This is the Season for Holiday Magic, not TMJ

Most of us have more than a touch of the perfectionist in our DNA. With holiday time fast approaching, we hope to create many memorable moments this season – at family gatherings, friends’ parties, and office functions.

As much as we hate to admit it, the holidays can also bring a most unwelcome guest – stress. And, as we know, stress manifests itself in so many harmful, painful ways. As your dental professional, I’m confronted with the way stress affects TMJ each and every day of the year. Let’s just take just a moment now from your busy schedule to share some of the tips I’ve learned along the way to keep stress – and TMJ – at a minimum during the holidays.

GET ORGANIZED EARLY – Make lists (and check them twice) to keep track of tasks, events to attend, and gifts to buy

SPEAKING OF SPENDING – Lack of money is one of the leading stress creators. So, set a budget and stick to it, both for gift giving and holiday entertaining. Remember, giving something personal – like a homemade gift, or an offer to help out with a chore – is so incredibly meaningful.

SHARE THE WORKLOAD – You don’t have to do it all yourself. Get friends and family involved with decorating, wrapping gifts and preparing the holiday meal.

SCHEDULE SOME ALONE TIME – Take a break from group activities. Go for a walk. Read a book. Keep up with your exercise routine.

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS – If for some reason you can’t be with your loved ones this month, it’s normal to feel sad. It’s okay to cry. If you’re feeling this way, make sure to reach out to good friends who are there for you. Also think about volunteering. It’s a great way to lift your spirits, do some good, and perhaps make new friends.

AND SOMETIMES, JUST SAY NO – Its okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will let you concentrate on truly important people and parties.