Stopping the Stress To Avoid Dentist Burnout
We all experience stress at one time or another. The truth is that working in a dental practice can be overwhelming between clinical and administrative responsibilities. Studies show that the dental field has some of the highest statistics for working professionals to develop depression and anxiety, which leaves dental professionals wondering how to proactively avoid these self-destructive habits.
Without learning to decompress, you put yourself and your career in jeopardy. There are multiple ways you can learn how to stop the stress, but the most important thing you can do is take time for yourself. If you find yourself getting the work blues each week, it is a sign you need to make a change. Whether you decide to take on a slower-paced speciality like orthodontics or to adjust your schedule to make it easier on you, remember that it is important that you as a person come first.
Whatever stage you’re in—going strong, about to burn out, or already burned out—stop the stress now with these 7 techniques using the acronym BREATHE.
Everyone needs time to just sit and relax without the stress of planning, thinking, or working. Set aside time each day, even if it is for five minutes, to allow yourself to do nothing. It gives your brain a chance to rest from the busyness from work and family life and acts as a restart button so that when you get back to the grind, you’re charged and ready to go.
People forget that it is necessary to relax and stretch your muscles. If you are busy working in the dental office and you have a break between patients, take a second to physically relax and stretch out. Loosen your muscles and build core strength by using an exercise ball or even just sitting in your operatory chair to work on your posture. Don’t forget how taxing dentistry can be on the body!
Do you experience general anxiety, or are you constantly nervous about specifics in your practice? Stress can arise from anything, but dentists are often stressed from the business of dentistry, clinical problems with patients, and team issues.
Think about the issues that cause you to be up at night, then jot them down. This way you at least have a starting point as to what you need to work on and how you can make progress. Remember that there is a solution for everything, so if it is business financials you’re concerned about, you can make changes, like adding orthodontics to your practice, to avoid burnout. Have team meetings to make communication more effective and get everyone on the same page. Focus on leadership skills that will help you work better with both your team and patients.
Dentists are notorious overachievers and sometimes have difficulty asking for help. You are fortunate to have a dental team that is there to help you and make your life at the office a bit easier. Delegate tasks and work with your team on ways to communicate better. If you are incorporating specialized services, sign your team up for continuing education to help your practice run more efficiently.
T: Take your time
Do yourself a favor and try to schedule time off from your practice. It is hard to do because so many people, including your team and your patients, rely on you. But you also need to be the best version of yourself by renewing your sense of energy and motivation. You’ll appreciate your practice much more when you get some downtime you can devote to yourself and your family.
Everyone sometimes says things they don’t mean or loses patience with a friend or team member. Take time to heal by delivering a positive message to that person, even if it is by text or email. A small word of encouragement goes a long way and will put you in a better mood because you are surrounding yourself with positivity.
It seems silly to remind yourself to eat, but between caring for patients and running your team, you can easily forget to take care of yourself and eat. Just like your team requires a break each day, you do too. Your body needs healthy food and water as fuel so you can care for your patients.
Strengthen your supporting network.
Dentist burnout is a real thing that can truly affect your personal and professional life negatively if you’re not ahead of the stress. Just like caring for your oral health leads to better overall health and fewer problems, relieving stress helps keep you in better mental and physical shape. When you take the time to apply the BREATHE technique, it’ll put you in a better mood, boost your productivity, and—most importantly—help you lead a happier life.
Wish you had a supporting network of dentists who aren’t strangers to the stress that comes from balancing work and a personal life? An American Orthodontic Society membership can help. Not only do you gain access to a host of like-minded professionals, but you also receive orthodontic CE discounts, legal support, and much more. Browse the full list of AOS member benefits here and get started today.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.