When preparing for a career in dentistry, debt can sometimes be a necessary step towards your end goal. Unfortunately, taking on a large amount of debt can cause serious stress.
Why Stress Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Even if you know it’s temporary, you should never ignore the stress you are feeling. In fact, according to a study from the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, the number of dental students who report abnormally high levels of stress, depression and anxiety is significant. These are very real issues that need to be addressed.
Left unchecked, stress can negatively affect your health and even derail your career. Learning to cope isn’t just a good idea, it’s necessary. This article will consider ways to do just that.
How to Cope with the Stress Associated with Dental School Debt & Other Dental School Factors
This strategy is as simple as it sounds. Reach out to family and friends. Communicate. Let them know when you are feeling extra stress. Often, the simple act of voicing your concerns out loud makes them seem less scary. Hiding your stress or anxiety may make the situation even worse.
Be Self Aware
Be attuned to your mental, emotional and physical health. Dental school is a challenge in a variety of ways, testing you financially, physically, emotionally and mentally. Be aware when you feel yourself spiraling into a panic.
Monitor your wellbeing enough to ensure you can always calm yourself down and stay rooted in reality. It’s also important not to carry your stress of school debt or dental school in general into other aspects of your life, such as your personal relationships.
Sometimes, you can counteract some of the stress you feel may be related to dental school debt simply by having a plan.
While the dates might be slightly off, just having a plan can ease some of your worries over the future. When it comes to the other aspects of dental school, make sure you organize your notes, organize your books and keep yourself on task when you are at school or studying on your own.
The best way to repay your student debt is to graduate from dental school and become a licensed and practicing dentist, so get yourself organized and do the work to reach graduation as planned.
Take Care of Yourself
For both your physical and emotional health, make time to take care of yourself. This is outside of your class time and the time you spend studying. Don’t consider eating healthy and working out or exercising as merely something you do if you find time or have the energy to make the effort. Make it a priority as important as studying for a final or showing up for a clinical.
Try some of these stress-reducing activities:
Yoga: This ancient practice uses the breath to connect with the body and calm both your body and mind.
Brisk Walking: Burn some calories while you work off some of that stress associated with school. Walk with a friend and vent about what’s on your mind for even greater effect.
Swimming: This is a relaxing, low-impact way to burn stress and take your mind off of school.
If you were a really good student before dental school who prided yourself on minimal to no debt, you might feel a lot of pressure to maintain those statuses in dental school. Don’t.
Holding yourself to impossible standards in a very different situation will only lead to more stress. Give yourself grace. You will not be perfect. Remind yourself of what you’re working towards. The road to graduation may have a few potholes and curves but it will still take you where you want to go.
Learn More about Managing Student Debt
We get that student loan debt for your dental school education can be stressful. It may be a lot of debt. However, when you consider the earning potential you will have as a practicing dentist, you could look at your student debt more as an investment in your future. Of course, we recommend you be smart about any and all debt and don’t enter into it haphazardly.
To learn more about how to manage your student loan debt, explore our resources on student debt management. Learn how to plan for your financial future as a dentist, the risk-reward aspect of dental school debt and more.
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