While the holidays may look a little different this year than in previous years, they’re still exciting nonetheless. However, one similarity, One thing that does remain the same is the holiday stress, which can be a major pain in the neck… and the teeth.
It always seems to come out of nowhere. It was just the beginning of the school year, and suddenly, BAM! It’s the holiday season coupled with the end-of-the-year rush. It’s no secret that the holiday season can quickly become overwhelming. Holiday events to attend, baking/cooking for get-togethers and school/work parties — while trying to keep everything organized — can increase your stress levels significantly.
This increase in stress can have a negative impact on your overall health, oral health, and mood. We see an increase in teeth grinding, canker sores, dry cottonmouth, and painful jaw popping in our patients over the holidays due to stress directly impacting their oral health as well as their total health. It’s vital to deal with holiday stress effectively and proactively. By doing so, your health and well-being, including the health of your teeth and gums, will thank you.
Here are a few tips to decrease stress and increase your holiday cheer this year:
Set Realistic Goals
You are only one person. Trying to attend every holiday event (both in-person and virtually), take every volunteer opportunity, and appease all of your extended family members will drain your energy. Unless you have superpowers, it’s time to allow yourself to stop taking on more than what you can or want to do. Maybe skip addressing those 50+ holiday cards by hand, turning your house into a winter wonderland, or baking the most cookies for your child’s holiday party. It’s okay to prioritize your physical and mental health during the holiday season.
We know, we know. The holidays are the most challenging time to try and go on a health kick. There are sweets and treats everywhere you turn! The reality is that if you aren’t giving your body the nutrients and fuel that it needs to succeed, it will be a challenge to tackle all the additional responsibilities that come with the holidays. We’re not telling you to skip out on your favorite seasonal treats, but try to enjoy them in moderation while ensuring you are giving your body the healthy foods it needs.
Exercise is a natural stress reducer and a great way to prioritize time for yourself every day. To add even more benefit to a daily exercise routine, try incorporating yoga. It’s a great physical workout and focuses on connecting with your breath, which reduces your blood pressure and stress levels. It’s a win-win!
Carve Out Time to Relax
You do a lot during the holidays. Don’t forget to make time to relax. Many times, when you’re feeling an increase of stress, your body’s natural reaction is to tense up, unconsciously clench your jaw, and even grind your teeth at night. None of that is healthy, and sometimes something as simple as taking 30 minutes a day to relax, sit back, and quiet the mind, will go a long way in benefiting your overall physical and oral health. Try listening to your favorite, calming music, taking a bubble bath or long, soothing shower before bed, or even incorporating a meditation practice!
Get Plenty of Rest
During the holidays, it’s common to try and shove as many things into your schedule as possible – and unfortunately, sleep is usually the first thing to be sacrificed to make time for everything else. Please don’t do that. Sleep is vital to ensure your body stays healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned! Don’t skimp on the zzz’s, or you’ll feel less holiday cheer, and perhaps a little more grinch-like.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Don’t let it cause you to neglect your health! Contact Loudoun Smile Center today for a professional cleaning (before your yearly benefits run out!), oral exam, or even go the extra mile and pamper yourself with a professional teeth whitening treatment so your smile shines at all of your holiday events.