TOP TIPS: Protect your dental business from stress


Dentistry is unique in that the people who run practices – principals and practice managers – have to straddle the clinical and commercial worlds. One mistake in either camp can mean the end of the business and so overwhelm never seems far away.

The best fortification against overwhelm is action on multiple fronts: using Key Performance Indictors to push resource toward emergencies and quick wins, recruiting and delegating where possible, hiring outside agencies to help you create watertight road maps such as marketing plans and exit plans.

But one thing will remain crucial throughout all of this and beyond: you. To make decisions and stay driven you need sleep, good food and time off for your mind to process all the information, reflect and calm down.

At times – especially in the early days – you may only be able to a snatch a few waking hours off work a week, so it’s all the more important you rest properly. Here’s five simple ways to quickly turn off and recharge:

1. Identify what you can’t control

Think about what’s worrying you and ask yourself if you have any control over it. If the answer is no, and it often will be, let it go.

2. Clarify what you need to do

You can’t unwind when your thoughts keep returning to work. Make a list of what must be done today and in what order. Let the rest go until tomorrow.

3. Be in nature

Sounds cheesy, but Victorian doctors valued the stress-busting qualities of a walk in the woods, clean air and a dip in a wild body of water – and they were right. Spending time around animals also quickly puts things into perspective and is a mainline balm to stress.

4. Focus on the present moment

Try listening to the little sounds: a car passing, the distant bark of a dog, the rustle of a branch moving outside. Look at the texture of the objects in your immediate vicinity and the way light plays on them. In seconds your mind has readjusted its focus and you will be in a calmer place.

5. Breathe!

Take five deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Deep breathing activates the hypothalamus, connected to the pituitary gland in the brain, to send out neurohormones that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. You can do this anywhere and it only takes seconds.

Do you feel overwhelmed with stress and worried for the future? Connect with me on LinkedIn and share your problem.

Ernie Wright

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Ernie Wright is Lead coach: business processes and people management at Breathe Business. Contact her on 0845 299 7209 and

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