Taking time for the little things

If you have been on TikTok recently, you have probably come across a video featuring the following quote: “You have to start romanticizing your life. You have to start believing that your morning commute is cute and fun — that every cup of coffee is the best that you’ve ever had. That even the smallest and most mundane things are exciting and new. You have to because that’s when you start living. That’s when you look forward to every day.”

Throughout my time in dental school, I have found this to be more and more accurate, and have truly seen the importance of making the most of every little thing every day. Dental school is a long, demanding four years of your life, and the one thing we can never get back is our time.

In the May 2021 issue of ASDA’s Contour magazine, the “Probing Question” asked four dental students: “How do you take care of your mental health?” My answer to this question was that I make time for things that I love and enjoy outside of dental school, even the little things such as drinking coffee and reading in bed in the mornings, working out after clinic or doing yoga on Sundays.

The Oxford dictionary defines wellness as the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. Wellness is something that must be pursued. As dental students, it is often hard for us to put ourselves first, but the only way to achieve wellness is to consciously make time for the things that we enjoy. A good way to start is to establish a morning routine. My morning routine has made all the difference. This could be as simple as having coffee in the morning while not multitasking — just allowing yourself the time to enjoy your cup of coffee. 

If you like to read, I’ve found that sitting down with a book and reading something not related to dentistry is such a nice change of pace, compared to staring at a computer screen like we do so much in dental school. (My book recommendations include: “Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story” by Pietro Bartolo, “The Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom and “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson.)

There are also many apps that focus on meditation and wellness. Spotify even has a wellness section with podcasts and guided meditations. Other apps include Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm.

Regardless of what you decide to do, dedicating time to your wellness and the little things that make you happy is always worthwhile, especially while in dental school. 

~ Stephanie Jaipaul, Georgia ’22, Chapter Immediate Past President

Stephanie Jaipaul

Stephanie Jaipaul is a current third-year dental student at the Dental College of Georgia. She has served ASDA in the past as an electronic editor, district 4 professional relations chair and is currently the immediate past president of the ASDA chapter at DCG.

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