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How to Keep it Together During Crisis

Written by

Amanda Hill

Posted On

May 4, 2020

We’ve been impacted by this global pandemic for quite some time, hunkered down in our houses, masking up and social distancing any time we leave the house. And more than likely, thinking of our patients that we can’t currently treat. It’s such an unprecedented time and there’s no blueprint to how we are supposed to act, feel, and function. While some may be relishing the time at home, getting that long-ignored to-do list completed, others are spinning their wheels, feeling trapped and unfocused. While we are all weathering the same storm, we are traveling through it in different boats. So if your boat is rocking and you are seeking out calmer seas, here are some tips to keep it together through the uncertainty.

This is an obvious one, one you might scoff at, but bear with me here. You have to move. And I don’t mean move from your bed to the couch to continue your Netflix marathon. When I say move, you have to do that dreaded exercise thing. Now I don’t mean you have to pull out your Jane Fonda VHS tapes or the old P90X DVDs and get hardcore (although you totally can). You need to purposefully move your body for at least 30 minutes each day. That could be a walk, streaming a yoga session or playing basketball with your kids. Just get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.

The next tip is to connect. Even with all the social distancing in the world, we can still find ways to meaningfully connect with people you enjoy. That very well might mean connecting with people outside your quarantine circle, they are probably just as tired of your jokes as you are of theirs. Take this time to set up a Zoom happy hour with some old High School friends you only keep in touch with through Facebook. Grab your phone and call a friend so you can both commiserate about how hard homeschooling your kids is–better yet, take that phone with you while you walk! Check that out two birds, one stone! The idea is to get out of your own head and communicate with someone else for at least 30 minutes.

In an effort to be able to join the real world one day, we need to be mindful about what we are putting into our bodies, lest we not fit through our front door when this is all over. It’s very easy to slide into poor eating and drinking habits, especially when the kitchen is so convenient and my state just approved alcohol delivery. I’m not suggesting you can’t have that comfort food you’ve been whipping up, just watch your portions and add in a salad to balance it out. Another way to stave off cravings and help your body is to drink water. Set a goal for yourself to refill your water bottle so many times each day. The great thing about drinking more water is it makes you move more!

Give Grace and Space. This one is key. No matter how calmly you are coping with this situation there is still a level of stress to contend with. With stress comes heightened emotions, and with heightened emotions comes reactivity. So that situation you might have been able to brush off as no big deal 2 months ago is now the thing that causes you to bubble over and lash out. When you feel that tightness in your chest and your mouth is about to spout words you will regret in a few hours, practice the Grace and Space theory.

Take a deep breath, step outside if you can, but try and get to the root of how you are feeling. More than likely your frustration is not with the mess your spouse left in the kitchen or the fact that your kids have become third shift workers and aren’t getting up until 1pm–it’s with the unknown in all of this. You can’t get to work, you might have employees that you are trying to take care of, or your boss might be MIA and you don’t know what’s happening with your job. There is so much here that you can’t control and for some of us that’s scary. But know that only you can control you. You cannot control how someone else reacts. Now is the time to offer that space they need to work through their emotions and offer that forgiveness for their less than perfect reaction. In fact, you should do this for yourself as well.

We all recognize there is so much in this we cannot control. But there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment to keep you from feeling like you’re spinning out of control. So find a task and control it! If you can go into your office and paint over all the marks the tray table has made on the wall, find a way to safely make that happen. Or if leaving the house isn’t an option, Marie Kondo that closet of yours or plant those spring flowers you’ve always coveted in your neighbor’s yard. Just get something done. There is a rush of endorphins, a sense of purpose in completing a task that will help you maintain your sanity through this time.

This time is one for the history books. While we have no idea what the world and especially dentistry will look like on the other side, the main thing to remember is, there is an other side. One day, this will be over, we will be back in our offices treating patients, free to have gatherings greater than 10 and the toilet paper will be plentiful. What story do you want to tell about your quarantine? If your boat is on the verge of capsizing, try to incorporate these tips and see if your seas get calmer and you find it easier to take a deep breath.

Amanda HIll

Amanda Hill, RDH, BS has been in the dental industry for over 30 years, she earned her B.S. in Dental Hygiene at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and has had the opportunity to experience dentistry around the world.   Amanda  has a love for learning and is obsessed with continuing education in all its many forms.  Amanda practices part time clinically and is an industry educator for the nation’s largest dental job board, DentalPost.net.  Amanda is a proud Navy spouse and mom of 3.

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