By: Ms. Molly Pereira
How many times have you said to yourself:
• “If I just had more time, I’d exercise.”
• “I would love to visit but our schedules are just too crazy.”
• “I’m not a morning person. Getting up to walk/meditate/etc. wouldn’t work.”
• “After a long day, I don’t have the energy to make dinner.”
• “I’m too busy in the morning to pack my own lunch.”
• “I need to work this weekend just to catch-up.”
• “I should go to that fitness class/CE course/gathering, but traffic will be bad.”
• “I’m so busy I don’t have time to take a mid-day walk outside.”
• “It’s too hot/cold to workout.”
I went on vacation this summer. It was the first time we’ve traveled on a plane since the fall of 2019. We went to a lake with extended family and boated and floated the week away.
My sister-in-law works part-time and on this trip was contemplating going back full-time since her sons are getting older. She asked me how I worked full-time and balanced kid schedules, health appointments, homework, meals, and life in general. My first reaction was to laugh because I couldn’t believe that she thought I had my life balanced; bless her heart. My second reaction was sarcasm, while explaining how selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work. And my final reaction was to preach what I don’t practice (create boundaries, commit to a “closing time” each day and shut the computer down, don’t put your work email account on your cell phone, never work on a weekend, etc.).
Anything sound familiar here? We all might appear to others like we have our busy lives mastered, but in reality our lives are probably far from Instagram-worthy. As overachieving, hard-working humans, we don’t let people down. We commit, follow-through, and get the task done right. It feels good to see hard work pay off. However, what do you think falls short when you’re taking care of everything and everyone else? You, of course! And that’s where that list of excuses comes into play.
Being busy with a full mind causes stress. Stress can either exhaust you or, worse, ramp you up so much that you start making bad decisions for your body in terms of nutrition, substance use and negative mindset. You know that you should take care of yourself, but you don’t have time, you had a bad day, traffic will be bad, you’re too busy…and the list goes on.
I think we all had at least one moment in 2020 where we had extra time, there was no traffic and we weren’t busy (by normal standards). Did those factors cause you to start a robust exercise routine with nutritious meals, morning meditation and self-reflection? If you achieved that, I couldn’t be happier for you. But if you realized that having more time and fewer duties didn’t actually result in perfect self-care, then we can safely say the reasons we don’t take care of ourselves are just empty excuses. Maybe you don’t need more time or less to do. Maybe your schedule isn’t as prohibitive as you thought. Maybe you just need to put yourself on your to-do list “in ink and not pencil,” flag it as important and set a reminder or alarm on your phone. Your body and brain do a lot for you, and you have to take care of them too.
Here are a few wellness tips so you can head into the fall with a fresh perspective:
Take Care of #1
You’ve been caring for family, staff and patients on hyperdrive. It’s time to practice self-care. Aim for at least 15 minutes of intentional self-care activities each day. This could be 15 minutes of yoga or a walk before work, mediation/mindfulness before bed, coloring or listening to your favorite music mix.
Take a Break
To truly have downtime, you MUST schedule time off. Not only do you need to take time away from the office, but you need to escape everyday obligations too. Intentionally take one weekend off a month from scheduled activities or commitments. It’s OK to say no to others and yes to yourself.
Eat Farm to Table
There’s lots of great produce available now before that first freeze. Produce is packed with vitamins that can help boost your immunity. Pick a color, find that color in produce and Google a healthy recipe. Your body will thank you!
Move It, Move It!
Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to big health benefits. Check out the ADA’s new member benefit, ClassPass, for access to over 20,000 on-demand audio and video workouts including strength, cardio, stretching, meditation and more. Visit ada.org/classpass and sign-up using Company Code: ADA2021.
Take Advantage of Your Benefits
The CDA and ADA offer connections to mental health programs for members and their teams. Take advantage of tips and resources at cdaonline.org/wellness or success.ada.org/en/wellness.
Commit to A Day of Wellness
On Friday, Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the CDA and MDDS are bringing together a myriad of professional wellness leaders for an in-person retreat at the Moxy Hotel Cherry Creek. This event was designed by dentists for dentists to revive long-lasting positive health and better practice outcomes. The day will conclude with a two-hour clinical CE course. Learn more at cdaonline.org/event/a-day-of-wellness.
Molly Pereira joined the CDA in 2002. A Colorado native with a journalism background, Molly came to the CDA after working for the Colorado Bar Association. Her duties at the CDA include CDA publications, member correspondence, Annual Session, public relations and media relations. She oversees community water fluoridation issues, coordinates volunteer charitable programs, administers the CDA Foundation grant program, maintains the website, and is responsible for correspondence for the ADA 14th District and CDA House of Delegates. She serves as a board member for the CDA Foundation and Colorado Mission of Mercy (COMOM). You can reach Molly Pereira at 303-996-2844 or email@example.com.