Sleigh Bells and Other Stresses of the Holiday Season

bruxismWho doesn’t love the merriment that extends from Thanksgiving to the New Year? With all the joy being spread around, we are encouraged to keep up a busier pace than usual; and for most of us, our usual pace is pretty busy already. The sounds of sleigh bells and fluttering of snow may not send you into a tizzy of stress, per se, but the season as a whole can leave you feeling depleted, to say the least.

Why it Matters
Why would we devote a blog post to the stress of the holiday season? Because we recognize the hidden ways that stress can sneak straight into the smile. Unmanaged or excessive stress is one of the primary factors in bruxism, the habit that many people engage in on a nightly basis. Visible jaw-clenching tends to be something we only see in movies or soap operas. In real life, we don’t see it, nor do we see teeth grinding. That’s because we do it while we sleep.

How to Make it Through the Season without Unmanaged Stress
It sounds easy to say that we need to learn to manage our stress. Even when you understand the immense value of doing so, you may struggle to implement stress-reducing habits. What’s important to recognize right off the bat is that stress-reduction looks different for all of us. Some suggestions that may get you thinking include:

  • Set an earlier bedtime for particularly busy weeks of the holiday season.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after noon as much as possible.Limit alcohol consumption to one glass (after the sedative effect wears off, alcohol sugars stimulate the body and mind!).
  • Take a long walk – alone!
  • Spend a few minutes each day sitting in a quiet spot where you can watch the world pass by.
  • Listen to soft, calming music.
  • Maintain a daily exercise routine.

Options for reducing stress are endless, and they do not have to involve a yoga mat or meditation app on your phone. Whatever it is that helps you mitigate stress, do it. Your smile will thank you.
To the patients of Morris County Dental Associates, we wish you a joy-filled holiday season!

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