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3 Tips to Create a Work-Life Balance

Posted June 27, 2017

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

It’s more than a job, it’s finding a work-life balance. Build a career that allows you to spend more time with your family. Designing your life with the never-ending shift in balance can be tough, but we are here to help.

I strongly believe our profession is one of the best out there. We are able to see patients from a variant of 8-5 every day of the week or choose to work one, two, three, or five days a week! Our industry has become accustomed to temp work and flexible schedules. There is a way to find balance in our dental industry.

Dentistry Allows Work-Life Balance

Some people in other careers and industries are not so lucky. For other professions, five-day workweeks are standard. Dentistry is an amazing profession because you get to help people feel better and in return, you walk away from the office feeling good. Now, you may also walk away feeling tired, but it’s rewarding to be making a difference in someone’s life.

As dental professionals, we have the ability to lead a very fulfilled life in many aspects of our career. This profession has given me so much, and I have been able to give to others with my gifts and skills.

It’s not rainbows and sunshine all the time! We all complain a little, and it’s been especially hard post-Covid. I hear people criticize their jobs in the dental field, but when you take a hard look from the perspective of other industries, dentistry has its perks! We are essential and stand in an incredibly powerful spot to make a difference in patients’ lives by using our gifts and talents.

It can’t always be your way or your hours when working for someone. We have a responsibility to take care of our patients, our doctors, and our team. And a responsibility to pay the bills and buy food for our family. It can be daunting trying to juggle it all.

So how do we use our industry’s flexible workplace to our advantage? I have twin girls with demanding schedules; I understand it is hard. Temping made it a lot easier to meet my family’s demands for a happier work-life balance.

Below are 3 tips (besides temping!) that I’ve used to help me create my work-life balance:

1. Be aware of your needs.

Do you know the airplane safety speech before every flight? You remember how they say, “Please be sure to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others”? This saying can be used in our lives as well. We need to take care of ourselves, and our bodies in order to support others. So take time to check in on yourself, and reflect on what you need in your life. I know I need time to exercise so I can be present for my team and family. I make sure to set aside that time for myself, so I am able to show up for the people in my life.

2. Make a list (and learn when to say “no”!)

Write down everything in your life that needs your attention, including your goals, dreams, and ambitions. Prioritize them according to what is most important, and what you can say no to if you absolutely must. I have a life planner book where I write down a word of the week and a quote to think about all week. Then, I write my list of things to do. There is only one of you, and you will run yourself ragged trying to be everywhere at one time. I’ve learned the power of saying no. It’s a hard task, and I am still learning. The bottom line is, saying yes to one more thing will ultimately affect my family and their success.

3. Show up.

Show up to the moments that count. We can be with our kids 24/7, but never fully engage. It’s important to be present in the moment. I cherish the time spent building memories and bonding with my kids. I learned how to be present by managing my stress first, and then by taking in the details. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by life’s stressors that we don’t live in the moment. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly. See the good things happening around you, even if it feels like nothing is going your way, you have something to be grateful for. Look for the good always.

It isn’t easy- it will be uncomfortable at first. Temping gave me the freedom to design my own life and take control of my time. You have to form the habits and take your life back. Live your life according to your own rules. When we are happy, we are more productive.

Updated April 28, 2021
Originally published June 27th, 2017

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