Mental Health Awareness Week 20216th May 2021
Euston Place’s Practice Manager Chris Locke opens up about how he attempts to manage his own mental wellbeing.
If the last year has taught us anything, it is that we all need to actively care for the mental well-being of ourselves and of those around us. The constant unknowns, the worry about the safety our ourselves and our love ones, the ever-changing outlook, the isolation, the financial worries, have all lead to us having to attempt to increasingly ‘keep it together’.
Our team members work in an industry amongst the highest-ranking occupations when it comes to the number of mental health incidents. Even before the pandemic, dentistry was associated with high rates of mental health struggles.
The dental health of our patients can also be detrimentally affected by stress. Dental health issues such as Bruxism, the grinding of teeth which can lead to excessive wear and damage, pain, and headaches, is linked to stress. Emotional stress can also worsen periodontitis, increase susceptibility to infections following dental treatment and slow down healing.
Here are just a few of the things that have helped me to manage my mental wellbeing over the past year:
Daily Physical Activity
Whether it be cycling to the practice in the morning down the river Leam and Avon, running with some of team members around Victoria park at lunch, wandering around the nearby Jephson gardens after work, or swimming at the local leisure centre, physical activity is one of my most valued ‘stress relievers’. Not only does it give you a psychological distraction, but physiologically helps to rebalance hormones in the brain associated with feelings of positivity.
Whilst to some it may seem ‘fluffy’, I really see the benefit of practising mindfulness daily. It’s doesn’t all have legs crossed, eyes closed, hmmmmsssssss. Just taking the time to focus on your breathing for a minute, appreciating the sounds of birds in the morning, enjoying the feeling of the sun on your face, and thinking about what you have been grateful for today. There are some brilliant apps which help can assist you in the beginning of your practice. I highly recommend the ‘Headpsace’ and ‘Calm’ apps which have helped to teach me some of the basic techniques.
Weekend Walks in nature
This year’s mental health awareness week’s topic is nature due to the powerful effect it can have on mental health. We are lucky to be surrounded by so much beautiful nature in Warwickshire. Some of my favourite local spots included Burton Dassett Hills, Newbold Comyn, Draycote Water and Oakley Woods.
Connecting with friends and loved ones
The past year has reminded me of how important it is to reach out to those around you when you are having a tough time. Reconnecting with friends and family over the phone or on video calls, speaking with my closest over dinner about my day or talking daily to colleagues at work over teams, (or more recently, face to face!). It’s has fortunately become more ‘normal’ to talk about mental health and how you are feeling. I have been so proud of the way our team members have opened up and provided support to each other together through these toughest of times this past year.