it is more important than ever to take care of yourself, so you can handle it… all.
This post is NOT going to talk about exercise, diets, and bath bombs. Instead, we will talk about TRUE self-care and how dental assistants, hygienists, dentists, and front office staff can get it. Here you have:
Self-Care Tips for Dental Professionals that are Actually Useful
It took me a while to master self-care. Sure, I would do the baths and face masks, but that isn’t truly self-care. Self-care is knowing your limits and sticking with them.
There are many limits to start acknowledging. And you are going to have to sit down and figure those out for yourself. However, I will share mine in hopes of sparking some ideas for you.
My limits are:
#1 Limit People
If you are around people that make you feel anything but awesome, do yourself a favor and stop hanging out with them. Your time is too limited, so open up space for you and the people you truly love to be around by declining invites from persons who don’t make you feel your best.
#2 Limit social activities
My FOMO can be a bit much, but when I do too many things, it is too overwhelming to handle. So, I set my limit to 2 social outings a weekend and 1 during the week. Anything beyond that just drains me and makes me too tired for my family.
#3 Limit what I am actually capable of achieving in a day
As dental professionals, we make breakfast, take the kids to daycare, work on our feet for 8+ hours a day, pick up the kids, cook dinner, and clean. Somewhere in there, we are supposed to find time to work out and spend time with our family and friends.
So I evaluated my day and figured out how to cut back.
Chores were divided between my husband and me, so I only have to do dishes every other day. In addition, I started using a meal prep service (cheaper than grocery shopping and comes with weight loss benefits), so I no longer have to cook.
These two small changes give me an extra hour + every night.
Try to find ways you can cut something out of your evening to-do list.
#4 Limit social media and the news
This is a recent limit I set. But it turns out ignorance truly is bliss. While I like to stay informed, I chose to stay off of social media and the news 3 evenings a week and every night 2 hours prior to bedtime. I find that I feel more relaxed and sleep better on the days I stay in my happy bubble and away from social media and the news.
#5 Limit sugar
I’m not going into much detail on this, you know why you should, and I promise the benefits are amazing.
#6 Limit working with jerks
If you find yourself unhappy in your current work situation, you should leave.
Think about it, you spend about one-third of your waking hours working (feels like so much more than that), and it simply isn’t worth it to be miserable. Especially when dental professionals are in such high demand. So… head to DirectDental and create your profile. You can start applying to jobs right away, and you can temp until you find your perfect office!
Now that you know all about limits let’s talk about the tools you will need to master these new limits you set for yourself.
Learn to say “no” without guilt:
The only good thing I can think of that came out of the pandemic is that saying “no” is now socially acceptable. So work off of that. If guilt starts to set in, remember that sticking with your limits allows you to be a better person.
Learn to ask for help:
Setting limits is hard if you continue to try to do everything on your own. Tell your husband and kids that you can’t do the dishes every night and assign daily chores to them (I promise the 2 weeks of nagging is worth the eventual time off you get), or set up a daycare carpool with another daycare mom so you don’t have to do drop off and pick up everyday! If you have a family member you can delegate to or a friend you can trade chores with, do it!
Take the time to simplify and implement:
My biggest struggle with self-care and setting limits was that it actually takes a lot of time and work. So it may seem more exhausting to set limits than to just continue to do all the work. But that isn’t true. The best thing I did was write down everything I did in a single workday. Once I had that in front of me, I knew what I could delegate out and where I could find extra “me” time in my day.
There you have it.
Do the work now, set your limits, and finally find out what true self-care feels like.