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The ‘energy’ crisis: Helping you reengage and reenergize

May 1, 2020
Does your work as a dental professional continually drain you so that by the end of the day, you have no energy left for yourself, your family, and your life outside of dentistry?

Does your work as a dental professional continually drain you so that by the end of the day, you have no energy left for yourself, your family, and your life outside of dentistry?

You may consider yourself an introvert (someone who gains energy from quiet and individual activities) or an extrovert (someone who gains energy through social interactions or group events). In either case, if you regularly suffer from a personal “energy crisis,” you’re not alone, and there is definitely something you can do about it.

Energizing techniques for introverts

Share with your team—Let the team know how they can support your needs. For example, as an introvert, you need clear boundaries; your team should not bombard you with personal stories or a long list of questions. 

Aim for shorter, more frequent encounters with patients—Gather dental patient information from team members who have engaged with a patient earlier in the appointment. Limit your patient interactions to a brief welcome, a check-in during procedures, an update of medical history, and similar brief encounters.

Energizing techniques for extroverts

Share with your team—Your enthusiasm for interactions may actually interfere with the day’s schedule, limit production, place your team into stress overdrive, and possibly annoy patients. Give your team permission to tell you when you are falling behind or distracting them from their tasks. 

Put systems in place to balance out your high energy—Create a soothing and relaxing environment and a regular routine.

Energizing techniques for everyone

Never wait until the end of the day to relieve your stress or reward yourself with that one thing that reenergizes you. If you wait, your energy may be too low to enjoy a respite or a reward. 

Always take a lunch break—A 30-minute break midday gives you much-needed time to recharge. 

Find your complement—Someone on your team will be able to balance your introversion with their extroversion, or vice versa. Find that person and allow his or her natural personality to complement your own.

Protect yourself—Recognize your limits. Stress takes hold when you believe that you must do more, be more, achieve more, have more, and make more than the next person. This is a myth that has real and tangible consequences. 

Close your door and do something that recharges you—Ask yourself the following questions. Your answers will help you determine how you can fill up your vessel throughout the day.

What brings you complete joy? Is it music? Then play music during your commute, through headphones at work, or in your private office. Is it family? Schedule brief calls with family every day, encourage visits from your own and your staff’s families, or watch videos of family events.

What is your favorite story? Share that story with your team, hang pictures of the event that prompted the story, or type up the story to view on your laptop.

What memory makes you smile? Relive the memory often, and again, hang pictures of the memorable event. Talk about the memory with others, and place souvenirs of the memory in your office.

How do you relax at home? Watch YouTube videos (funny ones!) in the office because laughter is a top way to reduce stress. Lay on your office couch or sit in a relaxing chair for a few minutes to just breathe, read a book, or enjoy a video game. Or you can bring a yoga mat or light weights to work to use. Don’t attach judgment to the way you relax; simply enjoy it.

Transitioning from work to home

After a long day at work, you may find yourself disengaging or appearing to disengage when you’re at home. Here are some concrete things you can do to help with the transition from work to home:

Schedule your day so that you are doing more of what you love. There may be someone on your team who is eager to take on the chores that cause you stress.

Don’t leave the office too soon at the end of the day. Dentists who are stressed and lacking energy often think that the sooner they leave, the sooner they’ll be able to rejuvenate. Instead, take time to decompress at the office and leave the negativity, weight, emptiness—whatever you call it—at the office. 

No matter how long your drive home, take steps to rejuvenate and prepare for your homecoming. As you commute, your goal is to promote physical, mental, and emotional energy.

For physical energy, open the windows and breathe in some fresh air, take in the warmth of the sun, drink lots of water, and have a healthy snack. Breathe in for a count of five and breathe out for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times. Making sure you refuel physically is so important for the transition.

For mental energy, listen to music and not news radio, which is often dripping with negativity and just fuels negative thoughts and energies. Listen to books on tape (whatever you enjoy) or listen to a comedy station on Sirius XM. 

For emotional energy, talk to yourself out loud with positive statements (people will think you’re singing), tell yourself to let go of the day’s woes and negativity, remind yourself of all the fun and positive things that happened today, and tell yourself you will not think or worry about work. “I will not let today’s problems overflow into home.” It works.

Talk with your family about a homecoming routine that works for everyone. Maybe you want to eat as soon as you get home. Maybe you need 30 minutes to decompress before you eat, and maybe you want to help the kids start their homework. You might involve your family in your exercise routine with bike rides, walks, hikes, or Nintendo Wii sports. Don’t look at work and home as having a line that separates them but at how you might integrate the two smoothly.

Whatever you are feeling when you arrive home, set a timer for no more than 30 minutes; that’s all the time you need to wallow in the day’s weight. Then get up and get going. Remind yourself that feelings don’t dictate action, thoughts do. The fact that you don’t feel like getting off the couch and taking the dog for a walk is irrelevant. Get up and do it. When we act as if we care, we start to actually care. When we act as if we have energy, we find energy. When we act as if we can, we do.

Conclusion

Increasing your energy level takes a behavioral change and a paradigm shift. With the right support at work and home—but most of all with a personal dedication to reenergizing yourself in small doses throughout the day—you can gain the energy you’re looking for and deserve.

JENNIFER BUTLER, MEd, PCC, BCC, is a master certified business coach who has worked in the area of stress management and resilience training (SMaRT) for more than 25 years. She and the partners of her company, JB Partners LLC, travel throughout the United States to provide dental practitioners with one-on-one onsite guidance in managing stress, turning around their businesses, and achieving real and long-lasting results. For more information, visit jenbutlerpartners.com.

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