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10 Ways to Manage (Pelvic Floor) Festive Stress

Dec 05, 2023

It's Chrissssssstmaaaaaaaassss!!!

Well, nearly. And if you're anything like me, it's probably all getting a bit much right about.... 

While there is lots to look forward to and enjoy over Christmas - it's the sheer amount of it that always seems a bit overwhelming - cooking, shopping, socialising, eating, drinking,.... you get the idea.

Knowing that Christmas might be a bit stressful is a big bonus - we can put a few simple strategies in place to make sure we're having fun, not feeling frazzled.

So, in order to make this simpler, we've put together a festive season survival guide.

We want you to have a happy, relaxed, fun-filled Christmas this year, and with a little forward planning, we think we've got it cracked. 

Festive Season Survival Guide

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality time with loved ones.

However, if you have pelvic floor issues, the stress and anxiety that goes hand in hand with this time of year can bring added challenges.

Stress and anxiety can cause extra tension in the pelvic floor muscles which, if left unchecked, can lead to a worsening of symptoms like incontinence and pain.

We've got 10 tips to help you navigate the holiday season with ease and make sure (pelvic floor) stress isn't going to stop you enjoying yourself.

1. Prioritise Self-Care:

We know!

We're sick of hearing this too but it's worth thinking about what this might mean to you in a very small way.

Take time for yourself each day - even if it's only 5 minutes.

You could try a short meditation, a bit of belly breathing, or just have a cup of tea and read a few pages of a good book. And in case you needed to hear this, doom scrolling is not going to relax you.

Anything that feels restful or relaxing (even if you only do it for 5 minutes) will reduce stress and strain on your pelvic floor muscles.

2. Plan Ahead for Parties:

Parties can be tricky when you've got pelvic floor issues but don't be held back!

Consider what you'll need to enjoy yourself in advance.

Only say yes to the social engagements you really want to go to. 

Make sure you're comfortable in what you're wearing and if you need incontinence protection, consider some reusable pants - they're invisible under party dresses.

You can also try some habit stacking - do a quick pelvic floor routine as part of your party prep. A little bit of exercise reminds your pelvic floor muscles of good function - very useful if you're going to be standing for long periods and dancing too.

3. Mindful Eating:

Christmas food and drink has to be one of the best bits but during the holiday season, but a change in diet and routine can cause constipation which is going to put extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. 

Balance indulgent sugary or fatty treats with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

A daily fibre and protein rich breakfast is a really simple way to balance out a week (or two) of holiday feasts.

You could try porridge, a veggie/protein smoothie (the fruity ones have a lot of sugar), or an omelette with tomato, peppers and spinach. This added bonus of a balanced brekkie is you'll be staisfied until lunch.

Eating some fibre with every meal will help keep constipation at bay (check out our instagram for some healthy fibre rich recipes). 

4. Stay Active:

Regular exercise helps manage pelvic floor issues as well as weight, mood, and heart health. It can also be a good excuse for a little me time but it doesn't have to be a big deal. 

Aim for at least 20 minutes of 'active' time each day.

Walk to the pub instead of taking the bus. Do a YouTube video at home if you can't get to the gym. Get some friends together for a Christmas Day Dip - you get the idea.

5. Ask for What you Need:

Christmas is for spending time with the people you love and the people who love you want to help and support you.

If you need some time alone, an exercise buddy or someone to support your healthy choices, just ask.

Open and honest communication will make for a much happier holiday season all round.

6. Practice Stress-Relief Techniques:

Stress and anxiety can make pelvic floor issues worse.

If you notice yourself feeling stressed, you need to release it or your body will hold on to it.

Dance to your favourite song, do some journaling, try some belly breathing, lie down for a quick meditation, or do a hobby you enjoy. Just don't reach for your phone or the TV remote.

Better yet, try our stress relieving routine - perfect for a busy holiday season. 

Recognising your stress and actively letting it go will work wonders and stop you reaching boiling point.

7. Take Breaks:

Chances are you'll be run off your feet in the next few weeks.

When you can, lie down for a few minutes. 

Pelvic floor muscles only get a break if you're lying down.

Ideally you could do a relaxing meditation in this position but taking a phone call or answering a few emails lying down will still give your pelvic floor a break.

Taking breaks is stops your pelvic floor muscles getting fatigued and allows you to recharge.

8. Stay Hydrated:

Proper hydration is essential for pelvic floor health and for staving off any holiday hangovers.

Sip water throughout the day and pay attention to the colour of your wee. It should be pale yellow with a faint smell.

Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol as these can irritate the bladder. They're also diuretics which means they cause you to produce more wee and can lead to dehydration.

Alternate alcoholic drinks with water and limit your coffee intake to the earlier part of the day.

9. Get Help:

If you're struggling with pelvic floor issues, there is lots of pelvic floor help available from healthcare professionals

Do yourself a favour and give yourself the gift of a GP or women's health physiotherapy appointment this Christmas.

An in person assessment is the best way to get the individual support you need.

10. Have Fun:

A really powerful way to increase the amount of fun you're having is to focus on the positives.

If a negative thought enters your mind (for example, you might be down about your pelvic floor symptoms) remind yourself of all the things you can do that you enjoy, of all the positive changes you've made, and that every upward trajectory has setbacks.

Life is full of ups and downs but by being thankful for all the good in your life you can improve your mood, lower your stress levels, and have more festive fun. 

So now that we've got our festive stresses sorted, it's time to focus on the important things:

What do you want for Christmas? ;)

Start your pelvic floor health journey TODAY. 

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