Stopping the Grind of the Holiday Season
- Posted on: Dec 15 2016
Most of us look forward to at least one aspect of the holiday season. While those of us who call the West Coast home are lucky if we see subtle signs of the changing seasons, like raindrops, there are still joys that only come with the holidays. At the same time, the extra time spent shopping and socializing could also bring on a load of stress for which we aren’t quite prepared. The grind of the holiday season might just lead you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw. The thing is, most people who do this don’t even know it. Because bruxism can damage teeth and the jaw, we are going to look at a few ways to mitigate your risk of grinding this season, or anytime throughout the year.
Get Mindful about Stress
Busier times like the holidays present a unique challenge to self care. We easily put our needs for rest and relaxation on the back burner, feeling as though we have no other choice. In reality, doing so could do more harm than good. This season, remember to take time for yourself. Maybe it’s an early-morning meditation session, or a steamy cup of herbal tea while you watch the sunrise. Maybe exercise can help you work off stress before nighttime, so it doesn’t get worked out in your mouth.
Getting mindful about stress means also paying attention to hidden stressors. Sometimes, the very things we do to wind-down before bed are counterproductive. Sure, it can feel good to finish that chapter in the latest crime novel, or catch up on episodes of the Walking Dead. But these activities could send your brain into overdrive, and you into a grinding frenzy during your sleeping hours.
Get Mindful about Habits
The two habits, in particular, that could be causing unintentional bruxism are both related to what you consume. Caffeine is a major culprit in creating excess energy in the body and mind. We wouldn’t dream of saying anyone should cut coffee or other caffeinated beverages from their day (we sometimes rely on them, too!). What we will suggest is limiting caffeine to morning hours. The second culprit, and one that may be surprising, is alcohol. This can be tricky, since many of our holiday festivities include celebratory cocktails. Like caffeine, alcohol has a stimulating effect, usually hours after consumption, which may fall right in the middle of your good night’s sleep.
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