Everyone says that the key to reducing stress is balance and exercise. Well, they’re right. Dental school is one of the most stressful, frustrating, and nerve-wracking times in our lives. Without some sort of stress outlet there’s no way we’d make it. For some people, it’s pumping iron at the gym, power cleaning at Crossfit, or zenning out with some vinyasa. For me, it’s lacing up my trusty Saucony’s and hitting the trails or the pavement. I began my on-again-off-again relationship with running in the 7th grade and feel that I owe many of my accomplishments to it.
Whether it be football, basketball or baseball, they are all sports that require top notch athletic abilities. It’s not just about the ball handling skills or how many yards the QB can throw the ball. It’s also about the nutrition and the healthy lifestyle of the athlete. Tobacco is one way an athlete can detriment their abilities. It is for good reason that the NCAA has placed a ban on the usage of tobacco for any student-athlete, coach, or game official.
Stress: a word that may be all too familiar in dental school. It can be our worst enemy and sometimes very hard to cope with. With the pressure of exams, competencies, deadlines and the constant game of playing catch-up, feeling stressed is often too well known to a dental student. It is important for us to maintain solid mental health to tackle all of the challenges of dental school and make clear, focused clinical choices. One way to do so is to be active and maintain strong physical health. Exercise can be anything, as long as it gets your blood pumping. Here are a few suggestions…
During my first year in dental school, Dr. Greer, an oral pathologist and novelist, told our class that we each needed to have a hobby other than dentistry. At the time, I didn’t know how I would find time for that. But Dr. Greer’s remarks left an impression on me. And the next year I did something about it.
Twenty four hours just never seems like enough time to accomplish everything on your to do list. But when you think about it, if you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep, there are still about 15 or more hours of your day! Planning ahead and planning smart can help you be more productive while taking care of yourself. One strategy to consider using is blocking your schedule. I like to visualize my days and weeks like what you see on Google Calendar. There are visual “blocks” for each activity.
Students get the ergonomics lecture during the first year of dental school. But when it comes to beginning sim lab to do a crown prep, all that positioning tends to go right out the window. “I’ll work on my positioning once I get the actual dentistry down,” right? Then clinic starts and you will do anything to feel like you can actually see or to avoid indirect vision. Those future neck and back problems can get their start as early as dental school. Here are some exercise tips for countering those PSPs in office or at home.
In the wake of the tragic loss of ASDA Past President Jiwon Lee in 2014, an association-wide wellness initiative was launched. ASDA has identified and/or created several resources to help its members maintain physical and emotional health, and mental well-being. Here are a few you should check out and share with classmates.