Managing stress during the holidays

Nov 01, 2021

AUTHOR: Mandy Dennis, RDH

Stress towards the end of the year is common within the dental community. Many patients have forgotten to use their benefits and they many times try to fit everything in at the last minute. Stress during the holidays towards year-end adds to this. We can choose to find ways to reduce the amount of stress we experience, despite all of the additional contributors which may find their way into our day!

Identify it

The effects of stress can be overwhelming. We may not feel there is an end in sight. We may also be contributing it to work and yet it may not be work related at all! The Mayo Clinic has a great resource chart to identify stress. Allowing stress to overrun our bodies and our minds leads to a cluttered mind and an inability to think clearly. When we keep ourselves from identifying and resolving stress, we stop ourselves from being able to manage stress and to be our best for ourselves, as a clinician for our patients, and for our families. Finding triggers which may be contributing to the stress can help us to remove those from our lives and help us to enjoy our day more.

One patient at a time

No matter how much we love what we do, we can lose sight of this when stress gets to be too much. Making a difference one person at a time can help the bad moments feel not so bad, and even reduce their frequency. Looking at the schedule ahead of time and finding a person you can make a difference to, will give us short term goals. At the end of the day, we are able to feel accomplished in making a person feel better about their oral health and smile. The other people who truly is left happy is us.

Take time for yourself

Stress compiles when we don’t rest. We need to take time for ourselves. In a profession where we are constantly giving to everyone else, we must remember to take moments where we make ourselves the priority. The American Academy of Stress states “If you start your day off stressed and anxious, there’s a good chance you will feel stressed and anxious the rest of the day." Starting your day with just 5 minutes to breathe, meditate or just be alone can give you a better start and help you to clear your head and give you a great start to the day.

Find an outlet!

Did you realize releasing endorphins reduces stress? Exercising releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers in the brain. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise decreases overall levels of tension, elevates and stabilizes mood, improves sleep, and improves self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Giving yourself a little bit of time to release the frustration you may have experienced throughout the day, can reset your night and help you sleep and start again.


Identify the stress in your life. Remove what is isn’t important and valuable to you. Don’t give merit to things that contribute to stress. Find people everyday who can help you remember why you love your job! Taking time for yourself to mentally rest at the beginning of the day and release endorphins at the end of the day is important! You are worth it and your body will be thankful for it.

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