May is mental health awareness month and a good time to reflect on the importance of self-care for dentists, mindfulness, and mental health awareness in the dental industry. When you are running a dental practice, it is easy to put yourself last when you are managing a team, handling the day-to-day tasks, and taking care of patients. While you might not have the time to take off on a yoga retreat, there are some daily practices you can start adding today that will help you handle stress in a healthy and accessible way.
Managing Stress For Dentists
Finding time in the day to do anything for yourself can be a challenge, especially when you are just starting out at a new practice or running a new practice. I always recommend streamlining your processes and strategies as well as adapting automation whenever possible to cut out some of the busywork that can eat away at the hours in your day. If you are not sure where to start, I offer 1:1 coaching to help you create a sustainable practice that aligns with your lifestyle (not the other way around). Another great way to reduce stress is to outsource if you need support for marketing, content, and even things like groceries, cleaning, and other home tasks that take up a lot of time after work.
Once you have some smart systems in place, it’s still important to add self-care and mindfulness to your day. Here are a few easy ways to reduce stress in just 10-15 minutes per day.
Start Your Day With Gratitude
While expressing gratitude might seem like a simple act, it is a great way to start your day in a positive headspace. It can be as simple as jotting down five things you are grateful for in the morning before you get ready, or even mentally noting what you are grateful for before getting out of bed. Feeling grateful helps shift the way you move through your day and changes “have to’s” into “get to’s.”
Add Meditation To Your Night Routine
Meditation can be a little intimidating to start, but there are plenty of ways you can add this practice into your day, and the benefits can be felt in just ten minutes. You can download a guided meditation app or just throw on a iTunes meditation playlist, close your eyes, and relax. Mindfulness is all about practice, so don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to rid your mind of thoughts and worries. Just let these things float through your mind without giving them too much attention.
Try A Yoga Class
Moving your body is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and improve your health. Yoga is a great practice for connecting your mind and body. Research has shown that yoga has many stress-reducing effects that are great for your brain.
Try A Digital Detox
If you spend all day working, treating patients, and being “on”, it might be a good idea to have a little digital detox at night. While watching TV and scrolling on your phone can be a go-to way to relax, aim to put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and unwind without screens at least an hour before bed. This will help you sleep better and reduce stress right before bed.
Stress is a part of the process, but this is a great time to do a life audit and see where your biggest stressors are coming from so you can adjust things. While hard work is a necessary part of growth, there’s no point in burning yourself out along the way.