As we devote time to our practices, our employees, our patients, our families, and the numerous other projects in our lives, we need to remember to take care of ourselves in order to feel satisfied in our endeavours.
You may have seen the alarming stats that dentists are prone to depression and have a suicide rate twice as high as the general population.
That highlights the importance of taking care of ourselves as people in order to show up as the best dentists and practice owners we can be.
As high achieving individuals, it can be frustrating and disheartening when we encounter setbacks and change in our careers – so it’s all the more important we learn how to cope through these.
Often, opportunities can come to you dressed up as problems, so learning how to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones can help propel you forward in your career and in life.
Let people be there for you.
When things go south, often our first feeling is one of disaster. We tell ourselves that this is a catastrophe, we’ve made a royal mess of things, the world is ending… but this isn’t true.
I can guarantee that people have made far worse mistakes, and come back from them – so why can’t you?
Every person you look up to in life, every great leader throughout history, your idols, have all made mistakes and experienced significant setbacks.
So, talk it through. No matter the situation, you’re not alone. Lean on your support system, whether that’s your friends and family, professional mentors, or your Practice Max and Savvy Dentist Community.
Others might have been in your situation, and may have great insights or advice to offer. Or perhaps there’s a helping hand, an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on if need be.
Find time for yourself.
Burnout has been a huge topic in recent years, and there’s a growing awareness of the need to recharge our minds, bodies, and energy.
Sometimes, more action is not the solution.
Your body is a vehicle that helps you take action and achieve your goals – so nurture it well. Recharge yourself with sleep, exercise, breaks, mindfulness, and good nutrition.
It doesn’t need to be an intensive regimen, it could be as simple as factoring in a 10 minute walk in the sun, stretching when you wake up, or a short guided meditation before bed.
When you feel physically better, you’ll begin to feel mentally better.
Create a paradigm shift.
When we tell ourselves those negative stories like “I’ve messed up, this is really bad, I’ll never recover from this”, we reinforce that pattern in our brain.
Eventually, those stories will dictate the way you think, feel, act, and behave.
But those aren’t facts – they’re just things you’re telling yourself. The whole game changes when you realise you have the ability to shift the whole paradigm and create new stories, patterns, and perspectives.
Maybe you’re telling yourself “I just need to work harder”, when in reality, you need to shift your way of thinking to a more solution-oriented approach.
If you’re overwhelmed and things are falling through the cracks, delegate responsibility to others.
If you’re struggling to get your books in shape, enlist the help of a bookkeeper.
If marketing is stressing you out, get people on board who specialise in that area.
Sometimes we make it harder than it really needs to be.
Focus on what you can change.
There are an infinite number of things in life that are out of our control. If we worried about every single one, we wouldn’t have time to tie our shoes!It can be incredibly freeing to recognise that sometimes things are out of our hands and we just need to let them run their course.
That’s not to say that you never make plans, never assess risk, never prepare for the worst-case scenario… It just means you understand your limits.
Let go of what you can’t control, and focus on what you can. You’ll be far more effective without the constant worry of the background noise.
Keeping in perspective that you can’t entirely control the future can often help you let go of added stress and enjoy the process.