Wellness

New sleep habits for the new year

Getting enough sleep is arguably one of the most challenging aspects of dental school. Between attending classes and studying for tests, working on your lab skills and seeing patients, it can be tough to find enough hours in the day to get ample sleep. While we’re all familiar with the many platitudes regarding ideal sleep schedules and the benefits of getting enough rest, it can be challenging to actually incorporate those guidelines into your everyday schedules. However, there’s no question that getting restful sleep is important. A 2002 study published in Neuron found that a full night’s worth of sleep is correlated with a 20% improvement in motor speed without loss of accuracy. Fortunately, given the many mobile technological advances available today, there are now numerous apps designed to help you achieve this.

Wellness starts at breakfast

Just like Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson in Parks & Recreation, I can’t imagine why “anybody would ever eat anything besides breakfast food.” According to a recent survey by Kellogg’s, more than 50 percent of adults would like to eat breakfast daily, but only a third take the time to actually do so.

These statistics are baffling, because I couldn’t imagine skipping breakfast. But while I don’t skip breakfast, I have been known to eat breakfast at my desk. That’s a behavior I’m trying to stop.

Staying balanced through the holidays

For many, the holidays bring memories of frosting sugar cookies, spending precious time with family near and far and looking forward to a bright new year. Unfortunately for others, the holidays can look and feel very different. They may spend the season in solitude, or their holiday obligations may bring on unnecessary stress. I know for me, the holidays have been more difficult to celebrate since losing both my mother and father. Those of us who have lost close family members may find if painful to take part in the same holiday traditions once celebrated.

Managing work-life balance

One of the reasons that many of you have chosen dentistry as a profession is to establish autonomy. You’d like to set your own schedule, take vacations when you please and not answer to a boss. However, patients want to be seen early in the morning and late at night, so your workdays will be long. Patients want to be seen during the weekend, so your weekends will be short. While it’s tempting to believe that you will be able to schedule your patients to meet your needs, you may not be able to meet your financial obligations if you do. If you learn to balance your work and your life while you are in dental school, it may be easier for you to continue to do so once you enter the profession. We have some simple suggestions that might help.

Maintain your bicycle wheel to achieve balance

Shivers practicing yoga to stay balanced As I come to my mat, I inhale my thoughts: “The eye orbit consists of which bones?” “I have 3 assignments due by midnight.” “I work at 5 on Thursday.” Then I exhale, bringing myself to my practice and letting go of the stress.

I picked up yoga and a few other activities last year after speaking with a co-worker, Dr. Michelle Pearson (North Carolina ‘03). She saw me become restless and drained at work as the months passed, and she shared with me the importance of taking time for yourself.

The benefits of intramural sports

Intramural sports Preparation, proper form and good hand skills – we must be talking about dentistry, right? Well, not quite: we’re talking about sports!

Sports and dentistry have more in common than you might think. If you’ve ever played high school or collegiate sports, you know that success on the field begins before the game even starts, with late-night practices, team huddles, proper coaching and of course, hard work. Similarly, as dental students, we know all too well how pre-clinical practice and adequate preparation before appointments are crucial components to being successful in clinic.

How nature can reboot your mood

natureFor me, the start of third year was the most exciting part of dental school thus far. Finally being in clinic full-time was the light at the end of a two-year tunnel of intense didactic coursework and preclinical projects. Seeing patients of my own also helped me feel like an actual dentist and at my school, we are lucky to each have our own operatory.

I remember the very first day I excitedly walked into my little office–with my own chair, desk, computer and three windowless walls. But, after a month of sitting in the same small room, day after day, I could feel those three walls closing in on me.