No one wakes up in the morning saying, "I think I'll form a bad habit today." Most are started for good reasons. I started relying on coffee in college to help with late night study sessions. Today, I'm left with a habit that no longer serves me, or my bladder. It's not always easy to ditch an old habit. It helps to find a replacement first, so you have something better to hang on to when you're tempted to slip back.
Are you ready to update old habits that no longer serve you? It could be that you've gotten in the habit of choosing an inactive lifestyle to avoid the embarrassment of accidental leaks. It seems to work - in the short run. The problem is long term inactivity contributes to LBL, effects overall health, and isolates us from doing things we enjoy.
How can you update your habits of inactivity? One lady shared with me that she sets a countdown timer on her computer that rings every hour. It's her signal to get up, stretch and walk around a bit. I'm doing that now too!
What can you do to put more physical activity into your life? It helps to add in exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates classes, and daily Kegel exercise can get you fit, and it strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Did you know that smoking contributes to bladder leakage? It's not an easy habit to break. Even though you know all the reasons why it's not good for you, it's not until you decide, and fully commit that you will succeed. Women share with me that when they're kicking the habit of smoking, it's tempting to replace it with food, and their weight goes up (another contributor to LBL.) Consider what routines you'd rather be experiencing than smoking or excessive eating. Why not a routine that lets you enjoy a bit of nurturing self-care, like meditation, some quiet time-out to read, or relax?
Another habit that women form with the best of intentions is saying "no" to drinking water. You might reason that the more you drink, the more likely you'll leak. What ends up happening is you get dehydrated. Urine gets concentrated in the bladder causing irritation, and leaks. It's fine to refrain from drinking a glass of water near bed time, but drinking water regularly throughout the day actually helps your body to function well, and lessen leaks.
When you update old habits, you get to enjoy a better quality of life. Whether it's staying dryer by replacing your period-only pad for pads that are LBL specific, or gaining more support, by replacing silence with conversation about LBL with your girlfriends – anytime you're ready, you can form habits to support you in new and better ways.
What about you? What habits are you ready to replace?