Dr Mahrukh Khwaja spends her time practising as an NHS dentist as well as helping other professionals to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Practice Plan recently caught up with Mahrukh, who founded the wellbeing company Mind Ninja, to talk about three top tips you can use to help your team build resilience and improve their mental health…
Team meetings, mindfulness and building a community feel
The last year has been full of online meetings and zoom calls as practices have kept their teams informed about all the changes and goings-on during the pandemic.
Continuing to have these meetings moving forward can be a huge help when it comes to the mental wellbeing of your team, whether they’re online or in person in the practice.
When it comes to meetings, some people may think they can be quite boring and work-related, but they don’t have to be. Just holding meetings to check in with each other, see how your team members are and being empathetic can really go a long way.
As humans, we’re geared towards needing to be socially connected, so just getting together, whether it’s once a week or more, can improve wellbeing.
Meetings can bring your team together in one place and also create a real sense of community in the practice. And when you’re in those meetings, another way to improve wellbeing is to introduce mindfulness.
A lot of companies already do this, and it involves starting the meeting by having two minutes to take long, deep breaths to calm yourself down and relax.
Research has shown that those who do mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, can overcome any negative thoughts and this can also lead to increased levels of optimism, happiness and resilience.
Exercising the muscle of gratitude
This is very easy to introduce into your practice and it can bring big benefits to your team. To exercise the muscle of gratitude, you could collectively, as a team, find time to go through what happened the previous day and talk about, for example, any compliments that patients made about their treatment, or any positive stories that came from the day’s work.
By doing this, you are providing your staff with a really powerful reminder that although dentistry can be stressful at times, it can also give you a lot of joy and hearing those positive words and comments can really help to build your team’s self-esteem.
Alongside gratitude, humour also aids wellbeing in the workplace. This may come in the form of having an informal chat with members of the team to talk about anything and everything away from work-related issues.
It sounds quite small but being able to have that time to have a quick laugh and a joke can make a meaningful difference to people’s days.
Creating a safe space
Dentists and other professionals in the industry sometimes have a reputation for perhaps not sharing how they are feeling or speaking out when they are anxious or going through a difficult time.
One thing that can help with that, which in turn then improves the mental wellbeing of your team, is creating a safe space within the practice. It may be a room, or it may be taking a few moments after the practice is closed, to provide staff with the opportunity to open up and share if they are going through any difficulties.
We hear a lot these days about how being able to talk about how you’re feeling can be a big help, and sometimes just having that safe environment to open up can provide a comfort for your team and help with their wellbeing.
To find out more about improving the wellbeing of you and your team go to https://www.mindninja.org/
Mahrukh is a dentist and a positive psychologist. To find out more information about what Mahrukh offers, go to mind-ninja.co.uk, or search @mindninja.ltd on Instagram