Do You Know What Actually Relaxes You?

It might sound obvious, but many people aren’t very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime, especially dentists.

People often think they’re resting when they’re really not. For example, maybe you count scrolling through Twitter for a couple of hours as relaxation. That might be restful to some people, but for many, it’s more stressful than anything.⁠

Or maybe you force yourself to do things that you’ve heard are supposed to be relaxing like napping, or taking a bubble bath—but you actually find them unhelpful or boring.

Relaxation isn’t one-size-fits-all.⁠
To figure out what rest means to you, you might want to reframe how you think about it.⁠

Relaxation is not an activity—it’s the outcome of an activity.⁠

And which activities lead to relaxation will depend on you. ⁠

Explore hobbies, different types of physical activity, various means of socializing, self-care practices, and more. Remember, there is more to life than dentistry!⁠

Then pay attention. Ask yourself, “How do I feel after doing this? Do I feel grounded? Do I feel stable? Do I feel at ease?” If so, maybe that’s something that can be on your list as a way to rest from the world. And if not, maybe you need to try something else.⁠

If you find that your go-to relaxation activities aren’t actually relaxing and you’re not sure what else to try, you might have to go back to the drawing board and start experimenting. That’s okay. Start small. Like, so small that you think it’s absurd.⁠

Literally sit for 30 seconds.⁠
Do one deep-breathing exercise a day.⁠
Go from there.⁠

Come back and let me know what you discover.

Be well friend.

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Published by Yoga for Dentists

Dr. Josie Dovidio is a long-time dentist and certified yoga teacher who took a sabbatical from clinical dentistry to address health issues related to prolonged stress. She now helps dental professionals "undo" what dentistry does to the body, mind and soul through her Yoga for Dentists community on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Channel and Podcast.

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