Out of office – Mark Skimming and spending time with the family

In this week’s Out of office, Mark Skimming discusses the importance of time out of the practice with his family to unwind, re-energise and refocus.

Please introduce yourself

My name is Mark Skimming, I am a married father of three.

I am a dentist now focusing on running a company, which currently has seven practices across central Scotland. We’re looking to expand throughout Scotland and into the north of England.

My career started after graduating in 2005 from Glasgow University. After this I continued to work around Glasgow.

My head was turned towards private care whilst completing my MSc in restorative dentistry with the FGDP. Through this desire to work in private practice I opened a squat practice in 2009.

Over 10 years the company continued to grow to the seven practices we have now. Most of my time is now spent running the company and supporting the clinical team.

What do you get up to in your spare time away from dentistry?

Most of my spare time is taken up with my wife and three young kids, now all in primary school.

I have the best fun when I am with them and we love to travel.

Over the last few years we have spent a fair amount of time along both coasts in the USA. As well as getting up to Canada and bating on the great lakes.

Prior to this we visited South Africa each winter where, like north America, I have cousins with children around the same age. We have a great time together.

Aside from holidays, my evenings and weekends are taken up as a taxi driver for the various clubs for the kids. This is how it was for my parents whilst I was growing up. I personally found exploring clubs and classes of great value.

My wife and I really hope for our kids to find passion in their sports and hobbies.

Are you a foodie? Why and what particular food do you go for?

I would not consider myself a foodie, mainly due to the fact I have a fairly simple palate. I am not fussy in any way and can eat just about anything.

However, I tend to enjoy the beer and pizza at the Glasgow Beer Halle over the Andrew Fairlie Michelin Star taster with wine menu at Gleneagles.

I do like to try new things when I travel with my family. But we always have a back-up plan on the off chance the local cuisine doesn’t hit the spot.

Are you into any sport? If so what sport and why did you get into that sport?

I love sport and can see the attraction in the most sports watched and played across the country.

Coming from Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland, the focus was always football.

I played for a team from six years old until my final year at university.

Unfortunately, I have hardly kicked a ball since. So I’ve now started getting back into golf, but without any great improvement.

To my surprise I really enjoy a day out at the cricket with my associate Umair. It may be as much to do with the hospitality he organises as well as the match itself.

I participated in various martial arts up until late high school. And I admire the combat sports such as boxing and UFC. Although I’m not brave enough to get back into them these days.

I have attended events at the Glasgow Hydro and have always have a great night.

What type of television/movies do you like – any guilty pleasures?

I don’t spend much time watching TV. Although I’m sure my kids would say that Sky Sports News is the background noise in our house.

I do like to stick a box set on when I’m on the treadmill at home. But nothing on there has yet measured up to the The Sopranos and The Wire, which I watched whilst at university.

Do you like to travel and do your hobbies take you anywhere in particular?

I am fortunate that through family, work and personal interests I am able to travel.

I do love a long weekend family trip in a European city. Lisbon is a more recent highlight. That city is seriously underrated, and I am determined to return again one day.

More recent work trips have taken me to Boston and Texas. I always enjoy trips to the US for both work and pleasure. And I admire the lifestyle of our colleagues over there as well as the working environment in dentistry.

I also enjoy an annual trip to watch Celtic playing in European competitions. Paris and Valencia are recent highlights.

I don’t get to see many of the tourist attractions on these trips. But it’s fun spending time with old school friends. Although a few days recovery is often required afterwards.

Why is it important to have hobbies away from dentistry?

My hobbies are fairly bland when compared to some of the extreme sports that dentists often take part in. There are numerous ultra-marathon, iron man, racing driver and free climbing fanatics.

I think many in our profession like to use this as a release valve. And I can understand why they require this.

We are not a great profession for looking after ourselves. We often put our patients, our team and our practices before ourselves and fail to recognise our own needs.

For me it’s the little things that give me headspace. From having no access to email to getting away for a few days every 12 weeks to re-energise and refocus.

All of my clinical team have heard me recommend that they take regular breaks from dentistry. Those that do always feel better for it.

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