Dental hygienists are natural go-getters. We tend to the needs of our patients, our employers and our families, and we often place ourselves last.
The life of a dental hygienist is in constant motion and sometimes the “going” gets tough. It’s no wonder burnout and fatigue affect even the best of us at some point in our careers. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So hang in there and follow these practical tips to avoid the burnout blues.
Exercise is a great stress reliever. No matter how tired you are, designating only 30 minutes of activity a day will get those endorphins moving. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, whether it be walking, jogging, running, hiking, biking or yoga. If 30 minutes is too much to handle in the beginning, break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Go for a walk during your lunch hour, do squats in between patients if possible, or take on some breathing and stretching techniques at your desk.
Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated throughout your day will boost brain function and reduce fatigue. Eating small meals every 2-3 hours and drinking up to 64 ounces of water will keep you satiated. And don’t skip out on breakfast! It is the most important meal of the day. If your mornings are a little hectic, opt for overnight oats or meals that you can prepare the night before. Pinterest has great ideas to help get you started!
Find work-life balance. Create a schedule and manage your time. Remember that we do not “live to work,” we "work to live.” Find your harmony by reading, gardening, coloring, writing, singing, dancing, meditating, praying or meeting up with friends. Do what makes you happy. Do what brings you peace. And do it consistently!
Know Your Limits
It is perfectly okay to speak up when you know you have too much on your plate. Too often, we put ourselves in positions where we take on too many tasks. As previously mentioned, we are natural go-getters and people-pleasers. If the task at hand requires more than one set of hands, ask for help. If the assignment is too challenging to undertake or out of your scope of practice, it is entirely all right to say no. Know your boundaries and know when to let go of what does not serve you.
Be patient. Be kind. Be forgiving. Be grateful. When we are under constant stress, our minds can go astray. Our innate eagerness to achieve success in our daily routines can dictate our emotions by allowing us to feel like we are on top of the world, or under it. I couldn’t say it better than Cleo Wade puts it:
“Let us enjoy our successes with less ego and more generosity by remembering our purpose lies in what we bring to the world, not what accolades the world brings to us.”
Don’t let negative thoughts pollute your mind. Stay positive in all regards!
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