Self-Care for Dentists

Being a dentist can be one of the most stressful occupations that one can have. Between the physical demands of the job, the attention to detail that must be performed with each procedure, dealing with patients that are nervous or upset, and trying to run a business, it’s easy to see where the stress could come from.

Knowing the demands of the job and understanding the impact that stress can have on your overall health, it’s important that you are aware of and maintain not only your physical health but your emotional and mental health, as well.

One of the keys to reducing your stress level is to find a healthy work-life balance. It’s something that you will need to be intentional about as you plan your days and weeks.

Here are several ways to practice self-care:

  1. Get some form of physical exercise a minimum of three days a week. Exercise will not only have a positive impact on your physical health, but it will help you de-stress and increase endorphins, making you happier during your working hours. Find something you enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem like a chore.
  2. Do something fun on the weekends. Take note of the things that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s arts and crafts, hiking, boating, or entertaining, make it a point to try to include some time devoted to this on your weekends off.
  3. Carve out social time. It’s important that you spend time around people that make you happy and that you don’t feel a need to discuss work related matters with.
  4. Make sure you have good professional support. Whether it’s an organization devoted to working with dentists or a network of other dental professionals in the area, it’s important to have a personal network that you can turn to that fully understands what your day to day life is like.
  5. Keep a journal. Journal keeping encourages you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings and can help you solve problems.

Making self-care a priority can be a challenge if it’s something you haven’t done before, but you will see results very quickly if you implement even just one or two of the above ideas.

Here is a great resource the: Self Care for Dentists Booklet developed by New Zealand Dental Association.


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