You’ve just started a new semester of school. You’re nearly two weeks in, not too overworked, but you already feel exhausted. Getting out of bed to get to school is a chore, and you’re left wondering where the zeal and excitement you had during your first semester went. This is a common routine for dental students around the country and is one of many manifestations of burnout.
For established dentists and dental students alike, dealing with stress is an occupational hazard. A survey conducted by the ADA in 2015 found that 75 percent of dentists experience moderate to severe levels of stress. In addition, a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association identified health care, money and the economy to be key drivers of stress among Americans overall.
Is stress taking a toll on you? There are a number of warning signs of someone who is out of balance. While these symptoms may take up to several months to appear, they are gentle hints that you need to stop and take care of yourself. Your coursework may be affected if you don’t have the energy you need to be at your best.
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.
I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night. I knew today was going to be packed from beginning to end and while that’s all the more reason to get a good night’s sleep, it kept me awake. Stress is like that–even when we acknowledge it, it can be tough to beat. You may be feeling an unusual amount of stress in dental school. This was the topic of ASDA’s lead story in the March issue of ASDA News: read it here. One way to cope with dental school stress is to tell yourself it will all be over in four years. But the reality is that life will likely throw more stressors your way even after dental school. That’s why it’s important to face your stress and learn how to manage it now. Read on for 5 ways to manage stress and a giveaway.