionally, gratitude helps us appreciate kindness and notice moments of brightness while also helping to initiate a willingness to share those gifts with others. To begin a gratitude practice, start by noticing a time during your day when you may be engaging in a mindless or mundane task. During this time, your mind likely tends to wander and focus on worries or concerns about the future. This is a wonderful opportunity to shift your focus and attention to an event, experience, or person that you’re grateful for or that brings you moments of lightness and joy.
Take a Mindful Walk
Bundle up and take a moment for yourself outside with a mindful walk! As you move, let your eyes wander to your surroundings and notice the beautiful colors, plants, and scenes around you. Consider the aspects of your surroundings that you enjoy the most and either make a mental note of those or record them by taking a quick photo to store in an album for a visual reminder. You can even make this part of your gratitude practice.
Enjoy a Festive Beverage
Fertility patients often speak of feeling deprived of simple pleasures that used to bring them joy. Sipping on a fun and fertility-supportive drink can be a great way to add pleasure back into your holiday festivities. We encourage you to explore the recipes below and try serving them in a festive glass!
Pomegranate Spritz Mocktail
Blood orange and pomegranate contain antioxidants that support egg and sperm quality, as well as provide an immune boost as we move into cold and flu season. Adapt the garnishes based on what you have on hand, utilizing other citrus fruits as desired.
2 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 blood orange, juiced (substitutes: orange, lemon or grapefruit)
Optional: dash of herbal bitters
Optional garnishes: pomegranate seeds, blood orange wedges
Fill your glass with ice and add the pomegranate juice and blood orange juice.
Top with sparkling water, optional bitters, and garnishes of choice.
Cashew Hot Cocoa
This creamy and lightly sweetened cocoa makes a great after dinner treat when you want a cozy beverage without a lot of added sugar. Cocoa and dates add richness and contain magnesium for muscle relaxation and menstrual cycle support.
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt
4 oz hot water
8 oz homemade cashew date milk (recipe below) or other milk of choice
1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
Add the cacao powder and sea salt to a mug. Pour in the hot water and whisk together to dissolve the cocoa powder.
Froth, steam or warm the cashew milk and pour into the mug.
Sweeten with honey to taste.
Homemade Cashew Date Milk
Makes about 3 ½ cups
A simple, minimal ingredient homemade cashew milk that doesn’t require any straining or extra steps! Incorporate the milk into green smoothies, coffee, and the cashew hot cocoa recipe listed above to provide healthy fats for blood sugar regulation and satiety.
3 cups filtered water
3 tablespoons cashew butter
Pinch of sea salt
3 pitted Medjool dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until fully smooth and frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a large mason jar or other container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.