Keeping your stress levels down

It’s stress awareness month in April.  In every job in the world, there are stressful days to deal with – sadly it is a fact of life. However, finding ways of managing and preventing stress can make a huge difference to your happiness.

We look at ways to reduce stress working as a dental nurse and how to find a healthy way to deal with stress.

Tips to reduce stress working as a dental nurse

1. Give yourself plenty of time
There is so much preparation to do before a patient arrives and leaving later sets you up for a super stressful day. It’s always worth planning your journey to work carefully and leaving ten minutes earlier than you need to. Take the extra time to have a coffee leaving you relaxed and ready for the day rather than rushing. You can then enjoy plenty of time to get the surgery ready before the dentist and patient arrives. Knowing you have everything prepared will make your day a million times more relaxed and ensure that the patient is getting the best possible standard of care.

2. Check the stock levels
It’s important to keep ahead of the orders. You need to ensure you have all the materials that you need ready in the surgery. A well-stocked surgery will save you a lot of stress and keep your dentist happy!

3. Ask your team for help
Let’s face it some days are tough. Whether it is an unexpected dental emergency or a procedure running late some days are manic! If you are having a jam-packed day talk to one of your teammates. They will want to help. If you need someone to take over the decontamination or restock materials, ask them or ask your manager for some help. The great thing about working in dentistry is the family feel. The whole team will want to make a nightmare day less stressful for you so don’t be shy about asking for help.

4. Keep your communications clear
When you are working under pressure or there is a patient emergency clear communication is key and can make such a difference to the day. If you need help from your team, be as clear as possible with your communications. If you need to give the patient important information, take a second to ensure they understand to save future worries.

Tips for coping with stress

1. Accept that no one is perfect
When time is short, and you are under pressure it is easy to get stressed and feel down on yourself. A bad day is not your fault. We all have moments of feeling overwhelmed so take a step back take a deep breath and remind yourself you can do it. There are always things we can’t control in life, so focus on finding a solution and be kind to yourself.

2. Make some time for yourself
This one is important as it is easy to forget about self-care when life gets busy. We recommend setting aside a few hours a week for something you find relaxing. It could be taking a Yoga class or enjoying a long bubble bath with a good book. Looking after yourself is the absolute key for dental nurses as we spend so much time looking after others.

3. Think about healthy habits

If you feel stressed exercise is a great way to get out some of that tension. Why not investigate a local exercise class? If you are struggling to sleep, we thoroughly recommend Yoga, not least for the benefits to your stress levels. Commit to a class weekly for a month and see if it helps your stress, energy, and well-being. You might be surprised.

4. Make time to see friends and loved ones
We all have periods when we need a little mental recharge and a night out with friends or lovely ones could be just the ticket. Make sure you put aside some time to socialise and have fun. After all, as a smile maker, you will be well aware of how beneficial smiling is for your health.

We hope these tips help beat the blues of a stressful day.

As we live in increasingly stressful times, mental health should be high on the list for both practices and individuals alike. We’ve put together some resources below to get you thinking about how you might be able to better help yourself, your colleagues and your patients.

Download Wellbeing Support for the Dental Team

BDA Health Assured Employee Assistance Programme

Clic – a free online community for support with mental health

Mental Health Conversation UK guide