Managing Stress While Working in a Dental Practice

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Everyday life can take a toll on us, adding unnecessary stress to the point of exhaustion and mood changes. How does one manage stress when working in an environment like the dental practice?

Imagine if you could just wave a magic wand and watch the stress in your life evaporate. Wouldn’t that be incredible? So relaxing? So perfect? Yet, that isn’t the real world for most of us. Living in the real world means we deal with this whether we like it or not. So, where is your stress level at?

Do you have any of the following?

  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Chest pains and high blood pressure
  • Stomach issues
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Grinding teeth or clenching your jaw

The list of symptoms goes on and on. Ok, so you realize that you are dealing with stress. Sometimes, it looks like depression or even some type of physical issue. Some of us get to a point where we realize it is our job. Perhaps someone at work makes life difficult for you. Maybe your back is killing you leaning over patients all day. Maybe the bills and the pressure of keeping things together is suffocating.

What do you do about it?

  1. Complain to your boss.
  2. Vent to colleagues
  3. Detach
  4. Brainstorm solutions to the challenge
  5. Address the issue with the person or people making your life difficult.
  6. Take personal days off to take care of yourself.
  7. Journal your feelings and experiences.
  8. Talk to a counselor.
  9. Pray
  10. Look for another job.

The problem with how we deal with our stress is compounded by the necessity to be aware of the politics where you work. Most of us are aware of the lay of the land and aren’t naïve. Politics play out in every playground. As an adult, our playground is the workplace. So, how do we walk that fine line between speaking and possibly putting a target on our back with our boss or coworkers? I know that sounds dark, but this is reality. Sometimes, seeing the best in everybody and wanting to simply solve problems hits a brick wall of reality. Things can get worse.

Why does it seem like I’m being so negative? It’s not negativity–it’s realism. You must protect yourself and your livelihood, and if you can’t find ways to resolve issues in your workplace, you may have to make some tough decisions. No one can make them for you. Financial security is part of adulthood and plays a major role in our stress levels. Some of us end up staying in terrible situations, because we are trapped one way or another. I respect whatever decisions you choose to make. Just know that there are ways for things to get better. Some of it takes brainstorming, trust, and the willingness to take a chance. Others may realize that there is no way out and look for another opportunity.

Know that there really is no magic wand you can wave to reduce your stress levels. You must tackle it 1 step at a time. My professional belief is that distraction is a critical piece to lowering stress. The more I don’t think about the situation, I laugh, love, exercise, volunteer, caregive, etc., the better I am able to manage my own stress.

What do you do? How does your magic wand work? Email me at and share how you manage your stress.