|Dentistry. It used to be a gentleman’s sport! Before the NHS, patients used to pay their dentists in guineas. Now, for some dentists (particularly some NHS Orthodontists) it’s a throughput game, for some, it’s very technically challenging, for some, it’s about the quality of their communication and the size of the treatment plan and for all, it’s about looking after some very demanding patients with the GDC, CQC and a bunch of no-win, no-fee litigators waiting in the wings.
And, it doesn’t stop when you take your gloves off or when you get home. Many of us have had to re-write the rules on work:life balance so that we can still take care of ourselves and our passions, whilst making work our friend and passion as well.
In The Breathe Office, we have noticed this year that a lot of our clients are describing themselves as “stressed”. So we asked, Robert Charlton, friend of Breathe and a counsellor who is very experienced in working with people who have let stress have a major impact on their life, to suggest some strategies to help you cope with your stress:
A little stress is good for you – it keeps the adrenaline flowing, keeps you motivated and allows you to achieve a lot. But what happens when it makes you ill? It’s a well known fact that stress is a significant contributor to cancer and heart disease. It also has a major effect on mental health and leads people to abuse nicotine, alcohol and worse. All of us need effective ways to help deal with it.
Here are five proven tactics to keep you happy and well. They take some practice, but like life, beating stress is a journey!
One. Sit down quietly on your own and make a list of all the things you need to do. Divide them up into things that need to be done today, those by the end of the week and those by the end of the month. Close out of your mind all other thoughts, particularly negative ones, and get on with the task in hand. Keep a pad with you all the time (a mobile phone will do) to make a note of any things that occur to you that you need to do. Even keep it beside your bed, so that if you awake during the night, you can jot down a note to remind yourself. Just making a note of a to-do item will allow you to forget it and move-on, because you’ve created a reminder.
Two. Decide on how you will split your time between (productive) work, taking care of yourself and being with your family, – your, “work/life balance”. Consider how much you need to earn to meet your responsibilities/life style and how many hours you need to work to achieve this. This will determine the number of hours left over – how do you wish to split these between taking care of yourself, taking care of your family and leisure activities. Oh and don’t forget to allow some time for sleeping!! New research shows that most people need 8.25 hours per night to feel rested. Most people get by on around 7 hours. Also, consider when you are at your best during the day and try if possible to take this into account when planning your work.
Three. Decide on a physical activity that you enjoy. You may not have done anything like this for years. Think back to when you were a child and think of which physical activities you enjoyed then. It could have been walking with the scouts, fishing, cycling, cross country running or a team game. Get back into it! Don’t worry if you are not that good – it’s the taking part that matters. Exercise is so good for you in so many ways – it produces endorphins in the brain which lift your mood, keeps your weight under control, and makes you feel good about yourself as well as keeping you fit. And, it helps you deal with your stress.
Four. If you have to make a decision don’t procrastinate. Successful people make a lot of decisions. Put down the plusses and minuses on the back of an envelope but make sure you go with the heart. Don’t go with the head –it won’t let you do what feels right for you. You will get it right nine times out of ten and most decisions can be reversed if they prove to be a mistake. Remember the person who never made a mistake never made anything.
Five. Lastly, if things are looking grim, look at the worst case scenario. Plan how you would deal with it. Nine times out of ten it won’t happen and so you won’t have to deal with it…
“Nothing matters and nothing matters very much.”
Robert Charlton BA. Advanced Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling
If you would like some help from Robert, his contact details are:
If you would like some help from Breathe, contact Simon on:
And as the guy in the film, The Marigold Hotel said, “It will all turn out in the end and if it hasn’t turned out alright, then it isn’t the end…”
With All Good Wishes,