Joanne Miles, MAADOM, RDA, IGP Business Advisor for Productive Dentist Academy | AADOM | September 27, 2021
If you’ve ever flown in an airplane, you’re familiar with the safety announcements flight attendants provide before liftoff.
“Should there be a sudden drop in cabin pressure,” the attendant explains, “oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling. Place your mask over your nose before assisting those around you.”
Just like following the safety protocol in an airplane, prioritizing your own health before those around you sets you and your patients up for better results.
As healthcare professionals, we’re servant leaders at heart with a mission to improve the lives of others. It’s easy to steal a few minutes here and there in order to help those around us.
In fact, it’s satisfying to know we hold the power of elevating someone’s day by our acts of service.
According to a study by Mayo Clinic, 97% of Americans don’t live a healthy lifestyle.
Putting the needs of others in front of our own contributes by acting as a gradual, sneaky thief of our own mental and physical well-being.
If you have ever woken up one day, looked in the mirror, and said, “Who is this person? Where has her joy gone?” chances are you are the victim of subtle erosion of your own needs and desires.
Other indicators of failing to care for oneself show up in our emotional state.
A once positive, optimistic personality slowly transforms into a short-tempered, negative one.
Circumstances that used to roll off our backs suddenly become too heavy to bear, causing poor choices due to decision fatigue.
The reality is you don’t have to let the weight of others drown your sense of self. Making a few small micro-adjustments to your daily routine can help you reclaim your personal power and provide exceptional care to all those around you.
#1 Practice a daily reset
I used to think meditation was for sweet little monks living on top of a mountain, practicing for hours a day.
The great news is mindfulness has been adapted for the busy western culture Americans are accustomed to, making the feat of becoming more centered something that can be accomplished in less than ten minutes.
Downloading a free app to your smartphone, such as Breathe or Calm, can provide a reset button that travels with you.
You may be surprised to note your mind tends to wander, and that’s ok! These apps are created to help you learn how to bring yourself back to the present.
The N.O.W. Tone Therapy Meditation Device is another method to reduce stress and anxiety brought on by regular daily activities. This device looks like two silver hockey pucks and can be placed at home, on a desk, or anywhere there is a solid surface. Simply press play, and the devices will emit calming sound waves in short, 3-minute sessions.
#2 Turn down the noise & turn on a podcast
Many radio and television shows emit a dissonance to the ears, agitating our mental state. Switching to podcasts can open a world of learning you may typically feel too busy to indulge in.
There are thousands of podcasts on almost any topic you can imagine: fiction, non-fiction, educational, and more!
The Knowledge Project, a podcast by Shane Parrish, provides supplemental conversation around the two books he has authored, The Great Mental Models Volume I and II.
Shane provides keen insights on what it means to apply different models of thinking in our daily lives.
Since we must drive to the dental practice, there are always a few minutes to listen in.
#3 Connect to your higher self
The profession of dentistry is mentally and physically taxing. Many of us end the day exhausted.
Spending time connecting to your higher self can be as simple as placing your bare feet on the grass, walking on the beach, sitting under a tree, or doing a daily devotional.
It’s common to think this is an act of selfishness when it’s the opposite. This is your opportunity to listen to your body.
When I made the move to purchase a Peloton bike, I knew I would get into better physical shape. But I was surprised to discover my mental state also elevated far beyond my expectations.
Let’s face it, nobody (really) loves to exercise. But Peloton has cracked the code and found a way to make working out encouraging, rewarding, even fun.
The secret lies in the Peloton community and the high-caliber instructors. You can bike ride, treadmill, or yoga your way alongside a group of like-minded individuals whom you can interact with and virtually high five.
You realize there are others rooting you on, inspiring you to become your best self.
You can download a Peloton app and receive the first month free. There is yoga, meditation, strength and core training, cycling, treadmill, and outdoor audio-only walk or run activities.
There are also some amazing Peloton Facebook pages you can join so you can get a feel for what it’s like to be in the community.
There’s also a 2-week sleep meditation program aimed to calm your mind 5-15 minutes before you close your eyes at night.
You owe it to yourself
Remember, taking command of your health through self-care is the least selfish thing you can do.
One of my go-to instructors for a quick 20-minute power walk is Robin Arzon. Her motivational message, “You are the CEO of your body, you run it, you nourish it,”resonates with the fact that we’re in control of our own health.
She also recommends making a calendar appointment with yourself (and setting it in stone), along with the impactful reminder that we are our own boss.
By thinking creatively and claiming a few 5-10 minute breaks throughout your day, you can regain your resilience and be better prepared to tackle decisions both at home and in the practice.