There’s a lot to worry about if you’re a dentist. You’re worried about providing the best possible care to often fearful patients, and you’re worried about your professional liability if some aspect of your treatment plan goes sideways. Stress plays a large role in any field where a person’s health is in your hands.
To avoid becoming overly stressed on a weekly basis, we’ve got three areas to focus on in order to: balance your life, reduce stress, and create a healthy work environment.
With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships, family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” And that’s not balanced or healthy.
In our rush to “get it all done” at the office and at home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our personal and professional relationships.
This doesn’t need to be an overnight 180° change. If you have trouble disconnecting from your email, texts, or phone after 6, use that handy “Do Not Disturb” function to help you disconnect from work. Or, if you’re great at ignoring emails but always have patient files next to your bed, try going in a little earlier a few mornings a week and set aside time solely to work on charts. If you’re not a morning person, ask your office manager to help protect a chunk of time in the afternoon to work on what is most pressing.
Speaking of stress, you only have so many hours in the day, so it is important that you take some time to decompress from your day. Working on reducing your stress not only makes you a healthier person but your staff will appreciate your newfound sense of harmony with you and your dental practice.
- Candy, desserts, and quick snacks are great, but they don’t make a nutritious and balanced meal. Make sure you’re eating a primarily clean diet to properly fuel your body through exams, meetings, and your other dental duties.
- Deep breathing doesn’t just help knock your patients out before a root canal. Remembering to stop and take a few depth breaths helps your body switch from fight or flight mode back to homeostasis.
- Exercise is not only fun, but it’s a great way to reduce stress. Aside from giving you the strength, exercise releases endorphins which also improve the ability to sleep boosts your mood and increases productivity.
We can’t do it all ourselves, and no one knows that better than a dentist or practice manager. And while it may be tempting to try, your skill set – and practice – will be better served through effective delegation of tasks that do not directly support your core competencies and passion. Not only does delegation improve practice efficiencies, but it also provides an opportunity for your team’s development.
Build a great team of office and dental staff, and you’ll be able to minimize your stress and maximize your ability to work more efficiently. As a leader, delegation doesn’t mean you’re not still responsible for the outcome. Effective delegation can’t come without clear guidelines, training, and supporting tools. People will not only get experience by completing these tasks, but people generally want to help and are willing to lend a hand if they can see you’re stressed and struggling to get everything done.
Running a dental practice can be hard but rewarding work. In order to succeed and excel in your industry, work on creating a more wholesome work/life balance, reducing stress and delegating work amongst the office, and before you know it, you’ll be maintaining your sanity as well as your office.