Multiple studies have shown the benefits of journaling, both physically and emotionally.
Journaling has been found to improve your emotional and physical health, by reducing stress, boosting your mood and improving memory function.
Many people going through IVF don’t tell anyone that they are going through it, and even fewer talk to people about how they really feel (even to their partners). Writing down your feelings is a great way of releasing those emotions in a safe way, whilst also giving you some calm time for yourself.
Fear, sadness, hope, anxiety, frustration, guilt, shame, disappointment… Free writing can help you work through some of those emotions, helping you work through what is triggering them and how to cope with them. IT will also help you look at them more rationally.
Many studies have shown that journaling can reduce overall levels of depression. As both anxiety and depression bring up lots of negative thoughts, journaling helps you write down your negative thoughts, recognise patterns and try to reframe them into more helpful thoughts.
You may not feel comfortable saying to anyone exactly how you are feeling – for fear that you may upset them (your partner, your friends, your family) or that they won’t understand how you are really feeling, or maybe offer you advice that may be more upsetting than helpful. Journaling gives you a safe space to write down all these things so you don’t feel you will be judged or upset anyone, you can keep it a secret so that you can write freely (for example if you are feeling jealous that your friend is pregnant, or that your partner doesn’t seem as upset as you). Or you may feel that you want to share it with your loved ones so that they can understand how you feel – it may be easier than telling them.
Recording how you feel on a regular basis can help you track how you are feeling and improvements in how you are feeling and your ability to cope. By recording how you are feeling on a scale of 1-10 at the start of your journal, you can think about where you are on the same scale at the end of your journal, and what you can do to improve it.
Sometimes infertility and treatment leave you wanting/needing to vent your emotions. A journal is a safe space to vent and may be your only place to vent. Venting can help to reduce stress, which is really important when coping through treatment.
It can be difficult to remember all the details of your treatment plan, the medication you need to take and when, your appointment dates. Writing it down in your journal will help you remember and make sure you do everything correctly. You can take it to your appointments to make notes so you remember everything.
You can make a note of all the questions you want to ask your consultant in your appointments, so that you don’t forget anything you want to know. I would always forget what I wanted to ask my consultant when I got in to my appointment, I was so emotional at every appointment, so I found it helpful to write it down.
You may feel that you will remember every detail of your journey, but as time goes on you may forget certain details that you wish you had recorded, by writing it down you can read back over how you felt and what you went through. It’s all part of your journey, whatever the outcome at the end.
The IVF Positivity Planner has 12 weeks of daily journaling space, for you to record important information, how you are feeling and some questions to keep you focused on taking care of yourself.
It has been designed to give you gentle prompts to think about how you have been kind to yourself each day, the things that have made you smile and how you can talk to yourself in a kinder way.
I’d love for you to focus on the positives from each day, so you end the day feeling happier with your life, whilst also giving you space to vent when you need to.
Every page is undated so you can start it whenever, and if you don’t feel up to filling it in one day that’s fine, you can just carry on the next page when you do feel up to it.
This is your support book, so you don’t have to show any one what you have written, and you can be completely honest about how you feel without fear of being judged.
Writing daily will help you will see any changes in how you are feeling – you can celebrate the positives, and if you notice you are feeling more negative you can take action to talk to someone or get some help.
It will also give you chance to read back how you are feeling and may help give you more understanding about any help you need or any changes you need to make.
I hope that the planner will be nice to read back on at a later date – your infertility journey is part of your history and shows your incredible strength in what you are going through.
You can buy the IVF Positivity Planner on the link below