SELF-CARE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS
CYNTHIA GOERIG, Chief Operating Officer
We are accustomed to patterns and rhythms in our life. We have things we do daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, and annually. This year, everyone’s rhythm has been interrupted. When we usually head into September with our highest energy and well-being of the year, this year feels like the opposite. For many, summer has been super low-key without concerts, festivals, theme parks, travel, or even family visits in some cases. As well, there is now debate and uncertainty about kids returning to school and that is creating its own stress or anxiety for many.
But we adapt. We soldier on and make the best of it. Humanity is incredibly resilient, abundant with hope, and persistent. However, we have to recognize that sometimes there are costs to facing long challenges, particularly emotional costs. In addition, the empathy and compassion of team members (which makes them so great with patients) probably means they are the perennial organizer, activity planner, cheerleader, and comforter for their families—taking care of everyone else during the pandemic before considering their own needs.
Self-Care for Individuals
As dedicated caregivers, you and your team have a natural instinct to help people and put their interests ahead of yours. In contrast, self-care can feel backwards and uncomfortably self-centered, yet it is more important now than ever.
People often don’t recognize when they need self-care and what self-care even means. If you go by social media, self-care is all about bubble baths and skincare in a spa setting, or meditative yoga poses on rocky outcrops. Certainly, pampering and self-reflection are kinds of self-care, but there are others too. In fact, the internet is full of suggestions: here’s a list of 134 things.
You can share a list like that with your team and challenge everyone to each pick two things every week to commit to. The only requirement is that whatever they choose has to have a healthy focus on them personally, what makes them feel good, what gives them energy or peace or develops their self-worth.
Self-Care for Teams
Separate from individual self-care, teams as a collective entity need self-care too. Teams can become stressed, bored, inefficient, distracted, or run down in ways that reflect how team members are feeling, and also in ways you can’t pinpoint on individual factors. The culture and energy of the team can ebb, which subsequently influences how team members commit to team objectives and goals.
The goal of team self-care is to encourage positive growth and energy in teamwork and guard against weakening commitment and de-energizing factors. This is the essence of motivational leadership. Here are some ideas:
• Thank the team regularly and appreciate their efforts.
• Speak highly about your team to patients and other visitors to the practice.
• Recognize team members who went beyond the call of duty to support a patient or achieve a practice objective.
• Celebrate team member milestones like birthdays, their employment anniversary, and special events in their lives.
• Surprise the team with unexpected little gifts or improvements in the team environment that show you are thinking about them (renovate the break room, improve security, new uniforms, moisturizer to counter the drying effects of all the hand sanitizer being used, etc.)
• Make it part of every morning meeting to ask everyone to appreciate the skills and talents that everyone brings to the practice, and to support each other to have a great day.
• Organize social events together when that becomes possible again.
And one final point, which is probably the most important for team self-care: the biggest factor that drives team well-being is a sense of purpose and belonging in a meaningful growing environment. Growth means challenge, change, evolution, achievement, and recognition. It calls for team members to step up, strive every day to improve their performance and learn to work together in better ways.
At Endo Mastery, we have a great solution for team self-care that is exactly right for what your team needs. The Practice Recovery and Growth for Today’s Endodontic Team seminar is a two-day doctor and team webinar event to educate, align, and motivate the team around new goals for the practice. It’s coming up September 18th and 19th and there is special all-in pricing for you and an unlimited number of team members. It’s the best continuing education opportunity of the year.
Register or find out more by clicking here.