This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
Magnesium is a very important mineral. It plays a role in multiple processes that affect the function of our brains and our bodies. It is necessary in over 600 reactions, all of which promote our overall health. Yet 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium, mostly because historical sources of this vital mineral such as our diets and our soil have been depleted. This is why I recommend adding a form of Magnesium supplement to everyone. I myself have been using this Magnesium spray for months and find that it helps me to reduce stress, relax my muscles, fight fatigue, and get a good night’s rest. To understand why Magnesium is vital to all of those things, here are a few facts to know.
Magnesium may reduce muscle fatigue after exercise.
Magnesium is involved in transmitting nerve signals and relaxes the muscles and the brain. This has been shown to improve sleep, even for insomniacs or those who experience high-stress, which then helps with improving energy during the day.
Magnesium boosts mood.
Low levels of Magnesium are linked with depression. A study has shown that low levels of the mineral increases risk for depression by 22%. Some trials have shown that increasing daily dose of Magnesium to 450mg results in reduced depression symptoms equivalent to taking anti-depressants.
Chronic inflammation is the cause of many systemic diseases, but Magnesium can help. Low levels have been linked with increased levels of CRP – an inflammatory marker in the blood. Likewise, increasing magnesium intake has shown to decrease CRP. Reducing inflammation can help with alleviating joint pain, reducing cell damage, and preventing disease.
Magnesium helps with insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetics are usually low in Magnesium mostly because these patients are chronically high in insulin levels, which leads to the loss of Magnesium through the urine. However, increasing the intake of Magnesium has been shown to improve the processing of sugar, thereby lowering the body’s blood sugar levels. It is therefore important for pre-diabetics and diabetics to maintain their magnesium levels.
There you have it! The reasons why we need to add magnesium to our diets or as a supplement are plenty. I should note that the most bioavailable version of magnesium is magnesium citrate, which is the form this company uses. I, myself, only use The Nue Co.’s Magnesium Spray to help alleviate sore muscles after workouts, reduce stress, and aid in sleep. It one hundred percent works for me! I prefer to ingest my magnesium by altering my diet to include magnesium rich foods rather than taking a supplement. Foods high in magnesium include fish (salmon and mackerel), leafy veggies (like spinach), whole grains, beans and nuts.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
I am going off-grid from the PC charts here as I digress to talk about tushies and Tushys – as in human ones and bidets. I have been meaning to make the switch to bidets for a few years now. One of our closest friends has been raving about its usefulness and environmental friendliness at every opportune moment, but I never did like that big clonker that was sitting atop his toilet. So I have been putting it off for the sake of aesthetics, which we all know is an important part of my intentional life. However, as more and more of our friends made the switch, the urge to get one increased, and finally, my less-waste self came across the most minimalist, affordable, pretty bidet I could find: Tushy!
Tushy was founded by Miki Agrawal in 2015, the same co-founder of Thinx. It has since then revolutionized the way young people doo their business. Bidets have become a sort of fad, but it is nothing new. Many countries around the world use bidets, and my friend who I mentioned earlier got his after visiting Japan and using bidets in the public and personal restrooms. In a more primitive sense, I, myself, experienced butt-washing in my youth, having never used toilet paper until I was thirteen years old. In my country, we use buckets of water to rinse our bums or simply hop in the shower. In fact, I remember first immigrating to the United States and being told by my mom that “toilet paper does not do the job.” To her, a bum’s not clean until it has been washed with water. This, of course, wasn’t the reason I got on my hands and knees to add a bidet to my toilet. The motivation came from the environmental effects of making the switch. Below are a few statistics.
How Much Are You Saving with Tushy?
The average non-bidet user uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day. This adds up to about $10 worth of toilet paper a month, or $120 of toilet paper a year. A tree produces about 100 pounds of toilet paper, and one person uses up about 50 pounds of toilet paper a year. For a family of four, this adds up to two trees per year. Because it takes 37 gallons of water to create one roll of toilet paper, 4884 gallons of water is wasted per person per year.
It takes no statistician to confirm that switching to a bidet results in saved money, trees and water. However you also save yourself time from having to buy toilet paper. You save yourself stress during no-TP emergencies. You save your bum from chafing and your significant other from skidmarks. You save yourself the embarrassment.
Tushy is juuuuuust right
Is this all feeling a bit too much? Well your wallet won’t think so since Tushy is quite the affordable bidet, costing only $109 (although my readers can receive 10% off of their Tushy purchase using any of my affiliate links within this post as long as they enter the code: THEDEBTIST at checkout).
Does that sound too little? Tushy is the perfect minimalist bidet, with a sleek white frame and simple adjustable knobs in neutral colors (ours is Bamboo!). We own the Tushy Classic and as baby bear says, it is juuuuuust right! For those who want a little more, the Tushy Spa has a water temperature control making those cold mornings more comfortable.
The Dirty Details
So I know some of you are hoping I spill a few dirty details. However, the only thing dirty might be your toilet seat cover when you remove it to place a Tushy underneath. No worries though! Seeing all that gunk is the most difficult part of this set up. And hey! What a great time to clean up!
Here are, however, a few things we came across during installation that you may appreciate. The manual says to turn off the water using the water shut-off valve behind the toilet. Some knobs, however, no longer function due to disuse. In which case, one would need to turn off the water to the entire house. Which is what we had to do.
Secondly, have plenty of towels around. You want to catch any water that comes out of the toilet, in case the shut-off valve doesn’t work. Also, wear gloves. When you get to the part that requires toilet seat removal, you want to make sure you won’t feel any surprises. Hopefully you clean your toilet regularly, but we won’t judge!
Lastly, adding the bidet underneath the toilet seat cover may make the screws that once clamped the toilet seat down too short. The added height of the bidet will require longer screws. No worries, I simply trekked to Home Depot and went down the bathroom and toilet aisle. There’s a section for toilet repair and you’ll need to buy two very long screws, which costs about $3.
Overall, I think the installation is super simple. I was able to do it by myself. If I didn’t have to run to Home Depot to get more screws and if my toilet’s water valve actually shut off, it would have probably taken me 15 to 20 minutes. Which means I would have been using Tushy within the hour. But instead, it took me a good hour due to the “complications” I came across. It’s taken me longer to build Ikea cabinets.
It has only been less than 24 hours but I absolutely love Tushy! I feel suuuper fresh and squeaky clean. Mike gave me a thumbs up as he exited the bathroom this morning. That’s a HUGE sign. In addition, I have had a lot of positive feedback from people in this space. I’ve had people reach out to me to tell me they received this for Christmas. I’ve heard stories about moms installing this in every bathroom in the house (including the trailer!). I have friends who just moved in together literally this weekend saying they are getting one for their new space. And that one friend that has been raving about bidets for ages? He said, “Welcome to the first day of your new life.”
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
A good night’s sleep is one of the best forms of self-care. It is regenerative for the body, mind and soul, and much to any frugalist’s joy, it is free. Often viewed as an unproductive activity, getting a good night’s rest lies low on the priority list for the majority. On the contrary, I attribute much of my productivity and success to sleep – and a lot of it, too!
Ever since I was young, I was very fond of the stuff. My parents love to tell the story of how I would nod off in my high-chair, often plopping my face down on my food. I was the last to wake up on Christmas morning (well, every morning for that matter) and the first to fall asleep at night. At family get-togethers, one could be sure to find me on the couch, hogging up the sitting space asleep in fetal position. I took afternoon naps until high school and even in college, I was one of the few people who got eight hours of sleep, frequently trading in a night of partying for my warm sheets.
There was a time when I went against my sleeping pattern and took up midnight shifts as an early-morning baker. I noticed the toll it took on my health. Even though I was still sleeping eight hours every night, the fluctuation between night shifts and day shifts every other day really wrecked my body. I started depending on coffee, lost a lot of weight, and had trouble eating. My mind was exhausted and I noticed that I was on survival mode, less productive overall and more lenient about my tasks and deadlines. It only took three months for me to realize the effects, and while I was happy and alive, my body was barely keeping up.
As I gained awareness of my body’s circadian rhythm, I learned that my optimal sleeping time is 9 hours per night. If I receive less than that, it is best if I take a mid-afternoon nap. Now there are groups of people who would argue against the health benefits of this. But every person is different and the range of ideal sleep time is vast. Regardless of what the actual number of hours is, sleep is a crucial part to your overall productivity and here is why you need to make sure you get enough of it.
Reasons to Invest in Rest
Sleep is important for memory and processing daily experiences.
A night of sleep more than doubles the likelihood that you will solve a problem requiring insight.
Sleep clears toxins in the brain.
Sleep is the most crucial factor for peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function, mood regulation.
Even mild sleep reduction has detrimental effects on cognitive function many days afterwards.
One-third of working Americans sleep less than six hours a night.
Sleep deprivation was declared a public health epidemic by the CDC in 2018.
Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, and cancer.
Getting consistent sleep is very important to your health.
As a person trying to live an intentional life, I care a lot about sleep. I understand that the long-effects of getting enough shut-eye will outweigh the few hours I lose each day. Investing in rest doesn’t just mean making the resolution to sleep a set number of hours each night, although that is the FREE self-care part of it. However, one must also consider what they sleep on.
I spend a lot of time curating my bed, and highly recommend getting a mattress and pillows that are ergonomically beneficial. Spinal problems caused by having a cheap bed will translate to decreased quality of life and productivity. My personal favorite company is LEESA. We own their mattress topper and pillows, and it has been such a game-changer. I used to have a lot of neck and back pain due to maintaining static postures and craning my neck at the dental office – so much so that I would wake up in the middle of the night from the pain and spend entire Saturdays lying on the couch unable to move. Once we switched to high-quality pillows and added the LEESA mattress topper, the pain went away! After watching my dad undergo three spinal surgeries in the last two years, I knew that I was not going to wait until my own symptoms got worse. If you want to step up your bed game, Try LEESA! Get up to $400 OFF a LEESA mattress this MLK weekend by clicking on my affiliate link. They have a great trial-period guarantee. For those who are wary about making such an expensive commitment to their health, LEESA also offers 0% financing through Affirm for as low as $25 a month, the equivalent of 8 drip coffees! Think of it as getting better sleep and saving on the coffee.
An alternative for those who wish to have cotton sheets is PACT. Pact is an eco-conscious company who makes clothing and textiles for the home. Currently, they have a sale on their bedding and bath products lasting until January 31, 2021. Simply use the code REFRESH25 to receive 25% OFF. You can access the sale by clicking on my affiliate link here.
Other rituals I have around my sleep include making my bed every morning so that the sheets stay clean, turning on a humidifier, and putting my phone away an hour before bed. We also wash the sheets frequently, vacuum the mattress, and rotate the toppers and pillows as outlined by my ultimate cleaning list.
Regardless of what you do to make sleep an important part of your day, make sure to prioritize it for the years to come!
In my opinion, one of the best things 2020 did for us was turn our attention inward – on our relationships, on ourselves, and on our homes, to name a few examples. The latter, especially, has been prominent this year for me. I have spent a decent amount of time introspecting on the first two over the past few years, however, as an avid traveler, work-a-holic, and on-the-go person, the latter was neglected until the stay-at-home culture forced me to, well, stick around.
One of my goals for an intentional 2021 is to keep my living space sparkling clean. It has been transformed in the last year into an oasis from the outside world; a safe haven where we all work, rest, and rejuvenate. My best moments of 2020 have occurred under this very roof. It only seems appropriate to pay my respects in the form of diligent maintenance and care.
On that note, in the process of writing a 2021 New Year Resolution list, I side-tracked to create my own guide to keeping a dwelling spotless. I wanted to share with you guys what works for us, although depending on your home, your list of needs may differ. I separated tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually, and annually time frames. Along the way, I added a few tips on how to make this list (which can seem overwhelming at first) a sustainable practice built out of habit. I would venture that after a bit of practice, you may find cleaning your home to be quite the opposite – relaxing and fun in nature. Enjoy!
The Ultimate Cleaning List
TIP: I consider every day tasks as habits that are built into your normal lifestyle. At first, they may seem like just another thing to check off your list, but eventually, they should become routine movements that are done quickly and without much thought. These every day cleaning habits will ease the more long-term cleaning tasks, so definitely don’t ignore them!
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
Make the bed
Clean coffee maker
Wash dirty dishes
Wipe down kitchen counters and table
Wipe down bathroom surfaces
Sanitize kitchen and bathroom sinks
Vacuum floors (Ever since we switched to this Dyson V8 Absolute, Vacuuming has been such an extreme joy. It work great on our cement floors and the carpet attachment is perfect for rugs! I would highly recommend this product as it is one of the top five purchases we’ve ever made that improves our day to day lives.)
Put things away at the end of the day
TIP: It helps to tackle these tasks throughout the week. Finding a schedule that works for you and your home is very important. For example, we do laundry, change bedding and mop floors on Saturday mornings. We toss expired food when we return from our weekly grocery shopping, as we are stowing the new groceries away. I scrub the bathroom tub during one of my showers on a weekday when I am off from dentistry. I wipe down kitchen appliances after an especially messy meal prep. I vacuum the furniture regularly and clean the vacuum whenever I notice it’s messy.
In order to avoid over-whelm or wasting away an entire weekend, use little pockets during your workday to do these tasks. While some people will scoff at the distraction this provides, my argument is that sedentary lifestyles are the bane of our existence and the general cause of our health problems. By committing to one task per work day, you are giving your eyes, mind, and body a break while providing necessary movement and blood flow to your work life. Plus, you’ll get your heart pumping, and I would argue it still makes for a productive day!
Toss expired food from the fridge
Scrub bathroom tub
Wipe down kitchen appliances
Dust and vacuum furniture
TIP: Just like the weekly tasks, I would disperse these cleaning items throughout the month rather than wait until the last weekend. Of course, that is just my personal preference. I know a few people who find greater success in procrastination and monthly deep cleanings. I can only imagine how cathartic that must feel!
Wash vacuum filters
Vacuum vents and woodwork such as base boards
Dust and clean light fixtures
Wipe down inside of fridge
Wash shower curtain liner
Clean patio surfaces
Clean range hood
Clean washing machine using a cleaner cycle
Sweep the garage every month
Every 6 months
TIP: Unlike the weekly and monthly tasks, I do recommend doing these things at the same time. It is most efficient to pick two months out of the year to tackle these tasks. For some, that may be spring cleaning season and right before the holidays. For me, I like mid-year in June and at the end of the year in December. June is my birthday month and December is right before the new year. Both months symbolize a new beginning for me, so I like to start my beginnings fresh.
Deep clean windows
Wash couch covers
Clean inside of oven
TIP: We only have a few yearly tasks in our household. These are easy to plan ahead for. I simply add a reminder in my planner regarding these tasks and then order the parts when I come to that month.Once the parts arrive, it is only a matter of doing the task right away instead of waiting for dust to collect.
Change AC filter
Change Water Filter
If you happened to like this list of mine, please check out my Weekly Cleaning List Download which I created to help stream-line cleaning tasks around the home. If your resolution is to maintain a clean home in the New Year, this checklist may facilitate that by simplifying and organizing those tasks. Simply print and stick on a fridge or kitchen cabinet, tuck inside a planner, or lay by your nightstand as a daily reminder. Share it with your loved ones, I won’t mind! This is a way for you to support this space and the content you find here in an intentional way, while allowing me to continue making a living without resorting to advertising. I thank you for being in this space and hope that this list provides useful.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
In my home, I try to surround myself with objects that act as reminders of care. A candle sitting on the kitchen shelf, a blanket strewn on the couch, hand lotion in my clutch … all of these things add value to my day to day and are strategically placed so that I have a visual aide reminding me to slow down from my over-zealous lifestyle. I am innately bad at making time for myself, which is probably why I spend so much time talking about its importance. But I have found that the system that works for me requires adding small doses of magic in forgotten corners so that I come upon them in my living and am prompted to make use of said magic.
One of the tiny overindulgences that I’ve been obsessed about this holiday season is a jar of bathroom goodness – a new exfoliating sugar body scrub made by True Botanicals. They have outdone themselves with this one! It delivers all the necessary ingredients for everything nice. A blend of natural, nourishing elements – organic sugar, sandalwood, rich camellia, jojoba oils, and kaolin clay – come together in this masque for the limbs. I absolutely relish the stuff, especially after an especially trying yoga workout, or a long day at the bakery or dental office. It provides just the right amount of body love.
The sugar’s roughness sloughs away all that dry, winter skin cells, leaving behind a velvety smooth complexion. I take a handful of the stuff and massage it straight onto the skin in slow circles. The scrub is enriched with emollient essential fatty acids, which nourishes and supports the skin barrier function. Plus, my skin never feels stripped after a shower. When I rinse off with warm water, the scrub simply melts away as a warm and woodsy scent wafts upwards.
Using True Botanical’s sugar scrub is like having a spa day, in the comforts of my own home. I keep the glass jar on the tub sill of my bathroom. I’m not one to have many products in the shower, typically keeping only a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap. However, the addition of this small simple amber reminder has made all the difference to the quality of my baths. I had originally meant to keep it there for special occasions but have found myself reaching for it daily. Honestly, prior this, my showers were quite rushed, just another task that I needed to check off on my to-do list. However, since placing the scrub in the tub, I have been taking longer baths, slower, and with more intention.
True Botanical’s Exfoliating Sugar Scrub sells for only $38, and it has been three weeks and I am about halfway done with the jar. It is vegan, cruelty free, certified non-toxic and sustainably made. It is packaged in a beautiful amber glass jar which can be reused as a container for cotton balls and the like once the scrub runs out, which I’ll pretend to be never.
This post was sponsored by True Botanicals, and any purchase you make using my links above could result in a commission for TheDebtist. Rest assured that all thoughts and opinions are my own. And once again, I thank you for supporting the companies that support this space.
This post is sponsored by Molekule and may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
COVID has made me particularly more sensitive to what’s in our air. I already think about this quite a bit as my job as a dentist involves the respiratory tract and airway. We even have an air purifier in every operatory at our dental office to protect our patients. It wasn’t until recently though that I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have this in my home?!” By the time I came across Molekule, I knew that bringing an air purifier into my space was a no-brainer. What I didn’t know was how different it was going to make our home feel.
Owning a Molekule has been a breath of fresh air for me and my family. I can tell that it works because the air immediately smells cleaner. As a cat owner, I always wondered whether visitors can smell our cat upon entering our home. I mean, when Theo uses the litter box, you can definitely tell that we are cat people. But after the Molekule arrived, you can’t even tell when Theo uses his litter box. Which shows me that the Molekule is doing something. Below is my honest Molekule Air Mini review.
What does Molekule do?
Molekule creates professional-grade air purifiers that use PECO technology to break down pollutants at the molecular level. Some air purifiers only trap pollutants in their filters, but Molekule destroys them. Simply speaking, PECO technology uses free radicals to break down VOCs, bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses. In goes the pollutant, out comes carbon dioxide, water and trace elements. According to Molekule, there is no ozone by-product. PECO technology has been tested for 25 years and currently, Molekule’s FDA approved PRO RX air purifiers are being used in a number of hospitals – another consolation regarding their product’s efficacy.
Which Molekule is right for us?
The version that we have at home is a Molekule Air Mini, which is advertised as ideal for up to 250 square feet of space. To put this into perspective, my entire living space is less than 1,000 square feet. 250 square feet covers a room – either the bedroom or the living room. Molekule does sell two other versions that have higher capacity: The Molekule Air and Molekule Air Pro which stands on the floor and improves air quality of rooms up to 600 and 1,000 square feet respectively. So technically, a single Molekule Air Pro could handle my entire living space. However, as a minimalist, I prefer the Air Mini’s smaller shape and don’t mind moving it to whichever room I am at. The good thing about the mini is that it is easily portable, thanks to a handle fastened at the side that allows me to carry it from room to room. Our space is so small to begin with, so it isn’t a bother to me at all. However, I can see why a two-story home would be better off having a Molekule Air Pro on the first floor and Molekule Air Minis in individual bedrooms.
What has the Molekule experience been like?
The Molekule Air Mini arrived fairly quickly in a box with very simple set-up instructions. First, removal of the top portion of the air purifier was required in order to remove the plastic around the PECO filter inside. The top lid securely fastens by twisting in a clock-wise motion until it clicks into place. It requires a bit of elbow grease to get it closed all the way so I had Mike help me with that. Make sure you hear the click to ensure that it locked. Otherwise, when you lift your air purifier by the handle, you may find the bottom half clattering on the floor!
After the plastic is removed from the filter, it’s a matter of plugging the device in. A cord can be found on the bottom and can be unraveled to length. I like that the rest of the unused cord can stay hidden and tucked away underneath the device. There is a notch too where the cord can exit the bottom so that the device sits evenly. With a press of a button, you’re off and running!
There is a central button on the top of the unit. Pressing it would start the fan speed at level one. You can continue pressing it to go up to level five. I have found that level one is silent as a mouse, but level five is as uproarious as a vacuum. I prefer to keep it at level three during the daytime and turn it down to level one in the evenings, however, I wonder about the efficacy in relation to fan speed. The fan speed determines how fast air gets sucked into the device, hence the whirring sound. I would imagine that the more air gets brought in, the more action, but the sound is just way too loud to bear at level five. I love my quiet space and will likely remain at level three or lower. Holding down the button for a few seconds places the device on stand-by.
The Molekule Air Mini is honestly a wonderful addition to any home. It is modern and minimally sleek. The design is impeccable from the beautiful grey felt handle to the top air vent. It is subtle and quietly does the difficult work.
With more people choosing to stay in, it’s time we focus inward on ways we can keep our homes clean – and that includes the air that we breathe!
Of course, every home is different. We live in a small space so I feel comfortable with having only the Molekule Air Mini. For larger homes, one can purchase multiple air purifiers in bundles in order to properly tackle every corner of the home. Also, if you are unsure of which purifier would work best for you, Molekule has a 30-day trial period. Try the product and if you are unsatisfied, you can always get a full refund.
One thing is for sure: Considering indoor air quality will become a new normal moving forward – whether the concern be due to local fires, pollution, or viruses.
Molekule allows me to breathe easy, knowing that my family is kept safe and our home is kept a sanctuary.
With the advent of yesterday’s Southern Orange County fires and all fires that has plagued the West Coast this year, I wanted to increase accessibility of air purifiers for all households. Readers may use the code thedebtist to receive a discount on their Molekule purchase – $25 off Air Mini, $32 off Air Mini+, $50 off Air, $77 off Air Pro. I think that air purifiers are more important than ever and I want to do my part in making sure we all have access to cleaner air.
This post is sponsored by Molekule, a company dedicated to providing cleaner air in our homes and our businesses. I have had the privilege of trying their Molekule Air Mini in my home and this my review of the product. The links from this blog post are affiliate links which means TheDebtist earns a small commission from any purchases made from this site. As always, thank you for supporting the companies and businesses that support this small space. I can say in all honesty that all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
I know it’s year 2020 and all, but health care professionals have always had a tough job. Hence, the idea to write a post about caring for the self for health professionals. While I don’t represent all workers in the medical field, I also know many of them can relate to the routine exhaustion one feels in the physical, mental and emotional sense. Not only is dentistry back-breaking work (think hunch-back- of-Notre-Dame), it also requires mental concentration (we are making tenths-of-millimeters-micromovements inside a tiny cavity) and emotional stamina (the minute the patient’s chair leans back, their everyday lives come spewing out). Sometimes I wear the hat of clinician, while other times, I simply play the role of listener. I have to help anxious patients through to the other side of treatment, as well as psychologically support depressed patients through to the other side of life. It’s a fulfilling job, but also a taxing one.
Many times, I come home with no one to fully understand the tolls of my work. Mike wonderfully understands that having dinner ready and giving me space to decompress with yoga is very important. He understands that on some days, I simply don’t want to talk. But he doesn’t really know the why. Sometimes, I feel guilt over acting selfishly, but as clinicians, we need to start removing that word from our vocabulary. You aren’t selfish because you need me-time after giving everyone else their me-time.
This past weekend, I took four days off to vacation with family on the coast of Southern California. My sister-in-law joined us Friday afternoon after her four clients. She also works in health care as a psych therapist. She joined us after a hectic day, and still had a few clinical notes to write. I noted that she looked a bit tired and she mentioned that some of her clients are especially draining, not in the physical sense, but in the mental and emotional sense. She even has one client currently on suicide watch who constantly occupies her mind. We talked of the tiresome nature of healthcare and agreed on the importance of taking care of ourselves first. We also noted that while we are excellent care-takers of others, we usually fail to save room for us.
This is a reminder to all health-care professionals that self-care is key to success. And sometimes, the only person who would be able to give you that space is yourself. If you are a reader who knows of a health-care professional, make sure to check in on them during this time. You might be surprised at their sadness, tiredness, weakness, or loneliness. Below, I wrote a simple guide to taking care.
+ Practice deep breathing in between seeing patients. Deep breathing is something I first picked up from yoga class ten years ago. Yoga itself is a practice focused on returning to the breath, which has been called our “life-force”. Returning to the breath is the last thing on a clinician’s mind. The immediacy of our work and the need that our patients have far exceed our willingness to turn inward and work on ourselves. However, I implore all clinicians to consider deep breathing. This practice was first recommended to me by a wellness coach, Michaela Puterbaugh of Starting from Within and it has been a real game-changer! I would highly advise getting a wellness coach like Michaela (you can book a consultation here), but if that is not your vibe, then deep-breathing is the one thing I learned to do that helped me most with my career. It’s simple. Before running to your next patient, stop by an office or a break-room or a quiet corner and breathe in for five seconds, hold at the top for five seconds, and breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat five times, then you’re good to go. I guarantee that your patients will notice and feel the difference in you. (PS: It helps to close your eyes.)
+ Stretch throughout the day. Many dentists end their careers earlier than they would like due to body aches and pains. Hospital workers also suffer from the same. Nurses and physical therapists have to carry and assist disabled bodies and the elderly. To be honest, physical tolls extend past the medical field and also applies to hospitality workers who stand on their feet all day and desk workers hunched in static postures in front of LED screens (blue light blockers for the win!). Stretching simply makes sense; for everybody. I picked up stretching advice from a continuing education course on ergonomics. There are certain stretches especially helpful to dentists, so I would seek professional advice regarding specific careers. For dentists, the upper back and shoulder muscles, as well as the core muscles, will help alleviate lower back pain and that hunched-back-look. Just like deep-breathing, this can be done in between patients or during any break. After work, I make it a point to roll out my Manduka mat and join a CorePower LIVE session to create movement in my body. I even took my mat on vacation with us this past weekend! That’s how important stretching is to me. Not getting on my mat is like a surfer not getting out on the water. Speaking of water…
+ Drink plenty of water. We are constantly moving from room to room and it’s very easy to forget about the water bottle we have sitting next to our desks. But wherever you choose to do stretches or deep breathing, keep a bottle of water close at hand. It also helps to have a habit built around staying hydrated. I drink two glasses right when I wake up and an entire glass before my shift. Between the start of my workday and lunch time, I make sure to finish at least another bottle. The same standard applies between lunch and the end of my shift. Then when I get off work, I drink two glasses straight away. My water bottle from Kinto_USA is quite portable and the tab at the top of the lid makes it easy to take with me wherever I go. If water is not your favorite drink, why don’t you try tossing pomegranate slices into your bottle or dress it up with ice? Check out my thoughts on staying hydrated!
+ Find someone to talk to. I know that Mike doesn’t fully understand everything that happens at the dental office, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to when I come home. It also helps that he is a great listener. My daily recaps help release any negative energy that I take home. But don’t get me wrong – dentistry isn’t ALL bad. Talking to someone is also a great time to celebrate the daily wins and highlights, a time to practice gratitude for a rewarding job. Of course, the person you choose does not have to be the same person every day. It can be different people, too. As long as you schedule a few moments to connect with someone outside of work, you’ll find less tension and stress when you unwind for the evening. (Sage tip: Don’t dwell on your workday alone. There are other things to address in life.)
+ Eat healthy. It’s hard to follow our own mantras of consuming healthy foods when we return home stressed and over-worked. I’d be the first to admit that fruits and veggies are not on my mind after a long day and if it weren’t for my husband making nutritious meals for us every day, I would probably be quick to order to-go foods a few nights a week. However, we must follow what we preach. I try to consume only one cup of black coffee a day (otherwise I’d live from coffee to the grave), and balance it with a cup of ceremonial-grade matcha green tea in the evening. I try to choose dark chocolate (88% cocoa or more) for dessert, and fresh fruits from the farmer’s market for snacks. I use a budget to monitor how often we dine out and we still try to follow our zero plastic diet religiously. Skip the temptation by choosing not to buy those bags of chips – or whatever else that has a gravitational pull during your weakest moments. Shop in such a way that sets you up for success.
+ Wind down the mind. In the evenings, I make it a point to wind down my mind. I try to do yoga after work to enter a calm state of energy. Afterwards, I shower and make myself a cup of tea and spend the evening writing or reading. This is the time I also connect with the people I live with. I check on my plants and move them around frequently, and I follow a skincare routine. I recently discovered The Nue Co.’s supplemental spray called Magnesium Ease, which I massage into my skin to help alleviate muscle tension and to improve my sleep. (Fun fact: 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium!).
+ Get full night’s sleep. Lastly, but most importantly, is sleep. I value sleep more than I value coffee – which is saying something! I make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep (nine hours is my optimal sleep-time). On weekends, I can sleep as long as 12 hours although luckily, I value my mornings too much to oversleep often. In our home, we sleep around ten in the evening and wake up when Theo meowls for food at six in the morning. I know that many clinicians tend to be night owls due to the nature of our work (late shifts and night shifts are common), but may I suggest abiding by your circadian rhythm? I cherish sleep knowing that I am more helpful to others when I sleep well. For those who have trouble sleeping, you may find these sleep drops helpful!
If you are in the medical field and have somehow come across this self-care guide, I hope it finds you well. For those who need a helping hand with mental wellness, do reach out to a professional. My sister-in-law is practicing in Southern California and is offering video services. I would also like to recommend Michaela Puterbaugh for overall health and wellness coaching as she has helped me balance life earlier this year.
For those curious about the supplements that I recommended, they are from The Nue Co., a company making supplements that you can feel working! Receive 15% off your first order with code NUE15 (affiliate links above). I am really excited about what this company is producing and have ordered the sleep drops for my mom and the magnesium ease for myself. They provide many other supplements that aid with sleep, stress, gut health, and immunity. I would definitely check them out!