BRUSH - UP
ANDERSON DENTAL CARE Nathan Brooks, DDS, Inc.
7525 STATE RD., STE. A, CINCINNATI, OH 45255 | 513-438-8152 | WWW.ATOWNDENTAL.COM | APRIL 2020
APRIL IS STRESS AWARENESS MONTH AND IT JUST TOOK ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING FOR ME
April is Stress Awareness Month, and stress is something I think a lot of us struggle with. When I started writing this article in late February, my intention was to discuss how we can balance our stresses with all the different hats we wear and our limited time. But prior to the final publication of this newsletter, our world as we know it in Ohio shifted drastically with the onset of COVID-19, and writing about “how I balance being a dad, dentist, and business owner” suddenly didn’t seem relevant or important. I don’t know about you, but I went from having most of my time spent in my dental office and having to be very intentional about how I spent my limited time with my family to all of the sudden having tons of time to focus on family and house projects and connecting with friends and family far away. But new stresses arose about keeping my family safe and healthy, caring for my patients and team without my physical business doors open, economic concerns both locally and globally … so many things I hadn’t had to think much about in the days and weeks leading up to the COVID-19 preventive measures. We all handle stress in different ways, and we will all experience different stressors as a result of the COVID-19 interruptions. But there are some things we can do to help ease the stresses, whatever they may be, and they seem to work pretty universally. 1. Get up and MOVE! This one can be hard for me when I have nowhere to go, no pressing deadlines, and no need to get dressed … but it’s one of the most important things we can do.
Stress builds up inside us, and we have to give it a release. One of the best releases is exercise. Don’t worry — that doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym (well, you probably can’t right now anyway); anything that gets you moving counts. If you’re able to get out and go for a walk or run, the fresh air will also help. 2. Take a hot shower! Another one that may take some self-motivation when you really could just stay in PJs all day. But taking a hot shower soothes muscles, reduces stress-associated headaches, gives you time to think, and helps your body and mind relax. 3. Connect with your family and friends! I’ve been trying to spend more time with my kids, but since all of their favorite places and activities seem to be closed or canceled, we’ve had to get creative at home. If you can’t connect in person with family and friends, try connecting via video chat so you get the face-to-face interaction we truly all need to ease our minds. Laughing together is one of the best ways to reduce stress and associated fatigue. Our team has been enjoying the app Marco Polo — you leave video messages for each other and take turns responding. It’s keeping us connected while we can’t be in the office together. 4. Tell yourself ‘It’s okay.’ For me, this sort of works like meditation — I focus on breathing while telling myself “it’s okay.” Sometimes that means “what I’m going through will be okay,” sometimes it means “it’s okay that I’m not doing everything I should be doing right now.” I think
both are applicable right now. Telling ourselves our situation will be okay helps us believe it’s true, relieving our stress and clearing our minds to be able to think about how we can make it okay. The latter statement is also so necessary in a time where we feel we have so little control over our situation, are thrown into irregular routines and tasks, and have so much uncertainty. Allowing ourselves to feel that and just be okay with what we’re doing is invaluable. Nothing about this period of time is “normal,” so expecting ourselves to behave normally, follow a rigid routine, make all the perfect meals, create activities for kids who are now home all day, maintain our level of lifestyle in uncertain financial times, etc. are all unreasonable expectations for ourselves in this circumstance. Telling yourself “it’s okay” to not feel normal, reasonable, at peace — those are all completely acceptable, and acknowledging them allows your stress over them to dissipate. While my article took a drastic turn in the wake of COVID-19, the challenge I had included remains the same. This month, for Stress Awareness Month, my challenge to you is to take the pressure off yourself to get things perfect every single time. Instead, focus on doing the best you can within the time and resources you have available. Be fully present. And be okay with it. Over the long term, you might be surprised how far those habits can take you.
Stay safe and healthy. We’ll see you back in our office soon!
– Dr. Brooks
513-438-8152 • 1www.atowndental.com
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