10 Oct 2020  •  Blog, Mental Health, Covid-19  •  3min read By  • Gary Nelson

Ever wish you could solve your problems by saying “Alexa, skip to Friday”?

Gary Nelson shares his reasoning for taking a step back to appreciate the present when your current situation becomes overwhelming…

I don’t have Alexa in my household, but over these last few weeks, or more accurately months, if I did, I think I would have repeated that phrase many times.

The dental profession is facing monumental and ever-changing challenges this year. From dealing with mounting patient expectations to dentists’ concerns over the rising risk to their patients’ dental health under the restrictions on how to practise, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.

The busy environment in which we work can leave us wishing for the ability to fast forward to the weekend, in order to reach a more pleasant side of the work-life balance. This is something I’ve struggled with myself during this period.

I recently was struck with an epiphany where I asked myself, ‘Am I enjoying today?’

It was a windy and cold morning, where I was taking my lads (after dashing back home from an early game of golf) for their football match.

I stood on the sidelines, mulling over this question and thinking deeper into what parts of the day I particularly enjoyed. This was fairly deep for me; it has to be said.

The thoughts developed further into me breaking down what I was struggling with during the week:

Was I getting sick of the media?

Was I fed up with being fed up?

Was I fed up with wishing my life away on my pretend Alexa?

I found it hard to narrow down as COVID-19 has affected us all in a variety of different ways.

But in that moment, I was enjoying the present – watching my two lads expressing themselves on the pitch. I enjoyed spending time with my own dad and the other parents on the sidelines. It’s been a tough year on them all too.

This day led me to think if we look for the positives in the present, the things we enjoy and the fun parts of day-to-day life, we will find them. If we tried hard enough to do this, we’d find them every single day, no matter how hard that might feel if you’d had a tough one.

But it is hard to focus on the good when faced with all the negative influences, outside pressures and daily frustrations we must deal with currently. To counteract this, I’ve set myself the challenge of looking hard every day to find:

  • The good bits
  • The fun bits
  • The ‘I enjoyed that’ bits.

I pay my challenge forward to you and your teams – to make time to stop and recognise the positive parts of your day and enjoy the sweeter things in life, with the hope that we might all feel a little better and brighter at the end of our working day.

No more thinking, ‘Alexa, skip to Friday’.

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