The Mint Door Blog 

Giving Life to the Thoughts in Our Heads

Open the Door to Employee Engagement

Become the Practice Everyone Wants to Work At

Dr. Laura Schwindt


Sensational teams know that culture is a valuable key to unlocking success. Bonds become strong when team members feel safe, valued, empowered, and aligned.

The leader is critical in setting the stage for a safe environment, contributing direction, and providing resources—one crucial virtue that drives the emotional motor to increased productivity and profitability; is hope. 

The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a sure thing to happen, a sense of trust.

When your team has hope, it increases awareness of purpose, collaboration, and success. 

In the book, Making Hope Happen, Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., tells us that if a leader doesn't inspire hope, only 1% of your team will be engaged in your mission! 

On the other hand, when there is a healthy amount of hope, the engagement increases to 69%!

As a leader, you can inspire hope by implementing three essential components into your mission. Rick Snyder was the founder of research into the science of hope, and he defined the three components: 

Goals:
You have a project and a future to be excited about, believing that the future will be better than the present.

Willpower:
You embody agency, a sense of personal power that creates certainty that you can accomplish your goal despite obstacles.

Waypower:
You can map out several different plans and paths to achieve your goal. You accept your first plan may not work out perfectly and are open to taking other paths to reach your goal. 

Unlocking the power of hope within a practice is one of the cornerstones of the Stepping Stones Practice Wellness Program. 

Bringing their expertise as dentists and professional life coaches, Dr. Karen and Dr. Laura support the leaders of the practice with a bespoke program that focuses on each team member's total wellbeing. 

The Stepping Stones Practice Wellness Program creates a custom combination of 1:1 coaching, group coaching, virtual and in-person workshops catered to the practice's specific needs. Doing this helps the leadership keep a close connection to their team so they can focus on their roles as primary clinician and owner. 

Encouraging teammates to lift up their co-workers and support the overall hope of the practice becomes a reality when each team member feels like the leadership values their whole-person wellbeing. 

A team whose wellbeing is being looked after and cultivated is the best way to energize your practice with high-hope and consistent engagement. You, your practice, your team and your patients deserve a brighter and more productive tomorrow!

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To learn more about the Stepping Stones Practice Wellness Program visit:
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Schedule a complimentary Team Harmony Lunch and Learn here:


5 Ways to Explain the Mental Load You Carry

Is it getting too heavy?

Dr. Karen Tindall


Mental load cannot be seen, quantified or felt by anyone but the person who experiences it. This makes it difficult to understand and hard for others to appreciate. It leads to a feeling of being weighed down, underappreciated and overwhelmed. Together these feelings can create a situation where the person who is experiencing the heavy mental load feels alone, frustrated and that the burden for everything lies with them. 

Mental load is most commonly felt by the person in a relationship who identifies as a woman. It’s a distinctly woman related phenomenon even within the workplace. The simplest way to define it is always being the one to remember. 

When trying to explain mental load to others it can appear as nagging or complaining, which are frequently met with the phrases, “You should have asked for help” or “Just tell me what to do.” The vast majority of well meaning people who say these sentences really do mean well but do not realise that neither option relieves the mental load. 

Here are five ways to explain your mental load when you want someone to understand so you can begin to lighten it. 

Mental load is made up with:

Planning - what is for dinner, grocery lists, who needs to be where and when, trips and travel. Add your own ideas here…
Remembering - feeding pets (and children!), getting the mail in, sweeping the floor, completing tax returns, taking the trash out. Add your own ideas here …
Awareness - the new stain on the carpet that needs attention, the outdoor lightbulb that went out, the blocked drain, the laundry pile that just gets larger! Add some things in here that only you notice…
Responsibilities - being the one who gives the dog his flea and tick medicine, who cleans the bathrooms, who makes sure the children have clean clothes, who has an awareness of how much toilet paper is in the house! Add in some of your responsibilities…
Manager tasks - booking hair appointments, arranging the lawn care service, reminding your partner there’s a school sports game tonight. Add in some things that you oversee and manage…

A word of caution as you bring this conversation up. It is an emotional subject and conversations could be seen as confrontational topic if you charge in like a bull in a china shop. It is very possible that your partner may feel that they are being shown everything they do not do and where they are lacking. 

Approach this conversation from a perspective of how you want to improve life for the both of you. After all, when your mental load is lessened you will have more space for joy. This is all about creating a way of life that works for you both. This is a partnership and you can create solutions together. 

The solution needs to be fair but as all relationships are different it does not have to be equal. Do what works for the both of you and enjoy the relief of a lightened mental load. 

Is your MENTAL LOAD just TOO HEAVY?
...
JOIN US FOR:
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"UNBURDEN: The Workshop to Lighten Your Mental Load"
WHEN: Wednesday September 7, 2022
TIME: 7 pm EST
WHERE: Virtual Zoom!


Bedtime Procrastinator

Getting Revenge on Your Busy Day!

Dr. Karen Tindall
It’s 9.05pm and after a busy day at work I am sitting on the sofa scrolling through the Netflix menu searching for something to watch. Despite there being more choices than it would ever be humanly possible to watch I cannot find something that draws me in. So instead of TV I swap to Facebook and mindlessly scrolls through. Then I proceed to do the same with Instagram. All the while I am feeling increasingly fatigued and worn out. My body and mind are giving me every clue possible to go to bed yet something is stopping me from getting up off the couch and heading to bed. 

Does this scenario feel familiar and resonate with you? If you know this situation for yourself it’s likely you are experiencing revenge bedtime procrastination (RBP). This is when you make a decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure when you have a schedule that is so busy you don’t have much free time. The ‘revenge’ part comes from the fact that we are taking revenge upon our busy day. 

Bedtime procrastination can happen on the sofa or in your bed. If you’re someone who plays on their phone in bed and despite heavy eyelids continues to scroll or watch cute videos of cats you may also be your own victim of RBP. 

Having a busy and demanding career can take up the majority of your time. Revenge bedtime procrastination is the result of trying to find time to relax, chill out and entertain yourself at the expense of sleep. 

We all know how important sleep is to allow our bodies to rest, repair and re-energize yet we somehow allow this bedtime procrastination to keep us awake. We might be really motivated people at 9am in the morning but after a long day when we feel that we just need to sit down for a little while we become expert procrastinators!

So what can you do to prevent you being a revenge bedtime procrastinator? The answer is good sleep hygiene. Examples of good sleep hygiene include:

Try to get up and go to bed at a similar time every day 7 days a week.
Avoid caffeinated drinks at least 8 hours before bedtime. Have a ‘sleep’ tea.
Avoid alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.
Put your devices down at least 90 minutes before bed. 
Listen to your body and it’s clues. If it’s telling you that you are tired, go to bed. Don’t fight it! 
Try some relaxation techniques such as reading, bedtime meditation, having a bath or gentle stretching. 

So next time you find yourself about to delay bedtime when you’re actually really tired don’t distract yourself with tv, devices or social media. Be strong and head to bed!

As a member of The Mint Door, you will join a team that puts a high priority on quality sleep! 
Find out more about The Mint Door Membership HERE:

Listen to Your Voice, Not Your Echo

Do you really want to fit in?

Dr. Laura Schwindt
I vividly remember the moment. It was the summer between 4th and 5th grade at a friend's birthday party. The year was 1980, and some significant trends were just getting started. 

The sun shone through the evergreen trees onto a group of giggling girls jumping on a trampoline. They were all wearing the same blue jeans with a fun design embroidered on one back pocket. The trampoline was shimmering as they all continued to bounce and flip for what seemed like forever to me.

I was not having fun. I wanted to explore the woods and be among the trees. Also, I did not have designer blue jeans with fun embroidery on the back pocket. I didn't belong, and I felt it. I wondered what I needed to do to feel like I belonged. At that moment, I decided I needed to start jumping on the trampoline, and I made a mental note to beg my mom to buy me a pair of those jeans. 

Fitting in is like the wind. One moment it blows a gentle breeze that makes you feel relaxed, tickling your skin and enticing your hair to dance. The next moment it blows with the force of a hurricane, pushing you into directions you may or may not want to go, howling so loud you can't hear your voice.

At that birthday party in 1980, jumping on the trampoline, I remember wondering why I wanted to be out in the forest, and nobody else did. Reflecting on that moment now, I realize that no one knew I wanted to explore the woods because I was too worried about fitting in to voice my desire. It's possible someone else may have wanted to dance in the trees, too, but they were too busy fitting in with the rest of us!

Brené Brown tells us, "Belonging so fully to yourself that you're willing to stand alone is a wilderness-an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can't control it or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand."

You may have similar memories of trying to fit in. When you jog down memory lane and think of these times, what exactly do you feel? For me, I start to feel a knot in my stomach, and my heart begins to beat a little faster. I may even start to breathe quickly or even hold my breath. 

My path as a high achiever led me down several roads of trying to fit in or conform to societal norms and pressures. The harder I tried, the more I felt I was not good enough. Looking back, I don't think I wanted to fit in. What I longed for was to belong.

To belong, you get to inhabit any space as your true self. Not changing yourself but being comfortable with yourself and owning your uniqueness can seem scary, but it requires much less effort and brings much more peace and joy. To show up as your authentic self takes courage and a constant reminder that you are already OK, just as you are. Remember, fitting in may seem more manageable, but it's also easy to lose little pieces of you when you try to fit in. 

Once you understand that you would rather belong than fit in, you can celebrate this and bring it into all areas of your life. As women doctors, we are often in leadership positions and fostering environments of belonging can enhance our daily experience of life and empower others to do the same. 

A belonging workplace environment allows others to share ideas, become enhanced problem solvers, and work together with more harmony and joy.

Simple Actions To Foster Belonging:
*Check-in with others. Ask how things are going professionally and personally.
*Ask for opinions from those that are often quiet during group discussions.
*Celebrate everyone's unique gifts often and openly.
*Continually ask for input and encourage curiosity and questions.
*Remember, to be understood, you should first aim to understand.

A simple and interactive values exercise is one of the best ways to move towards a more belonging work environment. It's always one of the first tasks during our Practice Wellness Programs, and we are always impressed with how this key opens the doors to enhanced team culture. 

To learn more about how The Stepping Stones Practice Wellness Program can bring more belonging to your team, follow the link HERE:

Choose the path of belonging for yourself and for those you surround yourself with in life. Belonging is your home. And, you don't need to wear blue jeans with special embroidery on the back pocket, I promise!

Not All Days are the Same


Do you have a favorite day of the week? 

Dr. Karen Tindall
Do you have a favorite day of the week? How about the day you least look forward to?

What makes those days the best or the worst of the week? I just had a conversation with my teenage daughter today about how Wednesdays are the day she dreads. When I asked her why that was she replied it is because she does not get any breaks, all her classes are back to back. It feels like a marathon of hard classes.

For me I’ve never really appreciated Thursdays. It just seems like the day when most people feel irritable, tired or short tempered. Almost at the end of the week but not quite. It can seem like an uphill day. I’ve felt this way since I was a child when both my parents worked late on Thursdays and I think it has prejudiced how I look at Thursdays ever since.

Thursday was always one of my long days in my dental practice. I felt under pressure to finish on time. I should mention that I was the only one who put this pressure on myself. It was created entirely within my head. My girls had to go to after school programs and I would collect them in the dark and rain. I never wanted them to be the last ones to be picked up and by the time I got to them we were all tired and ready to be at home.

One Thursday I had a realization. I was spending 1 out of every 7 days, that is 14% of my time not enjoying my day simply because it was a Thursday!

So I decided to do an experiment. Could I change my mindset about Thursdays?

Here was the plan of action:

*Reframe that Thursday was really no different than any other work day.
*Find positive things about Thursday and really focus on them.
*Start a Thursday morning gratitude practice.
*Align my values with Thursdays.
*Start to believe that Thursdays are just as precious as all the other days too!

Bit by bit I started to implement these steps into my Wednesday evenings and Thursdays. It was clear to me that I wasn’t upholding one of my values. It is really important to me that I don’t have to feel rushed or constantly keep watching the time. Thursdays were so busy I always kept one eye on the clock so I would not run late and leave work promptly. After school care didn’t like waiting for a dentist whose final patient showed up 20 minutes late!

I created new boundaries that when my final patient was late my receptionists would always check with me if I could see them first before letting them take a seat in the waiting room. This new system really started to work. The front office staff supported me and together we were able to politely manage the late patients and their expectations.

Positivity and gratitude practices take very little time to do but their effects are far reaching. Bit by bit I was able to change my long standing prejudice of Thursdays and was able to appreciate that I can enjoy the day regardless of its name!

Letting Go Allows More Room for What You Desire

This too shall pass

Dr. Laura Schwindt
Laying on the floor of the gymnasium, breathing like a maniac, my mom told me something that forever changed my life. 

My mom has this saying, and it infuriates me when she says it! 

 "This too shall pass."  

There was the time I caught a salamander when I was five years old. Now, this was a typical salamander; slimy and smelly. I LOVED this salamander. I wanted to create a habitat for him in one of the cool whip containers from the Tupperware drawer. Just as I took the scissors to punch breathing holes in the lid, my mom stopped me. She didn't want me to destroy the top. (I mean, it was a perfect and fully functioning cool whip container!) 

Being resourceful, I decided to fabricate the cover from aluminum foil which I could then poke breathing holes in and save the cool whip lid. Genius, right??? Well, until Slimy decided the aluminum foil was no match for his escape attempt and tore through a hole to his freedom. 

I was devastated. I felt like I couldn't go on. 

Mom, "This too shall pass."

Me: "This is never going to pass!"

Time went by, she was right, the feeling passed. 

When I was in High School, I had a goal to get straight A's. In one of my required Phy Ed classes, Pickle Ball, our grade depended on our performance at the end of the semester tournament. I gave it my all game after game, knowing my grade depended on it. I placed 3rd and received a B. It was my only B in high school. 

I was devastated. I felt like I couldn't go on. 

Mom, "This too shall pass."

Me: "This is never going to pass!"

Time went by, she was right, the feeling passed. 

My mom detested the word Fart. My sister and I LOVED the word Fart. Each time we would use the phrase FART, my mom would calmly correct us, "Passing gas, please."

The only thing my mom detested more than the word FART was a telephone call interrupting dinner. One night, while we were enjoying a lovely spam dinner, the phone rang. My mom bristled, stomped over to the phone, and picked it up. The person on the other line (probably sensing my mom's anger in the 'hello,' hung up. 

"Oh, you FART-Head!" my mom yelled. 

My sister and I BURST out in laughter! Don't you mean "Passing Gas Head, Mom?" 
We continued to laugh and joke about it through the rest of dinner. 

Mom was NOT amused, and my dad had to remind her, "This too shall pass." 

And it did. My mom passed away after a 5-year journey through Leukemia. It was 2006. My kids were 5,3 and 1. 

The pain was unbearable. 

I was devastated. I felt like I couldn't go on. 

Mom, "This too shall pass."

Me: "This is never going to pass!"

Time went by; she wasn't right this time; the feeling didn't pass. 

My life felt like it was at a standstill for 13 years. 

Fast forward to me on that gymnasium floor. The description I read of the live breathwork class urged me there:

 "A breathing technique that will clear out all stored negative emotional baggage from your body."

After about 40 minutes of breathing, I felt my mom. Then I saw her. Tears streamed down my face, and I got angry with her.

You always said, "This too shall pass." When? When will my grief of losing you pass? WHEN?

She put her hand on my head and calmly said,
"When you let it." 
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-Roy T. Bennett says, 
"Time doesn't heal emotional pain; you need to learn how to let it go."

And so I offer you this, 

Freeing yourself from the chains of the past, you release the future to be unlike it.

Start small. Life will start helping you.

Surrender, allow gratitude for whatever shows up and find joy in what is. 

The less you hold on to, to more open you are to receive what is next. 

And the next time you feel like you can't go on, remember:

"This too shall pass if you let it."
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I wrote this to present as my 5-minute speech if I happened to make the finals of the Dentistry's Got Talent contest in 2021. I didn't make the cut, so this never did get spoken. But this morning, I heard a song on my Peloton ride that reminded me of it: "This too shall pass" by OK Go.

Now I ask you, what do YOU need to let pass?
Self-doubt
Fear
A grudge
Envy
Grief
Stories
Shame
Indecision
Or, maybe a fart!

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