Create before you Consume

NOURISH. A year ago I decided this was my theme for 2019, a year of  nourishing those around me. But on reflection my biggest learning, and what should have been my word for 2019 was BOUNDARIES.

Here’s the best bits:

  • Over 300 new patients have been through my clinic with more than 1000 follow up appointments and around 350 discharged. That’s at least 350 people who struggled with incontinence, prolapse, childbirth or pelvic pain problems who are now happily going about their lives without any issues. Hurrah!
  • We ran 6 more “Happy Bladder” courses for specialist physios bringing our total #BladderHeroes tribe to 181.
  • This was the year of the conference… I attended 2 courses and 4 conferences myself, and spoke at another 4. Reading that is ridiculous! 10 in one year! Give a busy person things to do they say…
  • Happy Bladder went international with the first course in Ireland, and will be in Toronto in March 2020
  • I finished my first triathlon, ran my first half marathon and went to 5 weddings. Phew.

There’s a Yin and Yang to life I long-ago accepted. This was a difficult and exhausting year where for half of it I lived between two cities 4 hours apart as my father had a terminal illness and sadly died. Chronic stress does many detrimental things to the body physically and mentally, and I learnt this the hard way (again) as I had to just knuckle down and survive, not thrive. By May I’d burnt out. I wasn’t tired, I was empty. Have a look at my burnout post on Instagram in December if you’ve not already read it. A few months off and some counselling helped with recovery, but rehabilitating my mental health, energy and wellbeing is an ongoing priority.

The last few months I’ve been slowly dipping my toe back in and finding out what still feels good, what depletes and what fills my bucket. I’m at my most creative, empathetic and giving when I’m relaxed. The aftermath of fragility has taught me feeling whole and steady needs to be a priority.

Reflecting on 2019 has been difficult but healing, here’s some of my learnings:

Exercise is non-negotiable.

I knew that to survive this year I had to NOURISH myself. Alongside strength training I signed up for my first triathlon and fell in love with open water swimming. There is nothing as blissful as swimming with ducks in a beautifully clean freshwater reservoir at 6am as the sun rises. Training 6 days a week gave me structure and some time to myself wherever I was. Although perpetually exhausted, getting up half an hour earlier to meditate and do some yoga made the days bearable. Self-care first aid was a necessity, exercise is healing.

Find your BOUNDARIES and protect them fiercely

This was my greatest and most grateful learning for this year. There are so many things that really don’t matter, where the world does not end. Finding my boundaries and sticking to them, learning to politely but firmly say no. There will always be emails in your (5) inboxes, there will always be people who want things from you. You choose when you let those people have your time and how you interact with them. It’s easy to take on other’s emotions. I now have hours of work and hours of rest – you’ll find me steadfastly reminding people of this.

Bring creativity & play into your day

I’ve found I crave these as an outlet for the stress and burden of working in healthcare. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolute privilege to work in pelvic health and a profession I’m passionate about. But it can be draining when your days are spent with people in crisis. Finding creativity and play in my week balances and restores my energy.

So what of 2020?

I’m starting off the year with an intention to be more GROUNDED, to try and approach all aspects of life from a centred, calm, still and open place. I’m aiming to ensure meditation, swimming, exercise, creativity and play are the framework for my week. Marie Forleo talks about “Creating before Consuming”, I love this idea. Less social media, more #HumanBeingNotHumanDoing

In light of this I’m taking a softer run-in to 2020, but you can still expect holistic pelvic pain innovation throughout the year.

What I’m excited aboutfor 2020!

– 5 #HappyBladder courses before the summer, including TORONTO Baby! Then Chichester, London, Birmingham, and Cork. If you want to find out more, click here.

– Happy Bladder’s going Digital. You asked, I listened. The Digital Happy Bladder course will be available for all my international colleagues in the Spring. Watch this space.

– We’re going to get our head around neuroimmunocentric treatments for the pelvis. Why should we be thinking about central sensitisation in prolapse? How can we treat autonomic windup in chronic prostatitis? Digital AND live offerings will be coming your way – sign up below to the newsletter to find out more.

Want to catch me live this year? Head to:

  • Swansea PlusBaby event in March
  • UK CS pre-conference Workshop for UKCS: “Assessing an Unhappy Bladder: How to be a clinical ninja”
  • UK Continence Society conference in Glasgow where I’ll be talking about The Thinking Pelvis: neuroimmune treatments for bladder pain
  • I’m also keen to catch IUGA and IASP – both in Amsterdam this year. Who’s with me?
  • Any of the SouthWest triathlons between now and August…

Wishing you all a healthy and happy new year. I hope 2020 provides opportunities for growth that aren’t too challenging.

If you’re interested in talking to me I have a clinic in Cardiff and am also happy to chat via Skype. Click here to book yourself some time with me.

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