Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

Date: December 2022

Author: Mandy Dennis, RDH

As the end of the year approaches, many patients realize they have ignored their dental health. Having put off their appointments, these patients now are competing with other patients to get in at the last minute. In addition to the professional stress this brings on, personal stress also tends to build and the holiday season also brings expectations financially. Understanding how to identify the stress and tools to reduce stress can make the holiday season more enjoyable, as opposed to stressful. 

Enjoy the season

As the holiday season begins, expectations to do more for others increase. Oftentimes, holiday parties are scheduled, and you may feel obligated to say yes. The holidays should be a time to celebrate tradition, family and friends. It’s important to create boundaries to allow time for yourself. Prioritize the things you choose to be part of. Don’t be afraid to say no. Understanding the time you have is important and that you need to put your mental state first.  

Stick to healthy habits

In addition to potential emotional stress, unhealthy routines such as excessive drinking and eating also happen. Keeping the healthy habits you have throughout the rest of the year is important. As we work in a profession where sedentary positions keep us from moving around, it’s important to stay active. We need to stay active during the holidays too; keeping to workout routines and making time for yourself will help to avoid the holiday pounds. Keep a diary of what you are indulging in, and avoid overindulging. Portion control will allow you to truly enjoy the foods you like, and you don’t have to have everything.  

Separating professional and personal

Professional and personal lives tend to cross over during the holiday season. It’s ok to separate the two and make the most of both relationships. Give yourself the opportunity to celebrate both during the holidays. Define how much time you will commit to both, so that you can enjoy time with everyone and feel good about seeing everyone.

Don’t take it personally

Healthcare professionals give so much extra during the holidays.  Patients tend to wait until the end of the year to maximize their benefits. Don’t make their lack of preparation your emergency.  Remember you are there to care for them and will do the best you can, however don’t compromise your own well being. 


  • Enjoy the season and take time for yourself

  • Choose to make it a healthy season

  • Balance life by making time for family and friends

  • Choose how you are going to spend the season and stick to it


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