Seven Ways to Mitigate Bruxism By Reducing Stress
Under the most ordinary of circumstances, a condition like bruxism can be exacerbated by stress. These days, the stress factor may be pushing us to our limits.
As we all adjust to new ways of living, working, and managing our daily routines, the capacity for stress to overwhelm is larger than ever. Here are seven basic touchstones to ensure that you are doing what you can to keep stress to a minimum while practicing distancing and other new rules of the road...
1. Practice calm. One of the most immediate and effective ways to reduce stress is to carve out time each day to eliminate every stressor and center yourself. Ensure that you have at least 20-30 minutes set aside each day to step away from work, socializing, social media and other distractions and practice calm. Meditation can be a terrific structured way to do this, but even if you're just sitting quietly and observing natural sounds and your own breathing, it will do a world of good.
2. Eat right. Goodness knows, comfort food can be a huge relief when times are rough. And don't deny yourself that cheeseburger or piece of cake every so often! But ensure that your daily intake is healthy - Everyday Health has great tips on foods to incorporate, including citrus fruits, whole grains and fish. Likewise, have that morning cup of coffee each day if you look forward to it, but don't keep guzzling caffeine all day long; it's one of the worst ways to exacerbate stress. Herbal tea is a terrific alternative.
3. Keep moving. In our previous blog about work-from-home challenges, we discussed the importance of ensuring that you aren't chained to your desk all day long. But this goes for the weekends, too; it's fun to binge-watch a great TV show, but make sure you don't turn into a couch potato. Get out and take responsible, socially-distanced walks or jogs. Do a bit of light exercise in the middle of the day, maybe right before lunch. Even dancing to your favorite album for a little while can help with stress!
4. Make plans. Having some sense of structure, rather than playing fast and loose with your schedule when you have the ability to do so, can absolutely help; sometimes, it's stressful to manage everything when you have no set schedule. Keep your work hours set and don't deviate, unless you're able to take some extra time for yourself during the work-week. And plan activities! – make time to read that book you've been wanting to get around to, or practice your cooking skills. (Which will also help with #2!)
5. Talk it out. One of the most crucial, beneficial things you can do to help with your stress levels is open up to those you care about and get things off your chest. Whether it's with household members, or via phone or Zoom chat, be sure to keep the lines of communication open so you can have a sounding board (or two or three!) when things get rough. If you struggle with anxiety or other issues that make it difficult to talk, a counselor could be the right thing for you; many great therapists are available for online sessions.
6. Laugh! There is a reason that "laughter is the best medicine" is a phrase with so much recognition; it definitely isn't a solution to everything, but it can be such a balm when times are difficult. Find a fun sitcom or comedy special that really tickles your funny bone, or start following more humor blogs and social media channels to break up the constant flow of tough news. And when you do socialize with friends and family, even from a distance, be sure to find humor and help each other with a stress-relieving giggle (or six).
7. Prioritize YOU. Perhaps the most important of all on this list is ensuring that at the end of the day, you are your first priority. There is nothing selfish in making a practice of putting your own needs high on the list because, ultimately, you will perform better in your job and in your relationships with others if you are able to maintain a precious bit of "me" time on a regular basis. Whatever delivers happiness or satisfaction for you, be sure to carve out time during the week for those activities. We think you'll find that if you do, you'll sleep a little more restfully and feel more motivated.
Ensuring that you are doing all that you can do in your activities to reduce stress is just one part of a treatment plan for bruxism. ClearClub's custom-fit, low-cost night guards will help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, and start as low as $80-$95 for your first guard. Plus, they are shipped directly to your door! Your teeth will thank you.
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