In our profession, there has always been a big push through December leading into the holiday season, which can be both mentally and physically taxing for the entire practice team. This year, the impact of this hectic time was further amplified by our second full year of maneuvering amid a global pandemic.
Aside from being a joyful time to gather and celebrate with loved ones, the holiday season provides an important opportunity to rest, recharge, regroup and re-align ourselves with purpose and prepare for a healthy and successful year ahead.
The following holiday self-care tips will help set you on a path for a brighter start to 2022.
1. Make time for you. Self-care is critically important. As healthcare providers, it is essential that we prioritize our own health and well-being, so we can continue to provide exceptional care to others. Consider scheduling in advance for some well-deserved you time. Whether you choose to get a massage or watch your favourite Netflix show, make sure you commit to this time in advance and make the necessary arrangements to honour this time for yourself.
2. Breathe. This is an opportunity to take the time to come back to intentional breathing. Quieting the mind, body, and spirit will allow for a clearer focus on what energizes us so we can plan the upcoming year with purpose. A simple, easy exercise is to breathe in slowly to a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 5. This will upregulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps keep you calm and turns on your healing process.
3. Be mindful. Your thoughts are powerful. What you focus on becomes your reality. Focus on positive thoughts and limit your exposure to news and social media that tend to be negative. A number of mindfulness apps are available to help guide you in quieting your mind, including Calm.
4. Rest. For many of us, the holidays are a busy time with festive parties and family commitments, so it’s very important to find peace and quiet. We can’t overstate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. If this is something you struggle with, consider downloading one of the many sleep apps available, like Sleep Cycle. Listen to your body and take naps when you feel tired.
5. Nurture your body. You are what you eat. Consider eating whole, unprocessed foods grown and raised sustainably to nourish your body as well as your soul. It’s always nice to know where your food came from and how it was produced. Strive to consume clean, unadulterated water – at least 2 litres of (ideally spring) water daily.
6. Move more. Make it a priority to bring movement and flexibility into your regular routine. It has come to light that handgrip strength and aerobic fitness are key to aging with vitality. Handgrip strength is said to be more important than muscle mass for this. Personally, I incorporate rowing for aerobic base training for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week, resistance training, and regular Taikokyu Stretching. This helps my 61-year-old body keep up with the 30-and 40-year-olds. This also allows me to continue practicing dentistry with no aches or pains.
This holiday season, make self-care a priority so you can kick-off 2022 refreshed and ready to offer your patients the best version of you!
About the author
Dr. Young is a general dentist and Managing Partner at Orijin Integrated Dentistry in Calgary, Alberta. He is actively engaged in giving back to his community and is especially proud of his work with children’s charitable initiatives including the Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation, the Alex Dental Health Bus and the ADA&C Start School Smiling program. He holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Alberta.