Not Bringing Work Home With You

You have a long career ahead of you, setting limits
on how much work you bring home with you can prevent you from burning out. 

By: Savannah Craig

Arguably most people entered the dental profession to help people and to make a difference in the lives of those around us, particularly our patients.

As members of a caregiving profession, we are trained and praised for taking on the problems of our patients and working to find a solutions for them.

This skill is entirely positive in the confines of work, but all too often we continue this in our lives outside of the office.

It becomes easy to allow your patients, their concerns, and their problems to stay with you long after the handpiece has stopped spinning, and this can become unhealthy if not dealt with properly. 

Separate Home from Work

Finding a way to create a separation of home and work time can teach your mind to stop ruminating over the events of your day.

Small things can become cues for your brain that you have ended work and are transitioning into your life at home.

On your drive home from work, you can start winding down from the work day and preparing to mentally end your work day.

EXPERT TIP: I recommend not remaining in your work clothes for very long after work. Simply changing your outfit can signal to your brain that your workday has ended. 

Break the Stress Cycle

After a long day of working it is important to find a way to break the stress cycle.

What we do each day takes a toll on us mentally and physically. It can be easy to hold onto the stress of work and hold onto the problems of our patients, but we have to find a way to release the stress each day.

Stress can be felt mentally and physically in our bodies so it is crucial that we find ways to deal with it so the stress hormones don’t build up over time and experience burnout. 

Find a Non-Dental Hobby

Finding non-dental hobbies is a good way to remind yourself that you are more than your profession.

We are multifaceted and complete people, but it can be easy to lose sight of that in the dental field.

As dentists, we dedicated many years of our lives to achieving our degree and have spent countless hours in continuing education courses learning to perfect our craft and excel in our field.

Many of us lost our hobbies during the long hours of studying in dental school but it’s important to find things outside of our profession that bring us joy. 

Set Boundaries for Yourself

Setting boundaries with yourself and those around you can be another great way to separate work and life.

It can be easy to come home from work and launch into stories about your work day. I encourage you to set strict boundaries with your loved ones about how much you talk about work.

Yes- you should share about your day with each other, however, it can be so easy to get stuck in a cycle of rehashing your entire work day each evening.

Additionally, I would encourage you to set boundaries with yourself about how much you let yourself ruminate over things outside of your control. You can do your best each day and educate your patients to the best of your ability, but at the end of the day, you cannot control anyone else’s actions, and nor are you responsible for them. 

In Summary

Many of these suggestions take constant effort to enforce and many days it is easier said than done.

However, you have a long career ahead of you, and setting these limits on how much work you bring home with you can prevent you from burning out. 

Keep Reading: Sedation Dentistry in a General Practice

Photo by Anna Shvets

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig obtained her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University before pursuing a one-year General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC. Dr. Craig is passionate about patient education and utilizes her advanced training to provide excellent care for her patients as a general dentist practicing in Columbus, OH. In her free time, Dr. Craig enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling with her husband, Adam.