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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neha Kapila

Doctor Chaos to Doctor Calm-Part 2

‘You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine’.

- John C. Maxwell

Over the years, to restrict the chaos and feel calmer, happier, and fulfilled, here are some of the changes I made within and around me in my daily routine. Doing so, I do not feel like the sky is falling all the time and can manage my personal and professional lives with ease. People around me could see the positive changes, felt inspired, and also were motivated to do the same for themselves.

Taking care of health;

Ours is a physically, mentally, and emotionally stressful profession. As cliche as it sounds and as much as we reiterate it to ourselves not to, if we are not mindful about it or feel stressed at work, with patients, colleagues, or with our friends and family, I believe for most of us our health is the first thing we lose track of.

I do not know about you, but I did not use to pay attention to self-care and would feel guilty if the thought even came to my mind. I would think, I could be taking care of a patient or the kids, helping a colleague, or doing something more productive with my time rather than spending time on myself just resting.

I got things to do, no time to rest. Who needs rest? I got it! I am a Superwoman (like a bunch of my friends call me).

But when my health started deteriorating bad and I got super burnt out , I woke up!

  • I started eating right(I was at least already good with this part, other than eating fruits. Oopsy!), exercising, and taking care of my physical, emotional and mental health as a priority.

  • I was not an exercise person at all!

I would think,'I work so much, it is like exercise for me, and I do not need to do any exercise'. Let me tell you, I could not be more wrong. It did nothing other than burning me out (among other factors).

Burnt out because of working nonstop without breaks, being dx with a bunch of health problems, and needing a couple of surgeries, including carpal tunnel surgery on my dominant hand, before I even turned 40 yrs young, woke me up.

Exercising was an effective intervention for burnout for me. It was a good start. I started exercising, a little bit each day and slowly building stamina and working my way up. I go between days I do Yoga, go out for a run or do strength-building exercising, so I do not get bored.

Along with that, regular massages and visits to the chiropractor are a must for this young Dentist's bones.

Anyways, who does not like a nice relaxing massage?

  • I forced myself to take breaks between patients at work and now is part of my work routine.

Also, I take small walking breaks between work hrs. I go for a walk for a few minutes after lunch at least a few times a week. It keeps the mind fresh and helps with exhaustion. I encourage my team members to do the same.

  • I drink a lot of water. I believe this is the most important thing for me to do now more than ever. We need to keep ourselves hydrated esp with all the extra PPEs we all wear post-COVID. Otherwise, I feel dehydrated and drained out by the end of the day.

  • I do a few minutes of breathing and meditation exercises to bring me back in the moment if there is a stressful situation going on. Sometimes we do it as a team, to bring the morale back up.

  • Music and nature make me happy. Anytime I get to escape in it, I do it.

Morning Routine;

I have noticed that if I start my morning with the right intention, the day ahead runs smoothly and increases my productivity at work.

20-20-20 rule by Robin Sharma helped me here.

Start your day early morning (Want to join the 5 AM club?)

  • Move; Give the first 20 min to exercise. Sweating releases chemicals and neurotransmitters that help keep motivation and increases happiness.

  • Reflect; Next, 20 min review your annual plan and quarterly goals. Meditate, practice gratitude, and journaling. This practice deepens the focus for the day and keeps positivity flowing for me.

  • Grow; Spend the final 20 min learning something new every morning.

Mindset ;

While I was going through certain major hardships in my life, I would have collapsed and not have survived, if I had not worked on myself and changed my mindset from scarcity to abundance/growth mindset.

Many times we get stuck in this paradigm of either-or and have self-limiting beliefs. For example, during this pandemic, a lot of us might be thinking; there is no point in trying if I am going to fail or let me be. It is how I am. I am no good. Or, I am sick and tired of this happening in my life, or I cannot change. It is too hard, I give up.

I worked on my mindset years ago and apply it the best I can in everything I do and every situation I find myself in. I have learnt to,

  • be grateful for what I have,

  • stay on course, and

  • to keep a life-long learning and growth mindset even amidst the hardest of situations, instead of worrying about what I do not have or could have.

This helps me be stable in my mind, keep the joy in my heart, and positivity in my spirit.

Try it!! Our attitude positive, or negative, is contagious, and it all starts with the kind of mindset we have. People respond to how they feel when they are around you, with the vibe you are exuberating and behave accordingly.

We are all familiar with the situation when we sometimes meet a new patient and have our first interaction with them, and they state, 'I do not want to be here today. I do not like coming to the Dentist'.

There could be a million different reasons because of which they said it. I might even have nothing to do with dentistry, but we do not know that yet! So, how we respond further, can be a game-changer with our interaction with that patient after that.

Keeping a positive attitude and mindset helps me in situations like these. More often than not, this situation turns around and makes both of our's day. And Who knows by doing so, we were able to change the patient's mindset about coming to the Dentist's office. Now they love going to their Dentist and can not stop singing our praises to their friends and family. Just saying!!

Share your thoughts and ideas on which of these strategies you have used or which you would like to use in your daily routine to help keep the Calm in your life.

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