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Dental hygienist? 8 steps to improve work-life balance and be happier

According to dentistryiq.com, a career as a dental hygienist offers one of the best work-life balances there is. But no matter whether you’re just starting out in your path as a newly-qualified RDH (registered dental hygienist) or whether you’ve done the job for years, things can get on top of you and you can quickly lose the wonderful work-life balance that first attracted you to the role.

If you’re struggling to make time for what matters the most and you feel like work is starting to get on top of you, here are eight small things you can do to improve your work-life balance and put a smile back onto your face. 

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1. Take regular breaks

It’s tempting to work non-stop from the moment you step foot into the dental practice until the moment your shift ends. But in reality, this is a step towards total disaster — physically and mentally. Standing bent over the dentist chair with your arms in unnatural positions for hours puts incredible strain on your joints and will leave you feeling burnt out sooner than you’d imagine.

To combat this, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day. Even just five minutes to sit down with a cup of coffee in between patients will do the trick. 

2. Work close to home

Lengthy commutes can add literally 100s of hours onto your monthly routine and can make what should be just a regular 35-45 hour-a-week full-time job seem like it’s taking over your life. To keep your working hours down to a minimum, choose a dental practice that’s close to home.

With Cloud Dentistry, licensed oral health care professionals get full control over where they work. This means you can spend more time practicing the job you love instead of commuting. This is just one of the many benefits you get working with a digital matching platform that you don’t get when working with a traditional RDH temp agency

3. Prioritize self care

Patients come to you so you can take care of them, but you need to take care of yourself, too. Even when we’re busy, we always make time for the essential things in life — eating, using the restroom, sleeping, etc. But exercise is something important that so often goes out of the window when we’re stretched for time.

Simple workouts, like jogging, yoga or even just meditation, do wonders for your mind and body, leaving you feeling relaxed, healthier and happier. 

4. Limit your work hours

If your dental practice is under-staffed or you’ve got a surge of new clients, it’s easy to take on more work than you’re comfortable with. Especially if you’re feeling pressured by the business owner. But pretty soon, this is going to result shoddy work at best or total burnout at worst.

With Cloud Dentistry, you can decide exactly how many hours you work. So when you’ve got a lot of extra time that needs filling, you can take on extra work and when your personal life gets busy, you can reduce your hours. 

5. Do something you love

After a long day, it’s easy to get home and binge watch TV until it’s time to go to bed. And while that’s okay to do once it a while, it’ll make you feel bored and listless if it becomes a regular thing.

Instead, make the most of your spare time and dedicate it to doing something you love. It can be something as simple as cooking, reading or painting at home to something as involved as horse riding, learning a new language or taking dance classes.

6. Embrace job fulfillment

To achieve true work-life balance, it’s important to remember why you got into the dental hygiene industry in the first place. Every day you step into the dental practice you help patients get the beautiful, healthy smiles they’ve been dreaming of and by passing on your knowledge, you help them maintain them for years to come. You literally bring smiles to people’s faces!

7. Value your time

As much as we don’t want to think about it, our time on this planet is limited and because of this, you need to value each hour of your day. If you work with a traditional RDH temp agency, you’re probably used to surrendering 10%-50% of your paycheck to the agency. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

With more modern services that specialize in connecting the right dental professionals with the right dental practices, the offices pay a fee — not the workers. Cloud Dentistry is completely free for dental hygienists and other dental professionals to use. This means you earn more money for every hour worked than you would with a standard dental hygienist temp agency. 

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8. Consider advancing your career

When you think of advancing your career, you probably imagine more working hours, more responsibility and more stress. But this isn’t true. Working in the dental industry means you have a world of benefits just waiting for you to take advantage of them. You can take on a leadership role in your current working environment and offer mentorship to other members of staff. Dental hygiene comes with a plethora of new techniques, tools and products, so training new staff members is always critical.

Another option is to choose a completely new role that’s connected with your skillset. Christina Boxler, RDH and BS, worked as a dental hygienist in a private dental practice before transferring her skills into her current role as a pharmaceutical representative for Johnson & Johnson, “All in all, my background in dental hygiene along with my clinical set, not only has this allowed me to advance in my career, but allowed me to quickly transition into a sales role among one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world!” 

Taking on a more superior role gives you more control over your work life, allowing you to shift the balance until you find what works for you.