From Great Teeth to a Strong Core

“That’s a game-changer.” Have you ever heard those words? We at Tomasik Family Dental bet you have. We certainly have here in our office, as patients look in the mirror after their cosmetic or restorative dental procedure wraps up.

The thing is, though, that our mouth makes up one part of a big, complex whole. We all need a game-changer of some kind, and many of us need that game-changer to encompass our lifestyles. If you’re like us here at Tomasik Family Dental, then you could probably stand to eat a little healthier. You might even need more time at the gym. Perhaps you really need to change how you handle stress (and stop completely ignoring the way it makes you feel).

What’s the biggest hurdle holding you back from big change, though? For us, it’s the overwhelming-ness of it all. Where do you begin?

We have an idea. What if you could change your life in 5 minutes? What if by dedicating yourself to change in 5 minute increments, you could become the game-changer in your life? Not sure how that would look?

Let’s cover 5 life-changing self-care routines that only take 5 minutes or less, and then you’ll probably be able to come up some with ideas of your own.

Start at the top.

Think of yourself in sections for a moment. Picture it. You’ve got everything from the neck up labeled as “top,” with all of your parts from neck to waist labeled “middle.” Of course, from your waist to your toenails is labeled the “bottom.”

So starting at the top means developing self-care routines that will affect those bits and pieces of ours that are located above the clavicle.

One: Spend 5 minutes brushing, flossing, and gargling.

You already know why maintaining a regular and thorough dental hygiene routine is a good idea. After all, you like not scaring people away with your breath or your smile. The trouble with brushing, flossing, and mouth-washing twice a day is that it isn’t fun. It’s actually pretty boring, right?

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we forget about something very important that can solve all our problems. That something is boredom.

Boredom is the most undervalued commodity in our lives. We actually spend quite a bit of money ensuring we’re never bored. Think about it: When was the last time you stood in a line for more than a few moments without checking your phone? Maybe you sent an email or checked headlines or chatted with a friend instead of standing in that line, bored.

When you fold the laundry, you always make sure to turn on your favorite binge-worthy show, right? Again, we do that to avoid boredom. And you might even ease the boredom of completing your dental hygiene routine by using an app on your phone to entertain you. We’ve all done it.

What’s so bad about boredom, though?

Did you know there’s something that happens to our minds when we’re bored, when our body is on autopilot completing those mundane tasks such as mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, or sitting in traffic? If we don’t fill the void of activity in the moment, our mind will begin to wander. And having a wandering mind is the best, most life-changing thing you can do for yourself. Why is that?

Because we come up with our best ideas when we’re bored. According to Manoush Zomorodi, we do some of our best thinking when we are bored. This is when we connect ideas, take stock of our lives, make plans for the future, and set goals for our lives.

So embrace the boredom of that dental hygiene routine. In 5 minutes twice a day, you could change your life.

Two: Take 5 minutes to brush your hair.

It sounds a little excessive, right? Who needs that much time to comb or brush their hair? Unless you’re a three-year-old who hates getting his or her hair brushed, the answer is no one. Brushing your hair provides you with the sensation of touching and being touched, though.

The way we process touch is incredibly complex. The sensation of touch as we touch something is processed differently than the sensation of something or someone else touching us. And our brains link touch with emotion.

So, did your mother stroke your hair to put you to sleep as a child? Do you enjoy the sensation of a brush or a comb as the teeth separate and untangle each strand of hair? Taking time to slowly brush your hair can help to reset your brain. It gives your brain something new to process while you let go of the stress of your day.

This kind of touch can even trigger memories. If those are good memories, your body will begin to release oxytocin, the love hormone. The release of oxytocin makes you feel closer to others, eases any physical pain, and provides you with an overall sense of well-being.

And if those memories are bad, then you can begin to process those emotions surrounding your memories. Understanding how we feel about past trauma in an environment where we feel safe and secure sets us up to rewrite our own narrative in how we respond to situations and others.

Move on to the middle.

Three: Plan a meal.

You talk about eating healthier. You have every intention of eating whole, unprocessed foods. But then reality kicks in: Who has time for reinventing the wheel? And sadly, your taste buds really do prefer the comes-in-a-jar sauce you use for your spaghetti because it tastes best when sopped up by the came-from-the-freezer-section garlic bread you so love.

Take 5 minutes a day to research a new recipe. Just 5 minutes. Pick a meal. Print off the recipe and ingredients. Stick it in your purse or wallet. Now the real trick is remembering it’s there the next time you go to the supermarket, of course. But if you can get in the habit of finding healthy and easy meals to make, eventually you’ll have to actually cook one of them, right?

At the very least, looking at new, healthier recipes will keep your brain on the lookout for other ways to enjoy a more diverse diet. So the next time you eat out, perhaps you’ll try something you wouldn’t have otherwise. Or maybe you’ll pick an entirely new restaurant with a whole-food menu. Your belly will thank you for this one because it will be filled with tasty food full of nutrients.

Four: Listen to your heart.

You really should do this for more than 5 minutes per day, but this is for those of us who like to keep things very controlled, logical, and tidy.

For 5 minutes per day, sit and think about what your heart is telling you. Some might call it listening to your gut or following your instincts. Whichever, it’s all right around in the middle of all our parts anyway.

When our heart is telling us something isn’t quite right, we feel it in our chest and in our tummies. So pay attention to those feelings throughout the day, and then take 5 minutes to really sit and think about the situation when you felt that.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are moments when you just know something is right. You know without a doubt a certain course of action you should take, but it isn’t exactly logical. Store those moments away as well and think about it. Examine the situation and why you felt that way.

Often, when you listen to your heart, you make better decisions. So give it a shot. It could change your life.

On to the bottom.

Five: Get moving.

It’s time to put your legs to use. A five-minute dance party once a day can change your entire outlook. You’ll get your heart rate up and your brain will begin to release endorphins. Your digestive track will get moving too. And you’ll have a chance to practice your rather impressive dance moves, right?

Music and dancing are great ways to turn a sour mood into a sensational one. Give it a try.

And when you’re ready to practice some more self-care, pick up the phone and schedule an appointment to see Dr. Tomasik or Dr. Clor. We’ll help you take care of your smile.

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