Walk and Talk for Dentistry – how it can help to battle loneliness

Is your dental team ready to walk and talk?As teams continue to Walk and Talk throughout the month of May, we hear from those who are taking part and how it is helping.

This May marks National Walking Month, a campaign aimed at celebrating the benefits of walking.

Alongside Justin Leigh, the founder of Focus4growth, we are encouraging dental professionals, practices and companies get out and about with colleagues to walk and talk.

All you need to do is put aside 30 minutes during your lunch hour for a walk and encourage the team to join you for a Walk and Talk. You can also use the hashtag #walkandtalk4dentistry to celebrate your involvement.

Integrate the team

Anally Salinas, clinical manager at Queen Square Implant Suite, said taking part has helped her practice to get to know two new members of staff.

‘We’re a small team but we are slowly expanding,’ she says.

‘We have two new members of the team so we decided to take part in Walk and Talk as a way to integrate the new members of the staff. We took slightly longer breaks in order to accommodate walks around the square. Additionally we managed to take lunch outside – luckily we had really nice weather.

‘It helped to integrate and get to know the girls slightly quicker than usual. As we are in a very busy environment, we don’t always get the chance to interact with the admin team. But with Walk and Talk we made sure we all took a break at the same time. We are hoping to keep this initiative at least for Thursdays.’

Samuel Hainsworth from Smile Stylist added: ‘It’s been a great team building exercise for our team, enabling us to get out into the Manchester sunshine (!) and connect outside of our usual practice environment.

‘Such exercises can only serve to bring your team together even more and improve everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.’

We also spoke to Clare, the mental health lead at the Society of British Dental Nurses (SBDN), about how walking and talking has improved her wellbeing.

Why is it important to talk about mental health?

Sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference, whether someone is around the corner or further away. Make sure to check in with a friend or a family member regular either in person, chat on the phone, video call or by using social media.

Any kind of contact is a reminder that you are not alone. It’s important to create a routine of checking in with others, being more sociable can not only be good for us but for others as well and make it easier for us to reach out at times when we are feeling lonely.

Why is this such an important topic for you and SBDN?

Loneliness is a very important topic for me as an individual. I have experienced it myself on a personal level which was triggered by a life event and left a very big change in my situations. Before I knew it I had shut myself off to the world around me. I’d tell everyone around me that I was fine but inside I had shut down. I was exhausted – I was existing not living.

Looking for a way out of this darkness, I found myself online following wellbeing posts and links. I began interacting on live chat and eventually plucked up the courage to go and meet up with a group for a walk and talk over in Halifax. From that Sunday morning my life changed. Being around likeminded people got me through some difficult times.

Plus I also found myself helping others, interacting with newcomers and making them feel welcome and at ease. Sometimes admitting how we feel is harder than we think. It’s also important to remember that loneliness and difficult feelings we may experience can and will pass. It just takes time and finding the right help and support, which is out there.

It is important for us all to talk more openly about how we are feeling and the impact loneliness can have. As I found out myself there are plenty of simple things you can do to help lift the feeling of being lonely. In the process, it might help others to feel less lonely too.

How can walking and talking with colleagues help promote better mental health?

Being able to talk about how you are feeling with others can help with loneliness. Seeing a friendly face can make us feel less isolated. It is important not to compare our situation with others – no two lives or situations are the same. Filling your time doing things like walking and talking can stop us from focusing on feelings of loneliness. It can distract from the situation that we may feel stuck in, as well as improving our wellbeing.

Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and surrounding yourself in nature is just one way to boost your mood and occupy your mind. Finding a group of likeminded people is a great start to making a connection and meeting new people.

It’s really important to remember whilst in theses groups, be welcoming to newcomers. Be mindful to involve them in conversations, especially if they may be lacking in confidence.


To sign up and get involved, fill out the form below to get a certificate for all of your team.

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