Simple Recommendations for a Balanced Lifestyle

Aspen: Aspen Dental

Date:November 20, 2017 

As long as you're pursuing a career in dentistry, juggling the demands of dental school and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. If you can learn to set limits and look after yourself, however, you can achieve the work-life balance that's best for you.

As long as you're pursuing a career in dentistry, juggling the demands of dental school and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. If you can learn to set limits and look after yourself, however, you can achieve the work-life balance that's best for you.

You can't manufacture time. If you don't set limits, then school or other obligations can leave you with no time for the activities and relationships you enjoy. Following below are recommendations to help your work-life balance, including tracking your time, learning to say no, and adding to your support system:

Track your time

Pay attention to your daily tasks, including school-related and personal activities. Decide what's necessary and what satisfies you the most.

Manage your time

Cut or delegate activities you don't enjoy or can't handle—or share your concerns with your instructors. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches rather than saving all of these tasks for your rare day off.

Make a list

Put personal events on a weekly calendar, and keep a daily to-do list at home and at school. Having a plan helps you maintain focus. When you don't have a plan, it's easy to be sucked into the plans and priorities of others.

Learn to say no

Whether it's a classmate asking you to spearhead an extra project or to step out for a quick bite, remember that it's okay to respectfully decline. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you'll have more time for activities that are meaningful to you.

Create separation

With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between school and home—unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate dental school from personal time.

Reduce email access

Check emails no more than three times a day—late morning, early afternoon, and late in the day. If you access email first thing in the morning, you tend to focus on and respond to other people's issues rather than being proactive about your own needs.

Try to minimize interruptions

Dental school depends on a great deal of concentration—for the classroom as well as the clinic. Avoid interruptions as much as possible, as you need double or triple the time of the interruption to regain full concentration on your task.

Eat healthy

A proper diet is essential for coping with stress and achieving work-life balance. Starting slow by replacing something junky and sweet with a better, more nutritious option will get you in the habit of always looking for the better food or drink combination to enhance your diet. Replace soda with water, snacks with fruit, and always add a new vegetable or two to your meals. You'll feel better when you do.

Know when to seek help

Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage and you're spinning your wheels worrying about it, talk with a professional—such as a counselor or other mental health provider. Remember, striking a healthy school-life balance isn't a one-shot deal; it’s a continuous process as your family, interests and career evolve. Periodically examine your priorities—and make changes, if necessary— to make sure you're keeping on track.

With a little planning and a commitment to the goals you create, you’ll be closer to achieving the balance you seek, even in the midst of trying times. Have a recommendation for achieving balance that you'd like to share with your classmates? Take a moment to visit http://www.thenextdds.com/Forums.aspx and share your feedback with peers from around the country!

Caring for Yourself

Eat a healthy diet

The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein, enhances the ability to retain knowledge as well as stamina and well-being.

Get sleep

Lack of sleep increases stress. It's also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.

Make time to relax

Keep your music at a low level and without distraction. While music can be a good companion, don’t let it overwhelm you.

Volunteer

It's important not to over-schedule yourself. But research indicates that volunteering can contribute to a greater sense of work-life balance.

Bolster your support system

Join forces with peers who can cover for you—and vice versa—when conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to spend extra time in the clinic.