Folks across the nation are counting down the days until their favorite holiday gathering. Millions are already beginning their seasonal grind of rushing from home to work, from work to the mall, from the mall to home to prepare all the gifts they just purchased for wrapping. And then, as if this frenzy of activity, which usually lasts at least a few weeks, weren’t enough, a large majority also throw in a few festivities here and there. That’s what the season is all about, right? Yes! And, it could also be about experiencing some hidden consequences of all that stress.
With the holiday season upon us, there is no better time to discuss a significant pitfall you might encounter: bruxism. This condition describes the clenching and grinding activity that may be going on right under your nose – without your knowledge. If left unchecked, bruxism could damage your teeth and cause chronic face and head pain. Who has time for that! If you don’t, then make time for this:
We hear so much about the importance of rest that we may easily tune out encouraging messages. The fact is, we do need rest and relaxation because life is a lot busier than it used to be. We are almost constantly plugged in and on the go. This can cause a lot of stress. And stress that doesn’t get worked out actively gets worked out at night – in the mouth. This holiday season, find what speaks to you. A warm bath or shower, a quiet space with soft music, a long walk alone to gather your thoughts or clear your head. These activities are necessary for stress management and can help you avoid teeth grinding.
To say that relaxation is the key to managing holiday stress isn’t enough. For many people, playing video games late into the night feels relaxing (after all, it’s not work!). For others, it’s catching up on the Walking Dead, or sipping a few cocktails after dinner. It’s important to know that some activities, like those mentioned here, can ultimately have a negative effect on quality of sleep. A good rule of thumb is to avoid activities that could be more stimulating to the mind than relaxing. This can take a lot of discipline, but it’s worth it.