Any time is a good time to start incorporating healthy habits. The idea is not about timing, but about consistency. You can start on Wednesday or Monday, you can start during spring break or the middle of the summer. You can even start during the holidays, especially if you’re traveling!

With lots of holiday travel, treats, and traditions coming up it’s good to practice healthy habits to reduce constipation, urinary urgency, or pelvic discomfort. 

Helpful healthy habits 

As a licensed pelvic health physical therapist, I have gathered several tips that can help you build healthy habits during holidays. Here are just over a handful to help build healthy habits, especially during the holiday season:

  1. When traveling on a plane or by car bring a neck pillow and a jacket you can roll up and place behind your lower back for better lumbar support to reduce pressures building up on areas of your back and legs. 
  2. healthy habits, figure 4 stretch, seated stretchA simple figure-4 stretch with one foot over the other knee and either pulling that bent knee towards you or leaning your chest down toward the knee should feel like a good stretch for your bottom. You can do this on a plane, train, or automobile! Even at the dinner table. 
  3. Drink water to avoid the urgent need to go right before the flight. This might sound counterintuitive, but we want to stay hydrated when we fly, drive, or go somewhere new. Invest in a reusable water bottle that you can refill at a filling fountain or restaurant once you’re past security at the airport and take tiny sips throughout your flight. Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day of water, more if pregnant or breastfeeding. 
  4. Sit on toilets. Do not hover. This might be an unpopular opinion but sitting allows the pelvic floor muscles to relax and allow urine or poop to exit comfortably. Wipe it down or lay a toilet cover on it first as needed. But more importantly, you need to keep your feet flat, and knees slightly above your hips (or leaning slightly forward if the toilet is too tall), exhaling gently will help with tricky bowel movements. Bonus if your cousin’s girlfriend has a squatty potty at their house when you visit! And if not, just use the trash can, it’s OK, I’ve done it. 
  5. When eating foods that are acidic (fruits, juices), spicy, or contain little water content (nuts, cheeses, chocolate) try to drink more water to help dilute the urine in your bladder making it less irritable or angry. A bladder partially full of irritated urine will think it needs to use the restroom sooner than a bladder completely full of diluted urine. 
  6. Perform bowel massage daily (every day not just on holidays!) starting on the right lower side of your abdomen, using gentle pressure and tiny circles with your finger pads to move up toward your right rib cage, then move over to the left rib cage then move back down on the left side of your abdomen. This will help stimulate the gut to keep stool moving and hopefully reduce the likelihood of constipation. Even as little as one time a day for three to five minutes can be incredibly helpful!

healthy habits, bowel massage

healthy habits, bowel massage

Adopting healthy habits during the holidays can significantly enhance your pelvic floor health and overall well-being. By incorporating these practical tips into your routine, you can effectively manage constipation, urinary urgency, or pelvic discomfort, allowing you to fully enjoy the festivities without limitations. Remember, consistency is crucial for achieving long-term benefits. Start small, make gradual changes, and prioritize your well-being throughout the year. Embrace a healthy lifestyle and experience a joyous, healthy holiday season.

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