Running a dental practice isn’t easy. Your profession is physically and mentally demanding. You may be dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt from dental school. You’ve got to keep up with constantly changing technology, deal with slow-paying insurance companies and manage an office full of people. No wonder dentists are frequently stressed out. How can you get control? Here are eight tips to ease your stress.
- Manage your time more efficiently. For many dentists, paying off student loans is a major stressor. The more efficient your practice is, the more patients you can see and the more revenues you can bring in. Maximize every minute of the day and eliminate downtime by using a solution such as Lighthouse 360. When a cancellation occurs, you can instantly contact all the patients on your waitlist and fill the slot.
- Exercise. Dentistry is physically demanding, with long hours on your feet, bending over and contorting into uncomfortable positions. A regular exercise program is essential to avoiding injury and maintaining your energy level. Schedule workouts that include cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Then you’ll be in much better shape to deal with whatever challenges your practice throws at you.
- Take regular breaks. In addition to your exercise program, build in short breaks between patients to move around and stretch. Do some quick jumping jacks, try some yoga stretches or just walk around the office. Taking breaks will help prevent repetitive stress injuries to your neck, back and arms.
- Automate your office. You can eliminate a lot of stress by automating the way you handle patient scheduling, confirmation and reminders. With Lighthouse 360, patients get automatic appointment reminders, confirmations and follow-up. Your front office staff can text directly with patients and instantly alert those on the waiting list of cancellations.
- Stay mentally fit. Dentistry is mentally demanding — you have to concentrate for hours on end, while staying upbeat and positive for patients and staff. Find something that recharges your mental batteries, and devote half an hour a day at a minimum to doing it. Whether that means reading a novel, meditating or just taking a nap, commit to it regularly.
- Simplify your marketing. The business side of running a dental practice often comes as an unpleasant surprise to a new dentist. Managing marketing can be a huge headache, but it doesn't have to be that way. Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to send targeted emails to patients, manage your Facebook presence and upload photos to update your practice’s website. Plus, it automatically collects reviews from patients and posts the positive ones on the most important review sites, so your practice’s ratings are always outstanding.
- Build a professional support system. Life can be lonely for a solo dentist in private practice. Create your own support network by joining professional associations and networking groups where you can share challenges and solutions with peers. Or find a more experienced dentist who can serve as a mentor and sounding board when you have concerns or just need a listening ear.
- Take time off. If you're a solo practitioner, it can be difficult to take a lengthy vacation — after all, if you’re not working on patients, you're not making money. However, you can still take weekends off to rest and recharge. Make plans for your weekends such as spending time with friends and family, enjoying nature or indulging in a hobby. As much as possible, try to unplug from your practice. When Monday rolls around, you’ll be glad you did.